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Meditations on a jock

By Zack Armstrong
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 28, 1999

So we're the number one jock school in the nation huh? Well I for one couldn't be happier. For my entire life I have looked up to "jocks." I used to pretend that I was one or could someday be one. I looked up to anyone and everyone who ever played a sport, professionally or otherwise. I wanted nothing more than to be a "jock". But then I realized that I was only kidding myself. I read books. I enjoyed a life outside sports, beer, and cheerleaders. I would never live my dream. I would never be a "jock."

But just when I thought that my chances were forever out of reach, my school, the place that I chose to receive my higher education was selected to be the number one "jock" school in the nation. Could a more prestigious honor possibly be bestowed on a place of education such as this? I don't think so. And since I am a student at the University of Arizona, I will forever possess the pride that comes with this incredible achievement.

If I'm not mistaken this is a place of higher education. That is the core reason that we are all here together. Why does anyone care how "jocklike" we are? What does "jock" even mean? It doesn't connote anything terribly positive to me. It has the same affect on other people. I asked around a bit, friends and strangers, to find out exactly what most people thought that a jock was. There were three answers that I got more than anything else. the most common was athletic. I must admit that that was the first thing that I thought of. The second most common adjective of choice was stupid and a variety of synonyms for the word. The third was arrogant.

Athletic, arrogant, and stupid. This is how we are choosing to glorify are school?

But then I realized that this was just the opinion of the people that I asked and surveys are never entirely accurate. Because of this well known fact I decided to consult my dictionary. I looked up the word "jock" and the very first definition that Merriam-Webster provided was jockstrap. Jockstrap? Could this be some kind of cruel joke that the Princeton Review people are playing on us? Did they really think that we were so athletic, arrogant and stupid that we would be given a title and not even think to examine what it meant? I decided that this was preposterous and read the other definitions that the dictionary offered. the second one was far more likely.

A "jock" is, in fact, someone who demonstrates talent in the field of athletics. It didn't say anything about arrogant and stupid but I bet there's a petition or something that we could organize to get that changed. A further definition is a person that demonstrates a strong fondness for the existence of sports and the people who play them.

Well that's not so bad I guess. I mean that means fans right? Could a jock really mean a person who likes sports a lot? You don't have to be good at them to be a jock? That's not so bad. That speaks highly for school spirit and school spirit isn't a bad thing. Everybody likes school spirit (well except for those really cool people who live on the edge and wear all black and such, but lets not talk about them).

I like sports. I really do. I'm watching a football game even as I write this. I just question the relevance of putting any real emphasis at all into the fact that we at the U of A demonstrate more jockness than any other university in the country. This establishment is first and foremost a place of education and that is what should be placed on the front-lines. The least we could do is pick a better word than "jock".

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