Is marching band a sport?
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"an athletic activity requiring skill and physical prowess and often of a competitive nature"
I must admit that I believe the dictionary definition provided is a good descriptor of sports, I do not believe that all activities covered by this definition would be what we would consider "sports" in a more colloquial use of the word.
To put it simply, a word is not simply its dictionary definition. Rather, the words we use often have a spirit to them that is harder to convey in a dictionary without applying a subjective spin to the dictionary entry. More importantly, language changes with how people use it and think about it. If you asked people on the street 25 years ago if "selfie" was a word, they'd probably consider it a nonsense word. I can assure you, though, that the concept of taking a picture of yourself still existed. Sure, language purists today might still consider the word "selfie" nonsense but the same dictionary from which you pulled your definition has an entry for "selfie." Language changes based on how people use it and think about it, and therefore the definition of a sport is flexible.
For example, people compete in the Gloucester Cheese Rolling contest every year. I imagine some people practice for this, and it is a game in which your skill/physical ability to run down a steep hill after a round object determines how well you will finish. I, however, would not consider anyone chasing after a runaway tire, rolling down a hill, or collecting rolling objects to be unknowingly practicing a sport. I can't say for sure, but I imagine you wouldn't do so either.
That covers the technicalities, I think. Language changes based on how we think of it and just because something meets the technical definition of a sport does not mean that it is considered one by common usage.
Marching band is something I admire greatly. As someone with no musical talent, I admire the ability of many people to synchronize their respective instruments while still focusing on their orientation on-field. I think it's difficult and deserves a great deal of respect (which I will gladly give it), but for me and many others, marching band is simply not a sport.
A band competition is the equivalent of a football's teams playoff game. Like football, there are referees (we call them judges). Their job is to deduct points from the bands overall performance. Marching bands have to work together to score has high as they can. Just like a football player has to practice making the perfect tackle, a band member has to practice how to march forward, back, left, and right with perfect precision.
Bands run a mile a day so they can march. They do every stretch and exercise that you do in football. Injuries accrue just as much in band than in football.
Not only is band a physical sport, but a mental one. One has to memorize at least 60 spots on the field. Not to mention music and visuals.
For example, the scoring process is an essential part in any competition. This does not a sport make. However, you addressed the physical exertion aspect too.
You noted that the practice rivals that of football players in terms of stretching and other exercises. While practicing helps prepare the participants for a competition, it is not the practice that makes a sport. If this were the case our definition of a sport would be expanded greatly based on how people prepare for various tasks in their life. Instead, let's focus on the competition aspect.
As we said, the scoring doesn't mean much in and of itself. What we should look at is the scoring aspect of marching band. Where is the primary emphasis of the marching band competition? This tells us what the groups that are competing strive to achieve. In American football, points are scored through a combination of out-muscling and out-running the opposition. This tells us that the emphasis in football is on either being stronger, more agile, or more clever than your opponent. In a common understanding of sports, sports *typically* (not always) will award points in a way that suggests the emphasis is on physical achievement. In marching band competitions, the vast majority of the emphasis is on the music being played. Does the percussion go well with the wind instruments? Overall, does the band have a good sound? Only a relatively small portion of the points go to the marching aspect.
I personally agree with this breakdown of the points, that this is how the points should be allocated. After all, they are a marching *band* and a band's main function is to play music that is pleasing to the ears. However, I think most people would agree that the acts alone of synchronized marching or of playing music are not sports (especially the playing of music). When combined, they have a little more merit, but marching band remains an artistic form of competition. It requires a strong mind and is physically difficult. But at its core, it is a musical pursuit that aims to entertain with a movement aspect. While marching band is tough and requires mental and physical stamina, it ranks among ballet as a demanding art form, not among rugby and hockey as a competition of physical form.
You mentioned that it seems that the bands are battling the judges and not other bands. That is false. Like football, It's who is more prepared to competition.
One study shows one marching band member, during a parade, works harder than a football player does during a game. When conmpared to a parade, a marching band member works about twice as hard in a field show.
A member needs to know how to properly march, have their music completely memorized, count, move, play, and remember what to do before and after the show, all at the same time. How many football players can count and catch a ball at the same time? Sure they have to remember the play, but that's just one thing. Football players need skills too, but they don't need as many. Marching band members have to remember at least six things all at once. One member can multi-task better than any other athlete in another sport.
"Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport." Soprt of Band. Web. 31 July 2015.
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF, Con forfeited 3 rounds, Pro only 1, and that was after 2 of Con's forfeits.
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