Color Guard: Is it Considered a Sport?


Brooke Fullerton, Color Guard Correspondent

When one thinks of sports, the typical sports that come to mind are probably contact sports such as basketball, football, and even baseball. What about the more abstract, subjective sports, like cheerleading and dancing? There is no denying that all of these activities require extreme physical exertion. But what about color guard? Color guard is defined as “the physical embodiment of music”. Color guard includes elements of dancing, spinning equipment such as flags, rifles, and sabers, and performance. Oxford Dictionary defines a sport as “ An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. Color guard requires extreme physical exertion just like any other sport, and guard and marching units often compete and display their shows for entertainment. So, why wouldn’t color guard be considered a sport?


People who have never tried it tend to knock it down immediately, saying it doesn’t even compare to other more mainstream sports. Though those sports might require more excitation, color guard mixes elements of strength, grace, and coordination in order to make a performance look cohesive. In each set of work, there are countless small technical details that one MUST get right in order to have a successful show. Sometimes people may compare sports by their pain level, and color guard definitely leaves you sore in muscles you didn’t even know you could feel, and catching of equipment and can leave you with countless bruises. These traits prove that color guard requires hard work and determination.  


The typical color guard practice begins with running a few laps, then doing a set of sit-ups and push-ups to increase our strength and cardiovascular endurance. We then stretch for about 15 minutes, hoping to make ourselves more flexible and to loosen out our muscles in preparation for the practice to come. We then do many dance and equipment exercises. We usually then learn and practice our equipment work. Equipment work is very specific and technical, and everyone must be doing the exact same thing. Angles are very important, as we all must be holding and tossing the flag in the same relationship to our bodies. Wrist flexibility and arm strength are also very important, as we have to hold our heavy equipment for long periods of time while spinning in seemingly awkward positions, though they look beautiful when practiced and mastered. Similarly to dance, color guard is also an art form, specializing in performance and looking on character while performing. If one is not acting and changing their facial expression, it will make the show look bland and boring. There are a lot of elements that must go together in order to create a beautiful show.


I interviewed Alyssa Boudreau, a sophomore at TMHS, who is involved in track and field, a more mainstream sport. When asked about what makes a sport a sport, she responded with “Activity that involves movement that’s usually organized“. I then explained what color guard is and what it requires, then asked if she considered it a sport, and she said “Yes“. Despite one’s personal beliefs, we can all admit that color guard takes a lot of effort and practice to master, even if it isn’t widely considered a sport.