I really dislike how movies portray jocks in High School with the raging hormones being complimented by their athletic ability. It gives off this feeling as if the boys only play sports in order to score easy Cheerleader action. The character portrayals come off as incorrect because those of us that competed in High School athletics remember it in a much different way than Hollywood does.
See, there is the High School which was a bunch of boys trying to get with the cutest girls and then there’s the High School where you wanted to be the best linebacker in the country. The two seemed like completely different worlds when I look back and it was because as a student you felt like 2 different people in and out of your sport of choice.
When I was at football practice I wanted to get better, I wanted to get a scholarship, I wanted to get a chance at a sack in the Friday game, but when I was in school I wanted to fit in and be a cool kid that everyone likes. This is how the teenage experience of athletics was for me, not some weird situation where my playing the game was a ploy to get all the ass in the world from
groupies… so why is that the athlete that Hollywood shows us?
Hollywood puts all the emphasis on the student-athlete’s social life of being the most popular, the most sought-after from girls, and being a jackass bully. What I haven’t seen barring great movies like Friday Night Lights – is the athlete’s grind to be the best that he can be for himself, his parents, and that coach who drills him daily to get better.
We don’t see the kid in the gym bench pressing and squatting planets to put on size, the numerous laps, pull-ups, sled pushing and other things done outside of practice to get better. All we see is that he is in better shape than the other kids in the hallway, and that he isn’t as into his studies as the ones who aren’t doing athletics – another hardcore stereotype which sucks.
Here’s the reality of the High School jock that always gets missing in the equation – it is about the game. Many of us came up watching men like Dieon Sanders, Bo Jackson, Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson being praised on highlight reels backed by rock music and a manly voice chanting their feats. We wanted to be those men, and we bust our ass to be them.
When girls saw our letter-man jackets and fawned for our attention that was just something that came along with it… it was not all of our realities. Hell, many hard working student athletes did just as badly with women as the nerd who played ADnD in the library. So why the misrepresentation?
I think that it does a disservice to the drive, spirit, and joy of sport to assume that our upcoming athletes are all lucky, gifted, freaks whose only lot in life is picking on weaker kids and scamming on cheerleaders. No, it has always been about the sport and it’s just sad that it gets overshadowed for the socially awkward aspects of High School life.