So what is a “Jerd“?
I’m glad you asked! A “Jerd” simply put, is the combination of a jock and a nerd. To explain this better I have to tell you a little bit about myself first.
At different points in my life I have been:
- a RPG geek (Random Jerd trivia – My first brush with publicly merging interests came when I was thanked in Steve Long’s “Ultimate Martial Artist” for Hero Games)
- an avid comic book reader (Marvel, DC and independents)
- a clerk in a comic book store
- a fan of trading card games (Who had a first edition Black Lotus? This guy.)
- a PC gamer/user reaching back to the dark ages of the Atari 800
- a console gamer on many platforms (I will prepare to offend Nintendo fans in another post)
- a huge cinephile
- a fitness club owner
- a martial arts instructor
- an IT consultant
I have never felt like I fit in firmly in any one circle of friends.
I had my nerd friends – RPGs, trading card games, console and PC gamers; my martial arts friends – traditional, sport and MMA fighters; and my sports friends – skateboarders, triathletes, wrestlers, etc… and I stood with one leg firmly in each circle. (That’s right ladies, I said three… Think about it).
For the longest time I never let those streams cross (#EgonSpenglerProtip) and went as far as making sure to never speak about my martial arts at work or my massive geekiness with my training partners. Why I was adamant about keeping my life so compartmentalized is a topic I will tackle another day, but I lived my life religiously by the first rule of Fight Club.
After years and years of this it started to become tiring; not to mention I was noticing friends and acquaintances here and there that also lived in multiple circles of influence. Rare as they were, they existed nonetheless. How was I to compartmentalize them?
It was a dilemma I was growing weary of!
So a couple of years ago I was in Tampa on a consulting engagement. All I did while living down there for six months was work and train. I was away from my family, living in a hotel, and to be frank, it sucked. So I spent my time training. Hard. I would always come into the office battered and bruised, often with a blackened eye.
After one particularly bruising evening I rolled into the office looking like a prison-rape victim, and one of my co-workers started grilling me about how I spent my free time; so I let the fact that he lived in a different compartment than my martial arts go and I just told him.
Surprisingly to me, he wasn’t dismissive or condescending at all!
There were no cheesy karate chop jokes or Bruce Lee impersonations, he was genuinely curious about my training, exercise regimen and whatnot and expressed a desire to be motivated enough to pursue something like that in his own life. At the end of the conversation he looked at me and said “You’re a jerd.” He could tell I had no clue what in the hell he was talking about, so he clarified for me.
“You are a jock. And a nerd. You’re a ‘jerd’.”
What neither he, nor I, realized at that moment was how impactful that word would be. It has rolled around in the back of my cranium for a couple of years now coalescing into this idea that is starting to manifest on the keyboard in front of me.
Despite what popular media implies you can be a nerd, a geek and a jock at the same time. It just takes a little bit of motivation for the geekier and a little less self-consciousness for the jockier, that’s all.
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