Screenshot from YouTube video by user Cloonagh

Lambert Stampede performs in the London Day Parade in late 2014.

Staff Editoral: Is band a sport?

Jessica Borla – NO

Band, although it requires strenuous physical work and dedication, is not a sport; it is more of an art than it is a sport. However, many people think that when it is not viewed as a sport some form of pride is taken away, as if the time and commitment given does not mean anything. That is NOT TRUE. Learning how to read music and how to play an instrument as well as so many young Lambert students can is extremely difficult. It takes years in order to compose the talent that these musicians have. The amount of stamina a band member needs to perform a fully fledged show under hot stadium lights in full attire all while constantly blowing their miniscule amount of air into their instrument is absolutely insane. Although these things may make band seem like a sport, it is still an art; an art has meaning and beauty, and band has both of those. Also, a band rehearsal is polar opposite of a sport practice. A band rehearsal is putting together and perfecting one smooth running show that will hopefully win many competitions with the same winning piece, and a sport practice is making new plays so you can have a good game that has different results every time. Therefore, band is not a sport, but something more (not degrading sports, though, because sports are important, too).

Elizabeth Findley – NO

To any band members I may offend I apologize. Band is not a sport. The most common rebuttal to this is the fact that band requires lots of hard work, practice, and skill and that these qualities, along with the competitive nature of the activity, qualify band as a sport. The thing is band still has all of these amazing qualities without being considered a sport.  Considering something a sport does not make it on a higher level than other activities. Naming something a sport shouldn’t mean that that activity gains a higher respect. Though band technically fulfills the requirements of the dictionary definition of sport (an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment), in terms of the general public, most would not recognize band as being a sporting event. The Voice technically fulfills the definition of a sport, but we wouldn’t consider a singing competition to be a sport. The problem lies not if the debate over whether band is a sport or not, but in the perception that being called a sport somehow enhances band itself.

Quinn Forney – YES

In my opinion, band is certainly a sport. After all, it requires plentiful amounts of conditioning, training, and has the same benefits of participating in a sport. Marching on a field while playing an instrument for almost 10 minutes is extremely difficult, to the point where it could be considered athletic. That’s not even including the multiple hours of practicing each night! Not only is it physical, but it is just as important to the core of the school as other sports. The marching band has the responsibility of boosting spirit during games, which can be tough if the game isn’t in our favor.

J’Nea Greer – YES

This question has been asked by many before and does not have a simple answer. Band, in the definition of the word itself, is not a sport. But marching band is. Google defines a sport as a physical excretion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Marching band members do just that. Marching band members work just as hard as or even harder than the average athlete. Members put in long hard hours working to be the best of the best. The Lambert Stampede is a team. A team that works together, competes together, and wins together. The Lambert Stampede could at the very least be defined as a sport but it is so much more! The Lambert Stampede is a family. A family that works together, competes together, and wins together.

Madeline Laguaite – YES

A sport, by definition is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” By this definition, I would conclude that marching band is a sport. The band is not a single person, but rather many people working together for a common purpose, including but not limited to entertainment. Marchers also have to physically exert themselves in order to be successful on the field as well as display their actual skills as performers and musicians. They participate in competitions against other bands as well; ergo in conclusion, I believe marching band is a sport.

Jordan Meaker – NO

I participated in band for about twelve minutes in middle school, and from my personal experience, the activities we did in band were parallel to no sport I had ever played. However, as students mature in their skills, actually taking their interest in band to the next level and joining high school band, the nature of the activity changes. From my observation of half-time shows and a few drum line competition performances, it seems that keeping formation indeed can be quite strenuous and even sweat-inducing. Nevertheless, I would not consider band to be a sport. Band is its own thing. Band is a complex and multilayered activity, containing elements of physical activity, performance, and competition, not to mention fluency in music and advanced skill in an instrument. I see no need to pigeonhole the activity of band by labeling it as a sport.  Band is a widely known and respected extracurricular, and I feel that calling it a sport is unnecessary and misleading because the word does not capture all the diverse facets of band.

SungMin Park – NO

A long time ago – like three years ago – I tried marching band for my freshman year. Honestly, I miss those Friday nights of dancing to Michael Jackson and screaming “MORTAL KOMBAT!” I can recall all-day Saturday rehearsals and the fire that burned my legs after jazz-running. But sadly, I cannot call marching band a sport. Many would consider it a sport because of its physical work. If marchers exert the same amount of – if not more – effort as football players do, then marchers should be considered players of a sport. This reasoning alone, however, cannot validate the claim. Band sweat points to art while sports athleticism points to even more athleticism. The Lambert Stampede rolls the feet, lifts the shoulders, breathes, jazz-runs, and dances all to have a great performance. It looks and sounds better. That’s all the judges care about. It’s all I care about and I applaud heartily for it. It was beautiful art. When I applaud for Lionel Messi, perhaps the best soccer player thus far, it is for different reasons. Sure, his tricks and finishes may be entertaining, but he does not do so for visual show. He does it to slip the leather ball into a net. There is nothing artistic about that. It is a pure demonstration of bodily superiority.

Olivia Pastore – NO

I personally don’t believe band is classified as a sport. However, in no way is that downgrading the endless amounts of work put in by the band. I believe they work even harder than a lot of sports programs, especially by both having the need for physical strength and musicality. To be honest, band is an art form. It is an extremely demanding one in both physical and artistic strength. I think the main issue that people have is the belief that as soon as something is classified as ‘not a sport’ it immediately becomes lesser than sports. Theatre is in no way a sport, however it requires physical activity, musicality, memorization, and improvisation—and many more hours of preparation and lack of sleep. We have created a stigma against the arts. Because arts are not classified as sports, people assume that they are not only lesser than sports, but that the people involved are somewhat not as legitimate as athletes. The marching band at this school is absolutely outstanding, and those kids work tremendously hard. However, I don’t believe band is a sport.

