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Author Topic: Sports in Schools, "Dumb Jocks", Geeks, And life after High School
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So as many of you know I work on a Multi-User Dungeon (online video game) in my free time. Many of the people working on it with me or playing it are, or were very geeky high school students. Something that's been coming up on our forums recently is a certain lingering hatred for jocks, sports and the mainstream-non academically interested in public high schools. Or in the case of those still in high school, a very active hatred for it.

One of my friends recently posted a story about his experiences fixing the laptop of two people who went to his high school. As he tells the story in high school they were on top of the social pyramid, he was a jock she social queen, etc. Apparently they used to torment him regularly and occasionally physically beat. Now as he reports they are in deep trouble, barely living above the poverty line and willing to go so far as to ask him for help with their laptop in desperation. He took sympathy on them and helped them, but some of the other posters took joy in this report.

Later on this got posted (WARNING: Lots of profane language used.):


Apparently by a former high school geek who has discovered that his groceries are being bagged more and more often by people he recognizes as "dumb jocks" from his high school days.

I don't know about any of the rest of you, but these stories don't really fit my high school experience. I never had any problem with "dumb jocks". I mean, sure, we had our share of jocks, but aside from being rather obnoxious at times they were always nice enough to me. And smart enough when they wanted to apply themselves it seemed. And I have no grudge against school sports, I myself was on the swim team in high school. And I'm no small geek. It could be that my high school was unusual in this regard, as it had a pretty large contingent of self professed geeks and nerds.

On the other hand some of the points made in the rant make sense to me. For those who focus on school sports, the sports rarely get them anywhere. I mean, they are a wonderful activity and a lot of fun, and definitely good in a day and age where obesity is considered an epidemic (or so I've read). But on the other hand, it seems like a disproportionate amount of money is being poured into them.

When he says that tons of money is being spent on sports, and nada, nil, zilch on computer science, the same held for my high school. Nice new football field, well paid coaches... old computers and a "comp sci teacher" who knew far less than her students. To the point where she gave up trying to teach anything but keyboarding or basic.

So I'm just wondering, what are everyone else's feelings on this? What were your experiences with a geek v jock rift in high school. And have you run into any of those jocks recently, how are they doing? Are school sports to blame if they are not doing well? Would they have done better were athletics in schools not so emphasized, well funded, and rewarded?

Your thoughts please.

Editted to give a more fitting title -- never was good with those.

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I went to a private high school so things may have been a little different. No girls for the jocks to "impress" for instance. We definitely had our jocks too, one of them is playing for the Taxas Rangers now. I had friends in both crowds, and never saw anything other then a small fight once in a blue moon. Teasing never lasted any more then one or two times.
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I know that problem exists, my own father was bullied and abused mercilessly by jocks as they considered him to be a nerd.

But he has noted that the ones who were the meanest to him keep showing up in the orbituary pages, 5 so far. [Eek!]

As for my own experience, my school spent plenty of money on its athletic program but even more on computer sciences. Computer classes were a requisite for graduation, and my school had ALOT, (as in 30-40%) of Asians in it who were very focused on good grades so they could get into ivy league schools. There were certainly jocks, but many of them were smart guys. There were also Fine Art requirements so some of our fiercest rugby players also played in wind ensemble, or would sign up for plays.

We did have the super nerds though, they were all great guys, the super jocks seemed to just avoid them though rather then abuse them.

When it came to pranks, the most guilty group were the seniors, they have preyed on the new freshmen for decades at my school.

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Well, my experience with the geek vs. jock 'rift' so to speak is that, as far as I'm concerned, it didn't exist.

This probably has more to do with my being a big guy who was also a football player and who didn't back down from confrontations.

As for other geeks, well, it depended. I knew and was friends with many geeks who also had social graces, and weren't shy at all within their (our) circle. By the time we got to high school, we were largely in the same classes anyway, AP and honors and whatnot. So the 'rift' insofar as it existed didn't show up in classes very much, and there was very little time between classes to pursue any antagonism for either party. During lunch, we had more than enough space that like-minded people congregated with one another, and thus no problems there.

