Varsity Marching Band

SDHS 2019 Marching


The Southern Door Band plays the school song during Friday's Homecoming game.

Amanda Austin, Reporter

What defines a ‘traditional’ sport? The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word ‘sport’ as “a game, competition, or similar activity, done for enjoyment or as a job, that takes physical effort and skill and is played or done by following particular rules.” Sports are mostly thought of as being things such as football, soccer, baseball… But what about the marching band?
If we use the above definition as our foundation for what a sport is, then you may see both points of view. Many ‘marching battles’ take place across the country, pitting different bands against each other and determining which one is best. This is undoubtedly a type of competition, and perhaps even a game to some, but others may argue that it is more of a performance. “But what of the next definition segment?” marching enthusiasts ask. Anyone who has practiced their drills on a hot summer day can undoubtedly testify to ‘physical effort. ‘
Furthermore, it takes much practice, and therefore, skill to perfect both music and formations, thereby satisfying the third requirement; and as for rules… Well, what of the high step, key signatures, and tempo? Surely they count as some regulation?
Many High Schools do give marching band some merit. For instance, some say that if you take four years of marching, you never have to take a physical education class. Others have a varsity marching band, similar to varsity volleyball, football, or any other sport. Many band students stay after-school to practice, much like the ‘real’ sports, and it takes time and dedication to master both drill and music.
Others, however, disagree with this logic. Marching band isn’t a game… so how can it be a sport? And if it’s not a sport, then it can’t be varsity, either. It is both a hobby and an extracurricular, but sport? The population seems split between die-hard footballers and marching defenders. But which group is right?
The survey consisted of the simple question “Do you consider marching band to be a sport?”. The results are shown in pie graphs, with blue being “Yes” and orange being “No”.
In a survey of Southern Door High School Students, 74 followers of both band and sports were allowed to say their opinion, and many had some fascinating ideas about where the line should be drawn. Many athletes commented that marching is not a sport because there is not as much physical activity, while more open-minded students said that it could depend on the amount of marching, number of performances, and distance moved. One band student believed that it should be considered a sport at the college level, where it becomes much more advanced, or after so many hours of your time are given up. In total, the results showed that many students only in the band considered marching a sport, while those in just sports and neither group nor sports saw both sides of the issue. It is apparent, however, that students with experience in both seemed inclined to say no to the question.
The band marches during the Homecoming Halftime Show.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it seems that the band controversy will endure, with some schools going so far as to have a varsity marching team and others calling it a glorified pastime. But despite the differences, band, and sports will always have a particular connection. After all, someone has to play the school song when the home team scores a touchdown.