Marching band takes more than just walking in time

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Marching band takes more than just walking in time

Color guard's flags sway in the wind as they stand in formation. The color guard is a section of the marching band that dances and spins.

Color guard's flags sway in the wind as they stand in formation. The color guard is a section of the marching band that dances and spins. "Every week we dedicate eight hours to practicing our show - whether it’s 100 degrees on a turf field, or freezing cold in the rain, and that’s not including showing up at every football game to hype up the crowd and perform at halftime."

Justin Hudson

Color guard's flags sway in the wind as they stand in formation. The color guard is a section of the marching band that dances and spins. "Every week we dedicate eight hours to practicing our show - whether it’s 100 degrees on a turf field, or freezing cold in the rain, and that’s not including showing up at every football game to hype up the crowd and perform at halftime."

Justin Hudson

Justin Hudson

Color guard's flags sway in the wind as they stand in formation. The color guard is a section of the marching band that dances and spins. "Every week we dedicate eight hours to practicing our show - whether it’s 100 degrees on a turf field, or freezing cold in the rain, and that’s not including showing up at every football game to hype up the crowd and perform at halftime."

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“Do you play any sports?” 

“I’m in marching band.” 

“Oh, but that’s not a sport.” 

Ah, yes, there it is. The fatal rebuttal to the band kid trying to pass off marching band as a sport. I’ve had this conversation way too many times, and it’s discouraging. People think band consists of just playing an instrument and spinning a flag while walking (in time, may I add), but it takes an insane amount of grit, hard work and exercise to pull off a 10-minute halftime show.  

As a member of my high school’s color guard, I don’t believe band is a sport; but we are still athletes. Every week we dedicate eight hours to practicing our show – whether it’s 100 degrees on a turf field, or freezing cold in the rain, and that’s not including showing up at every football game to hype up the crowd and perform at halftime. 

Next time you see ‘The Mighty Eagle Band’ rolling up at halftime, don’t leave to grab your nachos or start talking over our music. We’re just asking for your attention for a few minutes, that’s all.”

— Emma Hutchinson

Doing run-through after run-through, you can see the sweat dripping from our faces and hear the blood pumping through our veins by the end of each rep. For every water break we get, we hit the ground running. Literally. We have to earn that P.E. credit, after all.   

Maybe we don’t have games, but we still compete to score points and earn trophies. If you stop by the band hall, you can gaze upon our two long shelves of awards. Victory tastes pretty sweet. Almost every Saturday during the fall season, we head off to a marching competition to compete against some of the best high school marching bands in the area. We typically spend more than 12 hours at these contests, waking up at ungodly hours of the morning and getting home at midnight. Our show is evaluated by a panel of judges who give us points based on our musical and visual components, and in the end, the band with the highest score takes home all the glory.  

So we don’t kick a ball or swing a bat. We still play on a field. We still get points. We still give our all. And at the end of the night, we still wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. 

Now, you’re probably thinking that this article is just me complaining about how demanding band is – that’s most definitely not what I’m doing. And I’m also not saying other sports don’t work hard. All sports teams strive to be the best, and put effort into different skills to achieve that goal. But I think people ignore the fact that band students are extremely dedicated to what they do, on and off the field.  

This band consists of some of the most talented and intellectual musicians I’ve ever met. They are going to achieve amazing accomplishments with their lives once they graduate. The high school norm is that band kids are just “weird, nerdy people” that don’t follow the standards of being “cool.” That doesn’t mean you can’t support us or give us recognition. 

Next time you see “The Mighty Eagle Band” rolling up at halftime, don’t leave to grab your nachos or start talking over our music. We’re just asking for your attention for a few minutes, that’s all. Just sit and listen to what we have to say – we don’t even use words to communicate our powerful message.