Nusaybah Smith – YES

In the purest sense of the word “sport”, I do believe band counts as one… in a couple specific ways. When it comes to band as a whole, it is hard to distinguish the entire department as its own entity of competition, considering the sections that make up the band. However, there is something to the fact that marching band, colorguard, and percussion compete in tasks and challenges that are physically exerting, which lends to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of the term. While it is arguable that band is strictly an art because of the creative use of music and instruments, there are some very clear athletic elements that distinguishes this activity as a sport. Additionally, using the broad term of the general band classes offered, there is the concert band that focuses solely on the musicianship of the skill. In this light, band as a whole does prove to be both sport-like and non-athletic, depending on the section that is being taken into account.

Cayla Vanderzanden – NO

Band is not a sport. Technically, according to the definition of a sport, band is considered one. Sport is defined as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”.  However, the dictionary does not take into account how our culture currently defines words. Several definitions are outdated due to the way we utilize words. Band is still a physical competition. Just because it is not a sport, does not mean that band members do not work as hard as athletes. For example, knitting is certainly not a sport, and a majority of people agree with that. Knitting can be of a competitive nature, there are competitions for virtually any activity. Knitting also requires a hefty amount of skill and practice to perfect it. Knitting is a physical nature, not as strenuous as football, but you do use arm and hand muscles. If band is considered a sport, than so is knitting.

Lael White – NO

Is band considered a sport? This question has been pondered for some time now, and enough is enough. Let’s find out if band is a sport. What defines a sport? The word sport actually means an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team uses to defeat an opponent. Band is filled with many people that could be considered a team. Band members do posses many skills and put those skills together to compete against other bands. But, band requires a completely different skill set than every known sport we have. And every known sport lasts for only a short period of time that we call a season but band lasts all year long. So this brings us back to the question, is band a sport? Let’s look at some of the sports we know are sports, Volleyball, Football, Baseball, Hockey, Golf, Tennis, and Basketball. These are all well known sports, but what do they all have in common? Each of these sports involves a ball of some sort and a team hitting, shooting, or swinging at said ball. Band however, does not require a ball. But then again so do some other sports for example, wrestling. Another thing all of these sports have in common is that they all require a lot of practicing to come out on top and so does band. But, we can’t forget about dance, dance is considered both a sport and an art but not just one of the two. So, dance is sort of like its own separate, unique activity of an unknown region. Does this mean band is own thing as well. Now let’s look at what band actually is. Band is filled with lots of people, a team. But what does each team member do? Each member plays a separate instrument. Is playing an instrument considered a sport? Would you call a violinist an athlete or a talent? What is a talent? A talent is “natural aptitude or skill.” Athletes and Musicians are skilled but in different ways.  Would you call a football player a musician or an athlete? Calling a musician an athlete is like calling a cat a dog, it doesn’t make since. So why do we think that a bunch of musicians put together are considered athletes when separately they are musicians? In conclusion, band is not a sport but an art. Why? A band is composed of talented musicians and not strong athletes. A sport revolves around physical activity while band focuses on creating music. Athletes and musicians practice two completely different skills. Don’t get me wrong band is just as important and difficult as any sport, even if it is not considered one.

Logan White – NO

The word art is defined in the Merriam-Webber Dictionary as the process of, “…producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Since the beginning, music has been a source of enlightenment. The combination of rhythm, sound, and passion pulls untapped emotions to the surface and possesses the power to inspire all who listen. Therefore, band is undoubtedly important in today’s society for enriching minds and lifting spirits. Sports and band are very similar in that both are teams, both can be physically demanding, and both entertain their audiences. But, some argue that band should be considered a sport because they believe that with this title comes more value. Although sports promote valuable principles of trust, friendship, and teamwork, music adds an element that sports cannot: art.  Shouldn’t musicians be proud to say that they are members of the artistic community and are able to inspire hundreds of people through raw rhythm and sound? Many have convinced themselves that the title of “sport” will validate the fact that band is very difficult physically. But, music is much more than a competition; it is an art form. This is something to be valued and embraced, not changed.

Jessica Wilder – NO

When it comes to the debate of “if band is really a sport”, I am on the fence. Usually, if it’s brought up in normal conversation, I just declare myself Switzerland and let the others in the debate argue about it while I stay on the sidelines. I’ll admit the people of the band work extremely hard at what they do and I am always amazed at what they accomplish. I have had family in marching band before and it still baffles me how much it takes to put on a performance. The problem is when it is stressed to be a “sport” just because people don’t like to take the band seriously. Now, there is something you can argue. I have so much respect for the band and what they go through to make a performance run smoothly, but my thought is, why does it need to be called a “sport”? Would it be a rite of passage? Would it change the way people look at band? I mean, marching band will always be targets for the ignorant, but that shouldn’t stop them from believing that what they do is truly amazing. They have won so many competitions, awards, and were even invited to London for a performance! For me, that is enough proof that, if it’s called a sport or not, what the LHS Stampede has accomplished will remain part of Lambert’s history just as much as any other sport related achievement. That is something worth bragging about.

Kelly Yoon – NO

This will probably be one of those never ending argumentative questions that will forever be discussed. Personally, I don’t look at band as a sport. Yes, I do understand that it requires physical and mental concentration to stay focused. Marching band especially exercises a lot on the field for few hours every day, just like the athletes. Athletes prepare themselves by warming up their whole entire bodies for that one specific game. Sport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess, often in a competitive nature. Band students should still be awarded for their great amount of effort, but just not classified under the same category as sports.

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