Should Marching Band be considered a sport?


Roswell’s marching band drum line practices for halftime show Photo Credits: Gautam Vedula

Grace Swift

Throughout high school history, only “uncool” or “weird” kids joined the marching band. This stereotype was brought on by many movies and books that created a division within the student body between jocks and band nerds. In 2013, The Washington Post reported on a high school football coach, Michael Scott, bullying the marching band by kicking them off the football field during the halftime show because he believed that it was more important for the football team to warm-up. This sadly illustrates that many people, like this coach, look at the marching band as being less than other “real” sports like football. 

However, the view on the marching band is taking a turn for the better. Marching band is slowly starting to be recognized as a sport. It is now recognized as a sport by the Georgia High School Association and they also now have competitions for high schools where marching bands from all different schools compete with their band and they are judged upon. 

Marching band plays the Seven Nation Army during the Roswell football game
Photo Credits: Gautam Vedula

 The main argument people have when debating that marching band is not a sport is that marching band is not as much work as other sports, like football or basketball. Many say things like, “They just walk around and play instruments. Anyone can do that.” While that may seem true to the naked eye, marching band is much more difficult than it comes across. The marching band, like the football team, starts practicing and conditioning in the summer before school starts. They condition by running and lifting their instruments in the hot summer sun, much like a football team would run and lift weights to condition for their season. While many may say they are only lifting instruments, it is very difficult to move in formation, continuing to play and lift the instruments all at the same time. One of the heavier instruments in the marching band is tenor drum sextets, which is a drum set that consists of six drums all connected together and then carried by one person. This instrument can weigh up to 40 pounds, so the next time you think about the marching band being an easy activity, think about holding 40 pounds worth of weight, while marching, and playing an instrument all at the same time.

I think that with the difficulty of playing an instrument, while moving and holding up the weight of the instrument and the conditioning that the players must go through, that marching band should be considered a sport. I feel as though that stigma around marching band not being a sport is also slowly changing with people finally starting to realize how much work the marching band truly is. 

Marching band cheers on Roswell football team from the sidelines to victory against South Forsyth
Photo Credits: Gautam Vedula

Senior Gautam Vedula, who has participated in the high school marching band for four years, gave his input on the topic. He responded to being asked if he thought marching band was a sport by saying, “I think marching band is a sport, but I understand why people might not think that it is. I can see both sides of the argument. We have to carry our instruments and march on the field while playing and some instruments like the ones in the drumline are 20-40 pounds, so carrying those instruments for two to four hours is very physically demanding.” He also explains that he does not get mad or upset that some people say it’s not a sport because usually it is because they are unaware of how physically demanding it is. 

Ultimately, I believe marching band should be considered a sport because of the physicality and musicality required.