Nerds: love the football players

Nerds are terrible people.

Let me explain. Recently I got an email from Honors Program adviser and generally awesome person Maria Lehr about a service opportunity. I was very pleased—I do love to serve—until I saw that we’d be serving the Siloam Springs High School football team.

I cringed. They don’t need service. Football players need an ego check. They need a kick in the pants. They need to be kinder to us nerds.

The same goes for cheerleaders. Snooty pretty nasty girls with no imagination and even less intellect.

None of these people appreciate the uniqueness or intelligence that characterize us nerds.

It was at this point that I followed the oft-repeated advice of famous philosopher O’Shea Jackson and checked myself, before I wrecked myself.

I started thinking about some of the cheerleaders and football players I know. Two members of the newspaper staff are on the University’s cheerleading squad, and some of my best friends—not to mention my little brother—were or are football players. I love all of these people. I can’t imagine my life without them around.

“Well, sure,” I thought, but these people are the exception. Remember high school? The jerks who disrupted class and bullied my friends? Everyone settles down in college, but in high school, there is a definite dichotomy of good and evil, and the nerds were the good guys.

Then I reminded myself that all men are sinners, including and especially me, and who the heck am I to judge anyway? After all, my high school friends and I were far from perfect. Just because we managed to insult people in different ways does not mean we were any less rude to people than certain popular folks.

I started thinking about high school hierarchy in general, how every piece of media portraying high school uses this hierarchy for a plot point. “Mean Girls,” “Breakfast Club,” any dang thing on Disney channel—all of them treat it like a given.

And maybe it is. There are always going to be people who think, “At least I’m not as bad as that guy. He’s weird.”

On the other hand, it’s so easy to break down those barriers. To paraphrase my favorite author, if you act like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with anything you want. My brother’s a really great example of this. He’s an honors student, football player, speech and debate team member, drummer for the marching band and drama geek cartoonist. He does what he wants, son.

My point is that high school hierarchy is a product of our culture and can be changed. So this silly feeling of spite I get toward football players is just me being satisfied with victimhood. What, is it cool to be a martyr to the “popular kids” just because I consider myself a nerd? Why do I let myself perpetuate a feeling of hate toward people just because of a made-up social structure?

I’ve noticed this trend a lot among my fellow nerds. We sneer and bring down people who play sports or don’t pursue academics as ferociously as we do, even those of us that are Christians.

That’s not to say that I don’t recognize frequent bullying of my nerd brethren. I don’t want to discount that, but I was never bullied, and neither were most of my friends. And anyway, our real enemy is the one who would separate us from God . . . and is Satan made any happier than when we decide to hate people?

I don’t want to forget to love my brother just because he plays high school football.