As for geeks and nerds who did lack social graces...well, that was different. In my experience, they were treated very badly by 'jocks', but also pretty poorly regarded by 'geeks' as well. I remember one class in particular, it was Economics and American Government (the required class for everyone). I took it as a senior, and it was nearly the only class in which there was truly a 'representative sample', so to speak, of students since it was required.

My social circle in that class was pretty much myself, another football player (for the school, not for one of the city teams like me, I was a band nerd), and one kid who was in a slew of AP classes as well. However, unlike my buddy Tyler, he wasn't a football player for the school, and unlike me he wasn't a big guy who didn't back down from confrontations. He was quite short, with really poor posture (he hunched), a bowlcut hairdo, he was kind of chubby, pale skin, and his clothes were strange to say the least. I couldn't put my finger on it, but they were all kind of...generic. He had a pinched, nasally voice and was frequently--almost constantly, in fact--mocked. For him, there was enough time between classes for someone to give him the classic high-school asshole treatment.

But he was a funny guy, and that more than anything else was the social currency between Tyler and I. So because of that, and because he was one of the few people we could count on to actually know the material and do the work in class with us, he was always in our group for anything group-related in those classes. He had a thing for moose, for some reason. The animal.

Anyway, all of that is to illustrate the closest example of the 'rift' so to speak between jocks and geeks. In my experience, the rift had more to do with socializing than with smarts, and lack thereof in both. He socialized well with us, and so he was a part of our group. He didn't socialize well with the rest of our class, and so got along poorly with them to say the least. By that point, though, we liked him more than nearly everyone else in the class, so we usually did our work quickly and spent the rest of the time BSing amongst ourselves, or making fun of other people-particularly when they'd ask us questions.

And as for the money difference...purely anecdotal, but at my school at least there was a huge amount of money spent on sports (football field had high concrete bleachers for visitors and home team, a rarity in these parts), but then so did the computer sciences. They had scores of contemporary machines, and quite a lot of other equipment as well, and had a good six classroom size area for the comp. sci.

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I have found that many of the most successful people I went to high school with were athletes.

Athletes get a bad rap from this "dumb jock" stereotype. Many athletes are people who have to learn how to be committed to something, learn how to balance their time between school and sports, learn the value of working together, and learn how to accept defeat and disappointment and pick themselves back up and keep going.

Those are all traits that lead to success, down the road. Sure, there are those few who fit the stereotype, but many, many more who are successful both on the playing field and off.

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in my school (small all guys catholic military school, which I swear I went to by choice) There was something of this but not to an extreme. Basically in a class of ~100 there would be 3-4 "super-jocks" who were the guys that most-all of the geeks hated, but there were also the 3-4 "super-geeks" who were so painfully geeky that the geeks still didn't like hanging around with, but they were mostly the only ones that would really get harrassed much.

Part of what probably helped deflect some of the agression was the seniority system, where upper-classmen had some power over lower-classmen, so much of the agression seemed to get channeled that direction rather than across the jock-geek gap.

I agree that it's dissapointing (from a geek's point of view) that so much time/effort/money is spent on sports and so little on technology, seeing the differences in their comparative importance in life. I think over time this is likely to change, but part of the problem with high tech programs is that even the dumbest person with a rudimentary knowledge of computers can probably make significantly more money outside a school setting than within, so we're not likely to get that many good technology teachers any time soon.

Also, there's the perpetual problem of software/hardware platforms. Even if you have a really good teacher who shows you all the ins-and-outs of how to work on a Mac, if you're actually gonna work on a PC or Unix machine in the real world, then that knowledge is largely wasted (and vice versa). (though there is still a decent core of "standard" software that will get you reasonably far)

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El JT de Spang
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I guess my high school was just too small to really be that segmented, because I never saw any of the jocks v. geeks that is so popular in the movies. I mean, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say I was one of the 5 biggest jocks in my graduating class, nor would it be a stretch to say I was one of the geekiest. I mean, I read novels during class, played X-wing until my fingers bled, and read dozens of comic books a week.

