Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Jocks in High School end up work menial jobs?

  1. Jul 24, 2008 #1
    Throughout my life, I've heard and read many people assert that the jocks in high school (football players, basketball players, and wrestlers more so than other sports, I think) almost invariably wind up having minimum wage, menial labor type of jobs when they go into the real world. And people often say that the nerds in high school make more money in the real world than the jocks. The only example I can think of off-hand from pop culture of this stereotype is when a guy who is being interviewed in the documentary Bowling For Columbine basically states this stereotype.

    I don't believe that jocks tend to wind up making substantially less money than the average high school graduate. I imagine that the average income of the average former high school football player is approximately the same as the average income of the average person who never played high school football. What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    They probably make more money than a person of similar intelligence that never played a team sport. They learned some discipline and how to work as a team, which is a good asset in any career.

    I think the stereotype is based on the idea that a person with below average intelligence can still be very successful in a very physical sport (Mike Tyson in boxing would be the perfect example even though he's not a football player). He's unlikely to duplicate the success he had in sports, but he'll still be more successful than other guys of his intelligence (well, except for Mike Tyson).

    Besides, the stereotype definitely falls apart for football players with average or above average intelligence.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  4. Jul 24, 2008 #3
    Jocks end up more successful because they gain self-esteem by playing sports. They get used to both winning and losing so they aren't afraid to take risks. They learn how to work in a team.

    More often than not, social skills > intellect. I see smart people all the time stuck in crappy jobs because they are too afraid to risk asking for a raise, risk switching jobs, or whatever. Or they don't want to deal with people, etc.
  5. Jul 24, 2008 #4
    Jockism can be both positive and negative, like anything.

    First of all not all jocks have good "social skills." Social skills means you can often discuss things intelligently, make witty points, make poignant points, ramble on about your business, and so on.

    This often comes with a thorough understanding of art, history, business, English, etc.

    Anyway, the negative is that jocks will be too unfocused on anything outside of sports etc., and will wind up in muscle bound jobs like a mover or a refidgerator repairman, maybe a plumber.

    The positive is that they will have good self-esteem and good social skills, when they are able to control their tempers and so on, and with their charisma and self-confidence they will major in business and do good.

    Plus, they have the added benefit of being from upper-class backgrounds, and thus have more connections.

    It's really a gamble though, some jocks do fail, and fail hard.
  6. Jul 24, 2008 #5
    Wow, sterotypes just go on and on in here so far.

    The biggest guy in our football team in high school ended up going to Harvard. I dont think hes going to be lifting and fridges............

    This is yet another poor question, like the one about making a book if the world ended.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  7. Jul 24, 2008 #6
    One guy doesn't disprove a stereotype. From my experience the stereotype is true.

    I think they should get sports out of school, esp. at public Universities. My University has lost millions on the football team, and studies of revenues show there is similar connection at other places.

    A school is a place to learn, not for taxpayers to subsidize certain sports.
  8. Jul 24, 2008 #7
    A guy on our Univ. football team was a fellow engineer.

    You ARE making sterotypes.

    I would say the majority of them end up like anyone else, normal jobs normal pay.
  9. Jul 24, 2008 #8
    Lost millions? I was under the impression that the only reason sports are at universities is so that they gain millions. Universities aren't charities, they wouldn't do it "for the benefit of the students" if it costed them millions a year.

    And sports teach plenty. They teach that you can't always win in life and NO, not everyone is "special". Some people just suck at a particular thing and need to make up for it. Sports build character.
  10. Jul 24, 2008 #9
    Lot's of things "build character," that doesn't mean the government should subsidize them.

    For many Universities they only make profits after you include the state subsidies (like for stadiums) and tuition fees that go to sports, a lot of which come from the public endowment. Take them away, and the school sports actually LOSE money.

    If they're all profitable, I would gladly support them running them PRIVATELY, with absolutely zero help from tax payers -- and those that can't succeed will fail. You'd probably lose half of college football teams.
  11. Jul 24, 2008 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, the stereotype isn't true. There are plenty of intelligent athletes too. Indeed, those who balance schoolwork and athletic training well, and earn the recognition of scholar-athletes are really likely to go far.

