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P.E. credit doesn’t make band a sport

Cody Stavenhagen, Editor

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 On Friday nights, the band marches around and plays music at halftime of football games while the actual athletes lay it all on the line for four quarters.  That’s where the real action is.  There is not a football game during an intermission in a band competition.  While band may not be easy, make no mistake, it is an art, not a sport.

 While band, specifically marching band, may require a small amount of physical fitness and coordination, there is no way that it can be considered a sport.

 First of all, competition is a large part of what makes sports great.  The competition is so intense because of two teams or individuals going against each other with all they have. Sure, there are contests and judges for band, but in no sense is a band “competition” the same as real competition in a sport.  In band, each group plays its songs while marching in some pointless formation.  There is no true opposition.  You have no control over what the other band does.  In most sports, you have to face an opponent who is trying to do anything in their power to beat you. A band competition is no different from UIL events like literary critisism, and I think we can all agree that literary critisism is not a sport.

 Also, just because marching band is a PE credit does not make it a sport.  In order to physically be able to do band, all one needs to do is be able to walk for several minutes while carrying an instrument.  If you can’t do that, then you need to hit the gym anyway.  Try putting the tall, skinny guy with the tube socks and glasses through offseason football.  See how long he lasts.  Try putting the slightly heavy, awkward girl through volleyball two-a-days.  See how long she lasts.  There’s a reason why the vast majority of band members do not a play a sport.While there are some band members who are fully capable of playing a sport, and some even do, there is no way on earth that band can considered an “athletic activity” or that it can be more physically demanding than any major sport, besides golf of course, but we’ll save that one for another day.

 Yet another reason that band is not a sport is the fact that nowhere in a culture where everything from hot-dog eating to rock-paper-scissors has been featured on ESPN has band been considered a sport. Other than a failed airing of Drum Corps International on ESPN2, anything associated with band has never really entered conversation as a sport.  It is unheard of.  It is rejected by the mainstream sports media.  America has an ever-growing fascination with all types of sports, but band does not make an appearance on that list.  If it has never been legitimately considered a sport in the history of the world, then how can it ever be?  The answer is simple: it won’t.  The stereotypes of “jock” and “band geek” are basically polar opposites in our culture, and there’s a reason for that.  Being in band does not necessarily mean a person is a geek, but it certianly does not make a person an athlete.

 However, many band members claim that band should be viewed on the same level as sports because it requires the same amount of dedication.  It is true that band practices relentlessly, but that really has nothing to do with it being a sport.  Nearly all extracurricular activities require practice and dedication, yet things like theatre or choir are not sports.  Band members should be proud of what they do, but come to terms with the fact that it is not athletic or truly competitive.  Face it, band is not nor will it ever be a sport.

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14 Comments

14 Responses to “P.E. credit doesn’t make band a sport”

  1. Elizabeth on October 6th, 2011 2:47 pm

    Band is not a sport! Just because its a pe credit doesnt make it a sport. Pe is a credit and they dont call that a sport!

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  2. cameorn roe on October 7th, 2011 11:13 am

    Band is a sport not because it has a PE credit but because it takes a lot of practice and hard work to get it right. We practice just as much if not more than the football team does. We go to competitions and we get tropheys. Just becaues it dosen’t have a ball doesnt mean anything!☻

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    Trevor Reply:

    Your reasoning states that anything you practice a lot for and can win awards for is a sport. Cody and I go to competitions for headline writing. We put in quite a bit of time into it. We get trophies and medals for it. He was the 4A State runner-up. I was an alternate to State. I can safely say we agree that headline writing is not a sport.

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  3. samantha on October 7th, 2011 11:15 am

    BAND IS A SPORT!!!!! Just because the football players get more attention than the band does does not mean it isn’t a sport. Think about all the practice time and hard work they put into it. If it weren’t for them, we wouldnt have the music and be as pumped up as we are at our games! So I think you should be thanking them.

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    Trevor Reply:

    Pro football teams don’t have marching bands. Their fans don’t need bands to get them pumped up at games. The band probably gets more student attention than your tennis program. That doesn’t mean tennis isn’t a sport.

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    Cory Reply:

    They have someone out there singing don’t they? Not to mention I did both marching band and played football all throughout high school and I can guarantee you that 8 minutes of marching is a lot harder than an entire football game. Just for credibility though. My position in football was both a line backer and a running back and I play sax.

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  4. Mary on October 19th, 2011 1:56 pm

    Band is The Sport of the Arts!

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    Trevor Reply:

    Take one year of choir with our director. You’ll think otherwise, Mary.

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  5. Alex on November 10th, 2011 2:42 am

    Sport (n) An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.

    Competitive Marching band fits that perfectly. Also, love the use of blatant stereotypes. Our band practices 9 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks in the summer, and then 3 hours every tuesday thursday, plus 4 hours every friday night, and then around 10 hours every other saturday for competitions.
    Pointless formations? Really? So because it involves actual thinking, technique and skill, and not just brute dumb force, it isn’t a sport hurr durr.

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    Jessica Reply:

    How do sports not involve actual thinking, technique and skill? Band simply picks a routine and practices it nothing changes when it comes time for competition. In sports like football and soccer you have people coming at you from all different angles the entire game and its all about quick thinking, technique, and skill otherwise you will suck. Sports involve much more thinking than band ever will. And brute dumb force? Really? Go play a sport and tell me its just brute dumb force.

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    Alasia Reply:

    Cheerleading is practicing routines over and over is that not a sport

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  6. kat on January 12th, 2012 10:58 am

    I do not agree that band should be considered a sport, but it takes alot of hard work and dedication. I respect how hard they work, the band does amazing yet the physical activity is not high, but still difficult. The comment about golf though……getting up 5am to play in 32 degree weather ,rain, snow, sunshine, wind they go out there. they play up to nine hours no breaks carrying fifty pounds on your back is difficult. It is a sport and it is alot harder than it looks.

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  7. Ryan Aamodt on October 2nd, 2017 12:57 pm

    while in the back in the day when there were people considered band geeks as you describe this might be true. But marching band has changed considerably sense then. I am also a wrestler in my school and I have gone through countless football camps, and they are NOTHING compared to a day of august camp. Furthermore, just because ESPN doesn’t keep it from being a sport. ESPN doesn’t cover competitive speed walking doesn’t mean it isn’t a sport.

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  8. katie on October 11th, 2017 10:57 am

    I disagree with this post on all angles, I would like to bring up the definition of a sport again.
    “Sport (n) An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others”
    First of all Marching band especially requires physical exertion in every way possible. You have to run without moving your upper body from one side of a football field to the other WHILE using all the air you have to play out on your instrument. Second, Marching band requires the skill of knowing how to play your instrument, having 10 minutes or more of music memorized, and having all of the places you are supposed to be memorized. If you think that is not difficult on any level please speak to a fellow band member. Last, any sport has plays in which the coach (aka drum major or director) wants you to make a certain move on another player in the opposite team. Even though a band does not have another band playing on the field with them when they are competing you are still using choreography and marching while playing and moving. And yes, band competitions are not one band on a field against another, BUT it is several bands against each other, each one dedicating their free time in order to win just like any other sport. Also, I know people who play football and they don’t practice a fraction of what people in marching band do, nor compete with the physical exertion the people in the band and color guard do. Thank you, that is all.

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P.E. credit doesn’t make band a sport