I've also found very little truth to the 'dumb jock' stereotype. At least, no more than any other stereotype.

I would imagine that as you go to bigger and bigger schools, the larger general population lends itself to greater segmentation. My school was just too small. Jocks were in the Student Council, in the Drama Club, and on the debate team. I mean, I got yelled at every year because, for about two weeks, I'd have to leave basketball practice early to go to play rehearsal. I had to miss a day of spring football to go to the literary rally.

My school was also too poorly funded to have nice athletic equipment or decent computers.

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We didn't have jocks vs. geeks so much as there were bullies in every group-- perhaps a disproportionate number among the jocks-- that tormented everyone else.
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I think my rule was to stay away from anything I found weird or skeezy. Whenever a group that I was with would start to become overly obsessed with sexual conquests and talking about how many women they've railed, I would drift away.

Everyone in the group I eventually settled in is now either fantastically rich or leads a nomadic life full of train-jumping and trips to Prague and Israel. Err, except for Dave, who runs an art collective in LA.

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While I posted this a couple years ago, this article seems apropos again:

Why Nerds are Unpopular

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I was a "band nerd" in high school but, while I was not popular, I was not picked on. I did have a few friends who were popular.

In 2003, I had my 10 yr. class reunion. I won many of the awards: most changed (I gained some weight since school), most kids (4, one is my step-daughter), and best job (I work as an engineer for NASA). Everyone was really nice to me and impressed about my current situation. I ran into one of the old cheerleaders who said something that I thought was a little rude, but oh well. She said, "I always thought you were stupid in school". I was not stupid just an underachiever (read about why in this thread. Public Education )

I don't know of anyone being really mean to us nerds in school. I have seen how many of the jocks have underachieved since high school.

Such is life though.

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I don't agree with the conclusions of that article. I agree nerds are unpopular because they don't work at sticking to the status quo- generally they put something else other than social status/socializing as first in their life.

However, I don't agree that bullying is caused by school. I think it occurs frequently in a society which consists of a group of people thrown together by chance- a club, a school, a workplace, a family; a mini society.

However, like Alcon, despite being irrepressibly nerdy throughout grades 7-12, I never suffered. I think it was partially because I was lucky enough to attend schools- in the suburbs, no less- where social hierarchy didn't really exist. Yeah, we were all divided somewhat into groups, but I, for one, never saw myself as "lower" on some kind of scale. I was just different, with different interests. Sounds like Alcon had a similar school.

As a result of that I think that social hierarchy is bred, not from the school itself, but from from a kind of atmosphere that pervades over the years. If a school grows a social hierarchy, it will get stuck that way. If it doesn't, it won't.

I think there are ways to undo a social hierarchy in a school. The students "on the bottom" can stop ranking themselves as D and E, and reach out and take control of what they want to have control of. Teachers can promote intelligence and achievement regardless of the person, and work on grouping classes randomly so groups of friends are broken up over social "levels". The school can promote things which involve many groups- encouraging nerdy people to play sports and sporty people to do drama. In many schools "band" is considered incredibly nerdy. In my school, it wasn't- we had a great band program.

Because if those who want to be popular are working on being popular instead of being people, they're missing out as much as those who are ranking themselves socially as "D" people and suffering social abuse.

If the "D" people don't see themselves as lower, and band together and cross levels and make friends all over, the "A" people, who's sole goal is to make connections- won't be on top anymore.

Yeah, it's not as easy as that. But I think that the "unpopular nerd" label is something "nerds" pervade as much as the "cool people" do.

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I would also say that I never encountered the geeks/jocks divide at my high school, only at American high school movies.

Part of this could be, I suppose, that in Finland the bullies tend to go to trade school, not high school. So the people in high schools, whether jocks or geeks or something in between, are there because they like what they're studying. In fact in all my three years of high school I can only remember one bullying case.

But then I went to a very small high school of only 120 students and we had great teachers and a great group spirit - in some ways it was like being in an extended family, not school. Everybody hanged out with everybody. It was the best time of my life.

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I went to high school with Alcon, and certainly noticed geeks being made fun of, usually behind their backs by "jocks" or more often, people who fit into no specific group. I actually once remember being in English class when several boys started talking about a girl they didn't know I knew, who was admitadly a geek, and discussing that she brought her own milk so it must be goat milk, saying things about her hair, while I don't remember specifics, I knew I was hurt from what they said, and it wasn't about me. It really did get better as a junior and senior, most of the obnoxious stuff was freshman and sophomore years.
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I liked that article, but some of it's premises were very flawed, and they offered no proof at all. It was all opinion.

Once he started going on and on about how evil adults are (or at least how selfish), and how sterile suburbs are by nature I tuned out.

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I used to get made fun of. Then I challenged some kid to a freestyle and he got torn up. No one makes fun of me anymore lol.

Anyways unlike a lot of you, I still go to high school (public one too) and in my school there is the nerd vs. jock thing going on, but it's more rich vs. poor. Like 75% of the kids at my school wear only American Eagle or Hollister, and the rest are like straight up gangsters. The thing about high school is that you get branded no matter what you do. I think I'm one of the few kids that can go to any social circle in the school and can still fit in just because I'm poor but have rich friends, I'm not white so I can hang with the immigrants, and I'm not black so I can hang with the white kids. It's sad that things work out like that but that's the way it is at my school.

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*tilt* What kind of freestyle do you refer to? Just curious.
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Like a rap battle.
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Cool, can you tell I'm an utter geek in that I had no idea what that was? [Big Grin]
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Lol, I guess there's other things you could do that is considered freestyling though. Those old Nike commercials that they made fun of in Scary Movie 2 were called freestyles.
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Knowing SoaP, he's talking about freestyle rap.

I had an odd experience, because I went to a very selective, very expensive private school. The geek vs jock division didn't really exist, because everyone was ultimately motivated by the same thing: getting into a great college. People whose social habits varied from the supposed norm weren't really picked on, just ignored--and that mostly because they secluded themselves. This may have been a function of having a very, very large (college-sized) high school campus: there was enough real estate for the unpopular cliques to make their own space, thereby avoiding the majority of the contest altogether.

There were individual jerks, of course, but even those were, if not reprimanded, at least frowned upon by their friends when they were being particularly big jerks.

The social division was no less painfully obvious for being unaggressive. Any situation forcing members of different social strata together was visibly awkward unless one or more of the people involved were the graceful, charismatic, social-lubricant types, in which case everyone deferred to following his/her lead.

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Eaquae Legit
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By the time I hit high school, I'd already realised that I'd never quite fit in. I'd never be "cool." I gave up. Probably the underlying reasons were along the lines of what that article said.

In high school, I wasn't a geek or a jock or anything like that. Mostly, I was just a ghost. I played field hockey, but apparently I was treated badly by some other players, because the next year, someone apologised to me. I was like, "Huh? Oh. Thanks, I guess." I'd never noticed. I had people I hung around with, who were also lower on the popularity scale, but I didn't fit in there, either. I had no interest in hanging pictures of Backstreet Boys in my locker. (Ew?)

I was part of the Reach (trivia) team, but I didn't make friends there, either. Mostly because I was the only girl. Kind of intimidating.

In grade 11, I made a friend. A real friend. And then another. Who introduced me to one more. And there we were. I had my own "group." We weren't geeks or any labelled group - we were just us, and if most of the school ignored us, we ignored them.

I've lost contact with the first friend, and I'm estranged from the third (not by my choice, sadly), but the second friend has remained as close as family. Recently, she told me that my example - just being myself and nuts to everyone else - gave her the strength to be HERself, and otherwise she might have done anything to fit in. I was surprised, because it wasn't so much courage that made me be myself - it was years of trying and failing to be anyone else. And having her for a friend gave ME the strength to not care. As long as I had one friend, one REAL friend, did anyone else matter?

