The musical spectacle that is the high school marching band deserves more credit than it receives when it comes to its similarity to standard high school sports. Contrary to popular belief, marching band requires an immense amount of endurance and coordination in order for marchers to accurately play their music and simultaneously move to their precise locations all over the field.
Despite the fact that many colleges and universities across the U.S. acknowledge marching band as a sport, most high schools do not, including my high school. I strongly believe high schools should consider marching band to be a sport. As a former high school marcher myself, it pains me to think about how hard we worked each and every day during the school week and how well we performed and competed on weekends, and to know that we never received the same recognition as athletes in Illinois High School Association-recognized sports.
According to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 56th annual meeting in Seattle, “the physical challenges and demands of participating in competitive high school marching band are similar to those experienced by athletes who compete in sports.” Furthermore, “the visual design of today’s marching band shows, influenced by competitive drum and bugle corps, places incredibly high physical demands on the individual performer. Performers are constantly moving, and often running, at velocities that reach 180 steps or more per minute while playing instruments that weigh up to 40 pounds.”
From experience, I can say without hesitation that marching can directly cause muscle fatigue, soreness and possibly severe injuries if performers slip and fall when marching on wet or muddy fields. High school marching band geeks deserve athletic recognition and respect; high schools need to let them have it.
Glen EllynCopyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.