The sports side of band


Photo by Angela Valle

Students in band work every morning and afternoon to perfect their show “Revolve.”

Story by Molly Kyles, staff writer

Sweaty students march in precise lines across a dew-coated field. Arms ache and feet grow tired from endless drills. Every day, without fail, these athletes swarm the fields to practice and prepare for their upcoming season. But these students swap dumbbells for drums,  cleats for clarinets, and sweatbands for saxophones.

Band members are athletes too, even if their team battlecry is a little more melodious than most.

“Band is a lot of work,” sophomore Skylar Allen said. “You do have to wake up really early and it takes a lot of dedication. It makes it almost impossible to do homework, and if you mess up, the band directors take it really seriously.”

The time band members put into their practice mirrors that of bigger sports, and practices often occur before and after the reaches of regular school hours. Even during the summer, band students flock to day-long practices.

“We were there for a good part of the day, so it’s like a school day like seven or eight hours, each day, and we’d do a lot of workouts and stuff,” sophomore Lillian Lovett said. “But now that school has started we’ve really steered working more on the drills and sets and focusing on the music part of marching.”

Football season is a crucial time for band students full of excitement, and it’s their moment to display all they’ve worked for.

“It’s the best part of the year.” Allen said. “We get to go to all of the games and go to the pep-rallies and it’s basically the reason that band exists.”

Pre-game jitters also affect the band. Halftime shows captivate the crowds, and students have to grapple with that pressure.

“I get so nervous [before a performance],” Lovett said. “My main worry is the Highsteppers and everyone else who’s just sitting on the sidelines watching us because they’re in our face.”

Fierce competition at district, area and state levels is an experience many band kids are familiar with, and for some students this factor is what makes them believe band is a sport.

“Band is definitely a sport,” Lovett said. “We have competitions of our own. It’s a very fierce competition. In some competitions, the judges get up in your face as you’re marching, and they have to be careful not to get ran over.”

And with all these parallels, it’s hard to believe that band isn’t commonly recognized as a sport. But whether or not band is a sport, it certainly isn’t invisible.

“We’re definitely not ignored,” Lovett said. “Because you can’t ignore band. People judge us. Compared to other bands if our band doesn’t play good people will think our band sucks. Which it doesn’t. We’re definitely the best band in Texarkana.”

Teamwork is common in sports and band, but the bond band members share seems to be unique.

“I wouldn’t say band is a team. We do have to work together like a team,” Allen said. “And if you don’t like someone in the band it’s harder to collaborate, but overall, it’s more of a family.”