I guess the moral of the story is that I never noticed any Jock-on-Geek harassment. I wasn't enough of a public geek to stand out, and I wasn't enough of a field hockey player to be noticable either. People might notice me if I went out of my way, but I think few people from high school actually remember me.

And I like it that way, really. I like being me, and if no one noticed me, hey, their loss.

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My high school was not large, and there were definitely "popular" kids, but most of the jocks were also very smart, and most of the band geeks were also very popular. The only kid to go to Harvard in the past few years was also captain of the football team for example, and in band, and one of the most popular kids in school.
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advice for robots
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Gosh dang, I'm glad high school wasn't the be-all and end-all of life. That we didn't have to be frozen in whatever form we'd taken when we graduated, doomed to be our half-formed high school selves for the rest of our lives. That we could go on and eventually realize life hadn't really begun yet.

I'm glad high school wasn't the high point of my life. I truly am, because it kept me hungry.

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I never really saw any sort of real persecution of nerds at my middle/high schools. Or a strong nerd/jock divide, for that matter, which probably stems from the primary employers in Corvallis being OSU, HP, and CH2M HILL. The whole population is skewed towards the nerd end of the spectrum. For example, in a senior class at my public high school of ~250 people, we have 5 National Merit Finalists (which is atypically low - we normally have closer to 10), 18 valedictorian candidates (meaning 4.0 GPA), and probably a similar number of salutatorian candidates (meaning one B in the high school career).

Basically, smart people and/or nerds don't really run into any problems at my high school. [Razz]

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This post got uncharacteristically long for my Hatrack posts… but I figure I’ll throw it out there anyway. Don’t worry – I won’t be offended if you skim it or even skip it. In fact, I won’t even know! ; ) Plus I got nervous about posting it even so it’s been sitting in my laptop for a few days… so it’s used to sitting idle…

I grew up in a suburb of Boston, pretty big school, ‘affluent community’… There were jerks in every social group and it seemed VERY easy to get sucked into a group.

One thing I’m grateful to my parents for is that they had me involved in a lot of different things… From team sports to art classes to Girl Scouts to volunteering to violin lessons – my parents kept me a very busy little bee. Probably one of the best things they could have done because I learned without even realizing it that there are about a zillion different types of people and they’re just that. Different. Not better, not worse.

At the same time, my parents didn’t care that much about brand names or the cool thing to have in your lunch bag or sending lots of extra cash on your school field trip. This caused me much distress during elementary/middle school!! It’s the worst when people are making fun of you for the dumbest reasons you can imagine and it’s not even something you care about but you suddenly do care because it’s what’s making you the brunt of someone’s joke. So, I found myself at the bottom of the social ladder. I even went so far as to BEG for a spiral perm the week before seventh grade thinking maybe, just maybe they won’t make fun of my hair if it looks like theirs… Hindsight, why’d my parents have to give on THAT one??

Oddly enough, it seemed the ‘jock’ crew who did much of the ‘making fun of’. Not only that, it seemed like their families were well-rooted in the community and all the parents knew each other. Not only were they a little mean, they were also strong in numbers!

High School followed middle, as it does, and at the end of Freshman year I broke my foot during the first softball game of the season. I was devastated and horrified and pissed. I talked with one of my friends who was a cheerleader, complaining about how the Dr said I probably wouldn’t be ready for soccer season if I wanted it to heal properly blah blah blah. This led me to joke to a friend that I should try out for the cheerleading squad. She was all over it – and next thing I knew, there I was at cheerleading try-outs and it wasn’t to point and laugh.

Long story short, the day they posted the results I wasn’t even thinking about it. Come to find out through word of mouth, I made varsity. I laughed. And then just about crapped my pants because now I was going to have to actually do it. I’m not a quitter but this is cheerleading, man! I tried out as a JOKE. That was supposed to be the end of it!!

