Musicians, athletes, or… both?

Sophia Babcock, Staff Writer

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At every home football game, you can hear the music in the stands coming from our marching band. Not only do they have to focus on playing their heavy instruments, but they have to think about formations and walking in a precise way in time to the beat.

The marching band works hard on and off the field whether they are learning music in the band room, or marching around the football field, according Katherine Czarnik,

Photo used with permission of Katherine Czarnik
The marching band and color guard perform their halftime show at the football game.

senior. There is physical activity involved, however, the question whether band is a sport or not is somewhat of a grey area according to Grace Trumbull, sophomore.

“It’s a hard question because it depends on how people define what a sport is. People think you would have to compete, and some bands do, but our [band] doesn’t do competitions. Marching band definitely does include physical exertion with the combination of the artistic part of it [with formations and entertaining the audience], and the musical part of it. So it just depends on which way you look at it,” Trumbull said.

For Czarnik, who has been a member of the marching band since her freshman year, she stands behind the idea that band is a sport. A sport, by definition, is an activity involving physical exertion, and “band fits all that criteria,” Czarnik said.

“Having to march while playing your instrument is way harder than it looks. It takes a lot of stamina and coordination to march and play at the same time. For example, pregame alone is running onto the field with high knees while screaming, and then immediately playing the fight song. We also practice every day, and on Tuesdays, there’s an additional 2-hour long practice. I feel like the amount of time and work we put into band is equivalent to a sport, so I think band should have a PE exemption,” Czarnik said.

When people claim band is not a sport, it bothers Czarnik because “we put in so much time and effort towards our shows both physically and musically. It is exhausting and I’ve seen people pass out before. To anybody who thinks it isn’t a sport, I’d tell them to try it first, and then you can tell me if it’s a sport or not,” Czarnik said.

However, some people are not sold on the idea of band being considered a sport and granted a P.E. exemption.

“If band is [treated as] a sport then color guard should be [as well]. We don’t get [a] P.E. exemption; they [do]. I mean [the band is] moving around and everything, but [they’re] not exercising. It’s not something you can score at. There are also specific guidelines for sports. So I think competitive marching band is a sport, but I don’t think [our band] is a sport,” Georgina Buckland, junior, said.

Buckland has been in color guard for three years now, giving up her lunch in order to do what she loves. She feels as though the color guard puts in just as much physical exertion, and “it would be way more convenient for us if we [would be able to have lunch],” Buckland said. 

Buckland and another guard member, Caitlyn Healy, junior, have pushed for an exemption, and “it is in discussion [but nothing has changed yet],” Healy said.