The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
6 Points

Is Marching Band a Sport?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2016 Category: Music
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,366 times Debate No: 90755
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Marching Band is a performing art, not a sport. I will make my case after someone accepts.


I'm glad to accept this debate, and I plan to prove why Marching Band is a sport and not just a Fine Art. I shall begin my argument and questions for my oppenant next round!

Debate Round No. 1


To start off, I will disassemble old arguments I am tired of hearing.

By dictionary definition, marching band could be considered a sport. The Oxford Dictionary says a sport is defined as: "An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment". However, this definition is so broad, nearly anything can be considered a sport. By this definition, a music competition is a sport. Playing piano for a scholarship would be a sport. War could be a sport. The definition was made to be broad so that they would not leave anyone out. Because of this, non-sports are sometimes included.

Yes. Marching band requires physical exertion and skill. Playing a piano concerto requires quite a bit of physical exertion and gobs of skill, but it is never considered "sporty". The show "So You Think You Can Dance" is a great example of a non-sport that checks all the boxes of a dictionary definition of a sport. Physical exertion, skill, competition, entertainment. However, they are just dancing, which most people agree is a performing art.

What performing arts' competitions lack to become a sport is direct competition. All of them require a judge to determine the winner. Judging eliminates a direct competition between the competing groups. It adds subjectivity into who was the better team. There is subjectivity in sports, such as whether someone committed a foul, but that is different. The subjectivity in marching band is between the ability of two groups where as the subjectivity in sports is just for a specific event. The entire quality of a band's performance is determined by someone besides themselves. In sports, whoever scores more wins. In marching band, who ever does "better" wins. Sure there are a few objective(ish) ways to measure a band performance, but when it comes down to determining first or second, it gets pretty subjective.

Therefore, since a marching band competition fundamentally requires judging to determine the winner, it is not a sport.


I again would like to thank my opponent for this opportunity to prove, “Why Marching Band is a Sport!” Furthermore I say good luck to my opponent!

First Contention


- Sport
a.An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment

b.A person who behaves in a good or specified way in response to teasing, defeat, or a similarly trying situation

- Athletic
a. Physically strong, fit, and active

- Athlete
a.A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise

- Marching Band
a. An ensemble of musicians that march in time to the music for entertainment at events and in parades

- Mental
a. Intellectual activity

Marching Band, an activity requiring the need for a human to be fit and have the mental capacity to move around and memorize. A topic so divided on whether it is a sport or not, now being decided by this debate. Let me argue on what qualifies as a sport. Now of coarse a lot of things can be considered a sport(yes I understand the opponent doesn't want this to be argued, but it shall happen). As there are two different types of sports, Physical and Mental Sports. Physical sports often include, Football, Basketball, Soccer(Football), Cricket, and even Marching Band. On the other hand some Mental Sports include, Chess, Poker, Speed Reading, and even Marching Band.

Now why do you think I included Marching Band as a sport in both of those? Well two reasons:

1. The Physical Part of it is having to run laps to get into shape and carry instruments that could weigh over 50 lbs(23 kg). Now of coarse some say a 50 ib(23 kg) instrument is not that heavy(well when you carry it for half an hour to an hour in contious motion, that weight starts to hurt).

2. The Mental Part of it is having to remember patterns and motions. Mainly like when the Band Director says, march from the 50 yd line to the 35 yd dash in twelve steps. Now if you haven't noticed that isn't quiet easy, as it looks to be, and furthermore having to remember it!

In the end Marching Band meets all the requirements to be considered a sport, and therefore is a sport. While yes, it has achieved the broad definition of what a sport is. It has also fit the definitions of Mental, Athletic, and even Athlete, which is a big deal! This is why I believe you should vote Con in this argument!

Questions to Opponent
- Where are your sources?
- How does judging it not make it a sport, when the majority of the Winter Olympics is judged events? Does that make them not sports either?
- Please define Performing Arts for me.
- Define Judging please as well.


Debate Round No. 2


I find it interesting you ask me for my sources, yet only one of your sources is legitimate. Simply regurgitating other arguments does not count as a viable source. Most of those arguments use the same faulty logic that you do such as citing marching band's difficulty. Difficulty does not determine what is a sport since very talented people may find certain sports extremely easy. Wikipedia does not count as a source either since it can be written by anyone. Using Wikipedia's sources could count, but you cannot use what is written on the actual Wiki page as it may be false. I did use a source and it is stated in my argument. Also, I have been done competitive marching band for 6 years and placed third in the state one of those years. I have played varsity soccer for 4 years and varsity golf for 4 years. I understand your position, but being someone whose been on both sides of the debate, I understand there are fundamental differences between the two in mentality and competition.

Good job noticing that the Olympics has a lot of judged events (not a majority by definition however). Yes, those events such as half-pipe, figure skating, and freestyle skiing aerials are not true sports either. Rather, they are very athletic performing arts.

As explained by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the performing arts are: "types of art (such as music, dance, or drama) that are performed for an audience." By this definition, marching band is easily a performing art, but more importantly, is "in the true sense of the word" which I will talk about later.

As described in the Oxford Dictionary, to judge something means to "Form an opinion or conclusion about" [that thing]. Or as Merriam Webster puts it, "to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises". The key to each of these definitions is that judging includes an element of subjectivity, i.e., opinion. That means in marching band, the outcomes are determined by opinion and not objective fact, meaning a band's score, and outcome, could change depending on who was judging that day.

The argument that marching band is a mental "sport" is irrelevant. As taken from an article in The Tribune on why chess is not a sport, "The key, it seems, is the amount of "physical exertion" involved. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) terms sports such as chess and bridge as "mind sports". The IOC doesn"t believe that the amount of physical exertion involved in playing chess or bridge is significant enough for them to be called sports in the true sense of the word." Now, I don't agree with the IOC on other "sports" such as figure skating, but they explain here that mind sports cannot be considered sports "in the true sense of the word" which is the base of my argument. Since mind sports are not actual sports, then saying that marching band is a mental sport does not make it any more of a sport than it was before. You can read the rest of the article here:

To conclude, marching band is not a sport because it does not fit in with "the true sense of the word". Yes it is physical. Yes it requires skill. Yes it can be a competition. However, this does make it a true sport. The main problem is that it can only be a competition if judges are used to determine who gets the higher score. You can take the subjectivity out of soccer and there can still be a definite winner. You cannot take the subjectivity out of marching band and find a winner. This subjectivity comes from the fact that it is a performing art, and you cannot truly measure art objectively. Marching band uses music, dance, and occasionally drama in order to entertain an audience making it a performing art, not a sport.


Scots_167 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by BrothermanBill 2 years ago
I am currently losing because some prepubescent teenager is butthurt from the debate he is in with me. Voting so my opponent receives maximum points just to spite me is childish, Keagen, and your voting rights should be revoked. If I end up losing, I still made the better argument and did not try to fill the page with a useless picture that vomited up the same argument you band geeks have been spewing for the last few years. Its pathetic. "Dictionary says so." Please. And don't forget the herd mentality. "But if we all agree together, doesn't that mean its true?" No. It does not.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Keagen 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro is correct. Marching Band follows the definition of a sport. Con cannot simply make up his own definitions that things must follow. It does not work that way no matter how hard con tries to make people believe him.