Turned into a pretty eye opening experience and I got to see sides of the people who did a good amount of the ‘making fun of’ that they don’t readily show. It was so strange, suddenly now that I was on the cheerleading squad it didn’t matter that I was in the ‘bomar’ classes, that I willingly shopped at ‘the Sal’ (I mean, practically all my clothes were hand-me-downs to start, why change my look when it was getting cool?!) or that I’d walk down the hall with those social mis-fits that no one else talked to for reasons that probably will never make any good sense. Suddenly the seniors that had probably didn’t even know me unless it was to make fun of my (favorite) lime green polyester pants – said ‘Hey Caitlin’ in the hallway.

I still don’t completely understand this. But I embraced it… I went to the ‘football parties’ after the games and then the unofficial parties in the woods after the parents took off… I saw the same insecurities, just dealt with in different ways. I also walked away from high school knowing this: Every group has just as much of a propensity to make fun of someone in another group, or even just that one person who sits on the edge of their group. It’s not something only Jocks do – they just tend to be visible in a school and loud and like to talk about the wonderful, or not so wonderful, things they do. The Media Wing kids do it. They just don’t yell it out in the hall… We’re all pretty much the same.

I realize that I typed some generalizations in here. I feel like this is really wordy to start, but if there’s anything that sounds off just let me know, maybe I didn’t explain myself well. I also probably strayed from the original inquiry but I wrote it out and that’s what I came up with so there it is…

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I'm not sure that I really should be posting, considering I'm only going to start high school next year, but (at least in my middle school) there is little to no nerd/jock divide. Granted, my friends and I are in the gifted program so we can all be classified as 'nerds', but some of my best friends are at the heads of the school sports teams. I know that middle and high schools are very different, but I applied (and got into!) one of our counties 'specialty' high schools. The one I applied to happened to be the Math Sci specialty center, and is one of the hardest to get in. In other words, I'll be surrounded by 'nerds'of the county, but just because they are smart doesn't mean that they can't still be good sports players.
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It pretty well captures the situation as I remember it in Southern Indiana, late 1980s. With the exception of two or three scholar-athletes, it was a rather firm divide.
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I think in my highschool the jock/nerd divide was more enforced by the teachers. The sports teams were held in very high regard, especially football (If you've seen Friday Night Lights, it's really not that far off). I remember being in a class with a football star who was being offered scholarships to many schools. During class (I think it was pre-cal) the teacher would pin the latest offers on the board and the class would decide as whole which they thought were best. The final for that class ended up being open book and a group test, and the teacher considered herself a student for the duration of the test so she pretty much answered all of the questions, all because the star player was doing poorly and needed an A to graduate.

The 'nerds' on the other hand were obviously all in honors or AP classes and drilled like nobodies business, so the school would continue to have a high standing. This enforced division pretty much naturally seperated us. The nerds didn't even know the jocks, so there was little to no chance of becoming friends. (I was kinda neither nerd nor jock, so I got to float around. I are wallflower.)

The kids that really got made fun of, by almost everyone, were the socially handicapped people. This was my group. We didn't make friends, we weren't terribly smart and we didn't play sports. In fact, if I recall correctly, I got more guff from 'nerds' than from jocks. The jocks coulda cared less about me, so as long as I didn't happen to be nearby when one needed to assert his alphaness, I was fine. The nerds on the other hand, I guess, saw me as a threat? I dunno, I have no idea why, but both 'band nerds', 'art nerds' and scholastic nerds (or the all feared triumverant nerd) could shunn and hiss like nobodies business. *shudder* Plus, when someone smart makes fun of you, it's usually quite a bit more effective than when someone... not so smart makes fun of you.

