Editor’s note: First of a point-counter point look at whether show choir should be considered a sport. Tommorrow: It’s not a sport
By Rachel Meehan, City High sophomore and Ruth Meehan, City High freshman
IOWA CITY — For years, students in show choir have dealt with their passion and pastime being disrespected and dismissed by the general public.
This is commonly seen in how show choir is seen as a “performance art” instead of its proper place as a sport.
The definition of a “sport” is “an activity involving physical exertion or skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment.”
Show choir fits that definition because it is one of the most physically exerting activities around. Not only is there intense cardio and aerobics, but the voice training and breath control alone are very demanding on your body. Show choir is about sharp, energetic dancing, as well as powerful vocals — all at the same time.
It is not an easy task to continue to sing at a loud tone while doing high-energy movements. It takes a great amount of breath control and core muscle to have the ability to do so. You can’t gain those skills without practicing, just like in any other sport.
Many people assume dancing and singing are just natural-born skills, something you are born being able to execute perfectly. But these preconceived notions are simply incorrect. Just like in any other sport, the skills you need have to be practiced and maintained. People are not born with the ability to pitch a baseball perfectly or swim competitively. These skills need to be practiced just like singing and dancing, or else you won’t be able to compete at a high level. Some of the best singers and dancers in the entertainment world today started off not being able to sing or dance, but with lots of hard work and practice, they have been able to make a living.
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Additionally, competitions are a very important part of show choir, as in many sports. Most show choirs in the Iowa City area have three to five competitions per season. Sports such as basketball or football are played directly against another team. They gain points throughout the game, and usually the highest scoring team wins. Show choir competitions work in the same way. Throughout any performance, judges score the group based on execution of choreography, vocal technique, uniformity, etc. This is the equivalent of a touchdown in football or a home run in baseball. Though show choirs do not go head-to-head like football or basketball, they still are scored directly against other show choirs in their division. Even though show choir competitions are very different from cross country meets or volleyball tournaments, the general idea is the same — that is, to compete against other schools and organizations, as well as provide entertainment for the community.
When you join a sports team, you are usually given a contract to sign saying you will attend practice, keep your grades up, eat well and stay away from drugs and alcohol. It is no different for show choir. If you break the contract, you could get benched or even suspended from the team. This is virtually the same whether it be basketball, show choir or any other sport. So if it is the same contract, why is one activity a sport and one isn’t?
Many people do not consider show choir a sport and think of it more as an art form. Singing and dancing are two activities society views as art and a way to express emotion. Several other sports could be listed in this category, such as figure skating and synchronized swimming which clearly qualify as sports. Though figure skating is dancing on ice, it still is considered a sport and is featured in the Winter Olympics. Show choir is very similar in terms of the overall concept, so why can’t show choir be seen as a sport as well?
Stereotypical sports and show choir are very similar in the ways they include competitions, practice, physical strength, workouts, teamwork, entertainment and much more. Most people today don’t see show choir as an actual sport because of the singing and musical aspects. But both parts together at the same time is what really makes show choir a sport.