Recent research from the Institution of the Painfully Obvious has revealed what spindly-legged nerds have known for generations: jocks are jerks.
Ah, but the study actually provides some interesting context and nuance as well — well- rounded jocks are much more likely to be well-adjusted and NICE people.
The study was partially funded by the 4-H, and, according to Newsweek shows:
“…jocks really are jerks—if they focus exclusively on sports at the expense of other more-well rounded programs. But kids who both play sports and are exposed to youth-development program like scouting or 4-H show the most markers of personal growth and maturity.”
The lead researcher, Richard Lerner, of Tufts University, says: “Kids who are just involved in sports are focusing in on what it is to be competitive with other kids. To dominate and win and not lose: that life is a zero-sum game.”
The longitudinal study looked at more than 1000 kids (Grade 5-7), and I was quite happy to see that it backs up my own anecdotal experience. One of my best friends is someone you could call a jock — he played football, basketball and was basically great at any sport he wanted to try. But he also played music, read a lot, and was even in the uber-geek set of my confused friends who enjoyed 12-hour binges of D&D. He’s manifestly NOT a jerk, and is, in fact, quite the opposite.
Now we just need a study about what happens to kids who only play D&D, particularly those people who only played paladins … lawful good my ass.