Marching band is a competitive sport

Samantha Cabeza, Staff Reporter

Marching band is an activity that is competitive, physically exerting and time consuming and yet it is still not recognized as an actual sport. 

Personally, as somebody who has competed in the South Florida Winter Guard Association  and played bass and quad drums, I have to say that marching band is definitely a sport. I marched at football games, spent my weekends during the winter competing and practiced for hours outside of school trying to achieve the perfect run through, the perfect fulcrum and the perfect “Imperial March”. 

The hours put into practices could match the amount of time a soccer player puts into their practice time, trying to achieve the perfect kick. You have to build up not only the mental capacity to memorize songs and music, you have to build up the physical stamina to carry heavy drums and to be able to complete a routine without feeling like you’re going to pass out. Every band kid has “just one more time!” engraved in their brain. 

Marching band could also be considered a sport because of the competition behind it. Drum Corps International (DCI) is one of the biggest competitions in the world and is watched by thousands every year. A close friend of mine, Sebastian Pierre, marched as a bass drum player for the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps. 

When I asked him about how they judged them based off of their show, he said that the judges sectioned the scores in three sections: general effect, music and visual. 

“There were subsections for brass, and percussion in music, as well as composition. Basically, the difficulty, musicality and how much was achieved difficulty the program could achieve. Color guard was a subsection of visual as well. The averages of each score combined to a final score and if there were any penalties they subtracted from the score,” Pierre said. 

DCI competitors spend months practicing by themselves and in camps with other competitors. 

“Once you get a spot, you are expected in a few weeks to know the music extremely well and play it well at away camp,” Pierre said. 

The expectations for musicians and marchers are high especially during halftime shows and competitions. The competition marching band entails is no joke. The physical excursion that a show puts you through it liberating, exciting and completely worth all of the long hours put into practicing for a performance. 

Football has rules, plays and practice that all leads to a performance. Marching band and drumline follow the same routine and should be considered a sport by all who doubt that it is “too easy” or “not enough”.

I have the utmost respect for football, soccer, baseball and other competitive sports players. Now that I no longer compete, I recognize how much that marching band changed my mind and my whole body by teaching me discipline, technique and physical endurance. Hopefully one day marching band and drumline could be appreciated by all as a sport.