Leveling the marching field

Musical skills equating to athletic efforts for band students


Samantha Freeman

Coppell High School Band members perform at the first home football game of the season against L.D. Bell on Sept. 6. CHS9 student Iniya Nathan thinks marching band should be considered a sport.

Iniya Nathan, Guest Writer

Principles of Arts, AV Tech and Communications students at CHS9 have the opportunity to submit content for CoppellStudentMedia.com after an introductory presentation about The Sidekick newspaper. The following is a column by freshman Iniya Nathan. 

Is marching band a sport? 

It’s a question that can spark a heated debate. Many band students think it is a sport, while others do not because they think it is only playing an instrument. While band is considered a fine art, CHS9 and Coppell High School band students do get a 0.5 credit for Physical Education for the fall semester marching season.

I was talking to a friend who was complaining about the weather conditions she was forced to march in and the untimely hours of the day she had to wake up and sleep at because of band during the season. She also mentioned the physical effort that was put into marching. 

“It’s really hard to play an instrument half asleep while marching,” my friend said. “I’m playing the flute, breathing isn’t easy, and marching isn’t the same as walking.”

My friend loves band, but like any passion, it has its own set of drawbacks.

If it’s so hard, why isn’t band considered a sport? Turns out, many marching band students have strong opinions about band being a sport. My friend immediately sent a message on GroupMe to all her band friends asking what their opinion was. 

As mentioned, most band students have strong opinions on this topic. But not all, as a few band students replied with a, “It really depends.”

“Band is a sport cause the instrument emojis are in the sports section.“

“Lol guys that a solid argument but it isn’t the sports section.. its activities…” 

“Unpopular opinion: Band is not a sport cause WE BETTER THAN ANYTHING DON’T COMPARE US TO THAT…” 

This reply caught my attention: “It depends on the characteristics of what you would describe of a sport.”

That statement has a point. What exactly is a sport? Many assume sports have to have teams, rules and equipment. However, not all agree on the exact definition of a sport. 

According to dictionary.com, a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.” This definition seems accurate enough, and most activities people consider sports can easily fit into this definition. 

But does marching band?

Well, the first requirement is that it must require skill. Playing an instrument is considered a skill, and playing an instrument while marching is a difficult one. The alternate requirement says “physical prowess” which means exceptional physical ability or skill. Playing an instrument, which can be heavy or hinder your ability to breathe while marching, is physically exerting.

The second and final requirement is that it must be competitive. As it turns out, marching band is competitive. In fact, competitive marching band is often described as a sport. It can be said that a person in marching band is an athlete since an athlete is anyone who is proficient at a sport. 

Since band fits the requirements of being an athletic activity, requires skill, and is competitive, marching band is a sport, and should be considered and treated as such.