    Are there "dumb" jocks? Sure. There are also plenty of dumb non-jocks around. If anything, someone who has no other marketable skills might benefit from athletics to develop some marketable skills like being a good member of a team. And, not all high school athletes continue athletics beyond then, it's just the way they spend their spare time in high school. I've had med students who were on track teams, I have colleagues who were high school football and baseball players, my boyfriend is a lawyer and was on his high school wrestling team, the quarterback of my high school football team was in my honors classes with me. Heck, even the non-athlete kid in my high school class who we thought was most likely to spend his life cleaning gas station bathrooms wound up filthy rich as a stock broker much to everyone's shock (he seemed to divide his time in high school between cutting classes and in-school suspension).

    In the long run, high school experiences in general seem to be a pretty lousy predictor of what people end up doing with their lives, the jobs they get, and how successful they are. My class valedictorian is working as a chemical engineer, but in a dead end job that he's content to stay in...for all the ambition he had in high school, he no longer has that ambition to advance in his career now.
  12. Jul 24, 2008 #11
    That's just stupid. Public schooling is about education and sports do things that book learnin' can't. If anything, it should be expanded, along with music and other "humanities" extra curricular activities.

    A lot of things take place in the stadiums, not just sports. Have fun telling all the parents that their kids' graduation ceremony is taking place in the parking lot.

    I'm wondering how fast the first major school that stops its sports programs closes down.
  13. Jul 24, 2008 #12

    People who end up with crappy jobs are ones who don't go to college and/or don't have any drive. Many jocks go to college and are very driven (doesnt need to be an academic drive). Some don't go to college but still go out and do something and end up with a decent job.

    Well, at my university football and basketball make a profit, so no money is shifted away from academics to go towards football. This, by the way, has NOTHING to do with this thread. Not sure why you brought that up.

    I also know of several jocks who didn't follow up with sports in college, but are in various frats. Say what you will about fraternities, but they make a ton of connections.

    EDIT: Yeah, this means every sports team other than football and basketball require additional funds. Do I care? No. I'm glad we have those sports. A university isn't strictly for academic learning. If we didn't have sports apart from football and basketball, the popularity of the school would go down.

    EDIT2: Sports also help keep alumni interested in their alma matter.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  14. Jul 24, 2008 #13
    It doesn't take a "stadium" to have a graduation cermony. The better colleges around here (i.e., the private ones) do not have any sports team.

    And can you show a study confirming that there is a huge amount of education experience that comes from sports?
  15. Jul 24, 2008 #14
    Which is very important in business and law, etc. More important than what you learn in class, definitely.
  16. Jul 24, 2008 #15
    The fact that so many sports teams lose money, particuarly third-tier Universities (which you can google, there are numerous studies out there confirming this), is indeed a very bad thing because that money could go to real academics.

    It has to do with the thread because a lot of these guys get into college in the first place in academic scholarships, taking the place of people who are more qualified for academic life.
  17. Jul 24, 2008 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Some of it is simply the community bonding experience of everyone going to a game and cheering for the school team.

    Just having the motivation and stamina to try-out for a team, get through practice, and stay on the team are indicators one will be successful later in life. People who like to sit on their butt and not work too hard and content with mediocrity rather than striving for success don't tend to be attracted to sports, and are likely to wind up in menial jobs.
  18. Jul 24, 2008 #17
    I think it depends on the person and their connections. Tons of jocks that I knew growing up ended up working for family businesses or used their family ties to get good jobs. Also, depending on the town, playing football for a certain school can be an "in" to some companies. Of course, there are plenty of jocks who don't go to college and don't have any of these connections. So, I think it comes down to a lot more than what you do in high school.
  19. Jul 24, 2008 #18
    Private = better?

    LOL someone's never played sports eh???

    For one physical activity increases endorphin levels in the brain which makes you happy, and supplies oxygen, which will also let you think better. By having sports at dedicated time slots, kids will consistently get benefits from it.

    Second of all, I don't know if you've jut been ignoring me or what, but I keep telling you kids learn that losing is a part of life and learn to shrug failure off when it happens. They also develop better concentration skills and learn how to work in a team.

    No, that's not the same as working in a team on a project, because when you do it while playing sports, you are constrained for time and under adrenaline. You basically learn to trust people.

    What, are you like 500lbs or something? Didn't you ever play sports? Even for fun?
  20. Jul 24, 2008 #19
  21. Jul 24, 2008 #20
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook