Neither Geek Nor Jock, But “Jeek”

I got a good deal on those boys. The scouts said they showed a lot of promise. 

~Scout, on the Hanson Brothers, “Slap Shot”

I had one of those mid-shower epiphanies the other night. “What’s the matter with you?” my internal Jiminy Cricket voice asked. “You have a conflict of interest. One day you’re down at the arena, screaming your lungs out for the Preds, the next, you’re going up to the observatory for a star party with a bunch of astronomy geeks. What gives? Don’t you know geeks and jocks aren’t supposed to mix?”

And that’s the way pop culture usually portrays it. Geeks on one side, jocks on the other. Heaven forbid they should mingle. Jocks are the ones who grow up to be professional athletes, bouncers, and Hollywood stuntpersons. Geeks are their doctors, agents, lawyers, and the guys who cook their steroids. Right? We’ve seen it in a thousand Hollywood movies. (Biff Tannen and George McFly in the original Back to the Future does it for me).

Geeks are slender, almost fragile creatures who prefer chemistry labs and libraries to the gridiron or pitch. Jocks are big, hulking battlehorses or their smaller but still athletic cousins. No middle ground. No compromise. You’re one or the other. Geeks don’t go to football games just like jocks don’t waste their time at science fairs or Academic Games. And you’ll also notice that school pep rallies don’t celebrate athletic and academic achievements on the same, pardon the pun, level playing field.

I recently finished reading sociologist Alexandra Robbins’ book The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, which maybe prompted this whole crisis of conscience. I truly identified with some of the geeks she profiles…but at the same time, there’s a lingering streak of Jock in me. I’ve played and enjoyed sports for too long to be considered a true geek. That, and I’m built to bench-press a Volkswagen if sufficiently angered. It’s like being from a two-religion household. You’re not really one or the other. Just sort of in between. Coming from a Jewish-Catholic home, I can vouch for this.

I’m a geek because I like astronomy, Monty Python, linguistics, medieval re-enactments, science fiction, and reading. The jock in me goes for ESPN, barbeque, playing hockey, taking charge, and being as tough as horseshoe nails. Not a typical combination. Which is why, in high school, I found myself the outsider even within my Geek (Academic Games, National Honor Society) and Jock (athletic teams) circles. Neither group could believe I, you know, hung out with those people.


We see a marriage between Geeks and Jocks, as the diagram illustrates, all the time in our culture without realizing it. The billion-dollar empires of fantasy sports, not to mention the Sabermetrics model now ubiquitous among front offices, are good examples. Check out the movie Moneyball if you don’t believe me. Or just head to the next Godsmack or Avenged Sevenfold show in your city. Geeks and jocks, together at the same place? Yep.

I’m still a proud “Jeek.” I have Jock friends and I have Geek friends, and some friends who are probably neither. I’m comfortable enough to go to the hockey game one night and the physics lecture the next. If I could get one thing across to the confused teens and preteens I see out there, it’s that group affiliation doesn’t define who you really are. A healthy, strong person can belong to several groups at once (Robbins calls these the “floaters” in her book). And that’s all right. If thosed closed circles want to stay closed, fine.

As for those of you who are probably envisioning a long-lost sister to the infamous Hanson Brothers, I can assure you I’m not like that.

I’m actually a lot more geeky than they are. And I like to think I have better hockey skills.


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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on December 28, 2011.

5 Responses to “Neither Geek Nor Jock, But “Jeek””

  1. Reblogged this on Vintage Hockey Barn.

  2. “What are you boys doing?”

    “We’re putting on the foil coach!”

    I’m more of a Meek (Metalhead/Geek).

  3. […] the original here: Neither Geek Nor Jock, But “Jeek” « Prawn And Quartered Categories : Geeky […]

  4. hahahaha 😀 the diagram totally reminds me of a jeek I know! Wonderful post.

  5. … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: […]…

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