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Ultimatelly, the divide between "jocks" and other groups comes from the teachers, parents, coaches, and other adults who set the tone for a school. If athletes are taught that sports are what makes them important, and that academics is not important for them, then there will be a strong division. Similarly, if geeks, nerds, or other academic-leaning students are taught to avoid sports, it is likely a strong division will exist. On the other hand, if the environment pushes atheetes to be academic, and vice versa, then the division isn't going to be that apparent. My school fell into the latter category: Many of the most athletic kids were also those that did very well in school. And many "geeks" were also athletes.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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Gosh dang, I'm glad high school wasn't the be-all and end-all of life.
Yes, there was life after High School. We didn't call ourselves "geeks" but those of us who played in the Orchestra didn't have a lot to do with the others in my High School. And the few who also played in the Utah Youth Symphony on Saturdays were probably the worst. I remember being asked if I knew "X" and replying, "What do they play? If they don't play, I don't know them."
A few years ago, I was talking with friends we had known in another state and who had moved to my old home town. I told an old favorite story that referenced negatively old "Chunky Cheeny" who had been the head of our Cheer Leader squad. The wife said, "Oh, we have the nicest neighbors and I think they might have been in school with you. They are the best neighbors we have ever had." "Their names would have been C and K." Yup, it was Chunky and the Football Captain she married. I wondered then if I missed an opportunity those years ago.

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The school I'm at right now is full of student who almost droped out and students who are geeks. Its an "online" high school made to catch all the kids that get kicked out of normal high school for attendance problems or fights or what not. There is so separation here, everyone here is struggling to graduate, not worried at all about anyone else. total population 76.

I went to a high school with 3000 students and rising. The jocks there had to have good grades, or they would not be on the team. With so many people tryin to get on the football and basketball team, the had to choose, not only the best physically, but educationally (Is that a made up word?) as well. So they sometimes were the geeks, the QB hacked our server the last year to change the bell schedual for his senior prank, very talented.

There was no jock to geek bullying, becuase there was no real separation. The only fights were gang fights. Huge ones.

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El JT de Spang
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I'd probably say 'academically'.
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You know, somehow I think the geek/jock thing is blown out of proportion. Occasionally, I say something very anti-jock, but when I consider it, I realize I have nothing to back it up--little or no personal experience.

In my experience, not all jocks are jerks. There are jerks from every field, from computer science (hey, dude who wrote that web page Alcon linked to) to Drama to sports. No difference.

Part of me thinks we get fed a version of teenage life by movies and TV shows, and we accept that that's the way it really is. I've been to many schools, but I've never seen one where jocks and cheerleaders are the aristocracy, the drama kids wear black turtlenecks, and the nerds are the tormented peons. In my experience, people cross classes a lot: hell, six of the guys on our football team meet three times a week after practice to play D&D.

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The Flying Dracula Hair
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I was definitely the geek in middle and high school, hanging out with my clique of gamer friends. Ironically, my most horrible school experiences were at the claws of the "head" of that group.

Which leads to the point that while I caught a ton of flack in both middle and high, as much as anyone else, it was from everyone. And there were a lot of people exceptionally nice to me, and it was everyone. There were several popular girls that were some of the most pleasant, and like Vonk, more than a handful of D&D nerds that were the most cruel. So I'm not sure really how the social system worked in my old schools. I suppose it wasn't really that strong a divide, or I was just completely oblivious to it.
The most morbid thing to think about, though, is that I noticed after Columbine a healthy amount of those mean people were a lot less hideous.

Though I have to admit I was never aware of all these social divisions back when I was a student in middle and high school, I know I always saw it on television but at the time I didn't really think about it, thought it was all exaggeration to tell a story. It wasn't until I was several years out of high school looking back that I could see who were jocks and social queens etc.

And after reading Mr. Joldo's post it seems he nailed much of what I had to say a lot more concisely, and I find myself agreeing with the third statement.

As for seeing school bullies packing groceries, whose to say that they aren't living healthy happy lives? Albeit maybe with a bit of struggle in the bills area.
It's pretty sickening to laugh at a guy moping the floor thinking about how he'll always be miserable in life, despite how much of a tyrant he was in in school.
Also: what the heck does Maddox do that's so amazing?

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Dog Walker
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I think I have a good perspective on the "Geek" / Jock divide considering I am in high school, and have attended high school in 3 different states, Ohio, Texas, and New York.

