Today I am super excited to welcome Kris, one of our very own Joyfully Jay readers! She responded to my call for readers to join in Jock Week by sharing their thoughts and she has written an amazing post. I think it is the perfect way to kick start our week! Please help me give her a big welcome!
I’m no expert in any way but I’ve read my fair share of tales with jocks at the center. I admit I’m a sucker for any trope involving a jock as one of the heroes. With so many different types of sports out there, we have a plethora of men to choose from. From the professional athlete to the man who jumps into any pick up game he can on the weekend, jocks are a special kind of stereotype. And our hero can fall right in line with how we expect him to be or he can jump out of the box and be completely different. Here are just some of the reasons I think jocks give us the perfect palette to create a believable, relatable hero.
There are the obvious benefits, of course. Any man who is an athlete is going to have an amazing, well cared for body. Depending on his sport of choice, he can have the muscular, cut body of a football player, or the leanly toned build of a swimmer. He can have the rock solid shoulders of a rower or the huge powerful thighs of a cyclist. Who doesn’t love a good looking man at the center of a story? But it’s more than just a beautiful body that makes jocks so appealing.
Anyone who is dedicated to a sport has a passion for it. A jock with that much dedication and passion for his game can easily transfer that to a relationship. That drive comes in handy when wooing, say, a recalcitrant lover. Regardless, even if his lover is as all in as he is, our jock will apply the same tenacity and commitment to his partner. Any man who applies that kind of verve to a relationship is bound to make it a success. All the hard work is worth it in the end and something beautiful is the result. This type of hero is one we all want: the man who is absolutely committed in all aspects of his life.
Of course, the opposite is also true. Sometimes, a jock can be single minded in his obsession. His sport is his life and nothing, nothing, can get in the way of it. Not even the potential love of his life. Maybe our jock feels he needs to solely focus on his career in order to be the kind of athlete he wants to be. This jock struggles with himself before he can decide which is more important: the love for the game or the love for another person. Or maybe coming out just might be the death of his athletic career. Finding out its worth it is a hard struggle for some like our jock who has dedicated his whole life to a sport. Either way, we have another ideal hero, one who has to come to his own internal conclusion before he can have love in his life.
And what happens if the jock loses his sport? Whether it’s as the result of an injury or by getting outed, this jock has lost what he was so passionate about. He will flounder and feel lost as he tries to find his new life’s purpose. This is an excellent time for personal growth, should he choose to embrace it, and it’s very satisfying to many a reader to watch our jock come to terms with his new reality. When he gets to that place where he has accepted his fate and has moved on, we cheer right along with him. This hero is one we root for, the one who deserves to have his happily ever after.
There are as many more jock tropes out there, as many as there are types of athletes. And each one, in its way, makes for an ideal hero. Whether it’s the dedicated jock taking charge of his love life, the reluctant jock trying to balance his love for the game with the love for his partner, the battered jock now accepting his new reality, or something else altogether, jocks give us a wide range of believable and ideal heroes.
And the amazing bodies don’t hurt a bit.
When not working the day job (which is only mildly evil), I divide my free time between reading (primarily m/m romance), the knit or crochet project du jour, and writing for my own amusement. I’ve got a creative streak a mile wide and am an avid and prolific daydreamer. But then again, I’m a Pisces so I can’t help it. You can also find me at my blog, yarnkbeth.blogspot.com.