I spent most of my freshman year in a wealthy school district in Ohio. In that school there was no gap. The smartest student in my freshman class was the captain of my freshman football team. My friends and I on the football and wrestling team were in to OSC and Stephen Brust, Ohio State football, and all types of music. IT was even cool to be a nerd (that most likely was because of the movie Nep. Dynomite).

I spent the later part of my freshman year and all of my sophmore year in Texas. There deffinatly was a gap there. I had to hide my love of books and history from the rest of the team. Football was life and everything and everyone else was infearour. We had a poor season but still had 10,000 people come to our games and had pep rallies every week. Our Academic Decath. team won states for Texas and they mentioned that on the annocements.

I am now finishing up my jr. year in NY state. The gap is not present here. I can once again be smart and still be cool. The girl that is ranked #10 in our class is very popular, is the captain of the soccer team, the best runner in my part of NY, and has painted art work that is being bought by teachers at the school.

And as for spending it was pretty equal in Ohio and NY. In Texas we had millions of dollars every year into football and books that were missing pages.

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I went to an academically poor city high school, since we were civil rights supporters not long after school integration happened (yeah, like ancient history, I know [Smile] ), and my parents didn't want to be part of "white flight".

So there were no geeks at my school. There were me and about 5 other people in all 4 classes, I guess, who were interested in academic things. There was no calculus or physics taught at my hs, and no math team. Computers didn't really exist then, except for mainframe type. So no real basis on which to build a geek group.

We did, however, have the stoners, the preps, and then this amorphous group of crazy people that I called my group. We did stupid stuff like drive our cars too fast, which makes me look back and wonder why so many of us survived. We were constantly choosing the wrong answers on the many Darwinian pop quizzes of teenage life. ("Hey, should we go down this really steep hill with no brakes?" and then not choosing the correct answer, "Y'all go ahead, just let me out here. I'll wait for you at the bottom of the hill to call 911 after the wreck.") None of my group of hs friends ended up going to college at all, except for me and two guys who were in my extended group. I did talk to everyone in class, and made many good friends that way in other categories, but I was still prejudiced againt people who looked preppy. (Stoners were fine, they were mostly sweet lotus-eater types.)

When I got to college, I began making friends with everyone, no matter what group they appeared to be in. It was so much more fun that way, as I discovered there were cool interesting people in every category imaginible, and really the categories are illusory and unimportant. I think most people learn this in college, and it's one of the best reasons to go off to college, I think, that broadening of your view that usually happens. It's a good idea to learn how to socialize with everyone, and to feel comfortable in many different types of groups, because whatever you end up wanting to do with your life will often require you to do this. Mostly, I've found that all people are grateful for someone who knows how to get along socially in whatever circumstance. It's a skill that you learn, just like playing Halo or kicking a soccer ball or knitting, and it's a useful skill to have. My mom sort of forced me to learn it, for which I'm grateful. But college is the millieu that gave me the actual training.

Also, being smart in hs was neutral, since we were only wasting time (I agree with the article, mostly), but in college people wanted to do well, so being smart was actually a social positive. Cute guys wanted to study with me and stuff. [Smile]

So I wonder if it might be possible for people to learn this lesson in hs, younger than I did (that all people are potentially interesting and cool and can be good friends). I have Tatiana's Twelve Tricks for making friends, that I wrote up long ago for anyone who wants to learn what I know. It could also be called "Zen and the Art of Newbie Fishing", as I used to do this for my group at college, meet interesting new people and invite them to our gatherings. I'll post it again if anyone wants to see it. I really expect that high school hatrackers are smarter than I was, and don't discriminate based on groups.

[ May 13, 2007, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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I hang with the ghetto kids on Monday, the stoners on Tuesday, the nerds on Wednesday, the jocks on Thursday, and the cheerleaders on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. [Big Grin]
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Originally posted by The Flying Dracula Hair:
As for seeing school bullies packing groceries, whose to say that they aren't living healthy happy lives? Albeit maybe with a bit of struggle in the bills area.
It's pretty sickening to laugh at a guy moping the floor thinking about how he'll always be miserable in life, despite how much of a tyrant he was in in school.

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