Geek, Jock, or Viking

Some of my more jockish friends don't seem to realize that the geekiest thing I've ever seen is them managing their fantasy baseball rosters. Fantasy teams takes away any actual physical aspect of sports and adds math to it. I cannot think of anything nerdier than that. That's like adding interpretative dance to camping. Which brings us to a strange nerd/jock connection: two supposedly opposing impulses coming together in a marriage of mathematics and competition. Fantasy sports brings together the most analytical parts of the geek brain with a healthy dose of competitive douchiness (or douchitude). But the crossover does not end there: enter the Viking.

The Geek/Jock/Viking Venn Diagram

Geek Jock Viking

As you can see, it doesn't stop at fantasy sports, when you add Vikings to the mix all sorts of relationships start to emerge. Geek meets Viking at D&D, Viking and Jocks become the Minnesota Vikings, and all three meet at the cross roads of Heavy Metal. Heavy Metal combines Jock aggression with a Geek loner mentality and the mysticism of the Viking (thus the axes and dragons and chains and long flowing blond hair [mostly on guys]). The same type of rich fantasy life is at play in Dungeons & Dragons as in fantasy football as in listening to Iron Maiden.

Can you tell the difference between a character sheet and a team management screen?

character sheetFantasy Baseball

Which one is the Dungeons & Dragons guide and which one is the heavy metal album?

Heavy Metal AlbumDungeons and Dragons Guide

While not exactly identical, they do have striking similarities.

So, what's the allure? Perhaps there's a Viking in all of us, a tiny Viking living inside each and every one of us. It's not the Id that drives our desires, but an out of whack marauder. We raid, we explore, we pillage, we feast, we drink vast amounts of mead. At least, we want to. But at the same time, we don't live in 9th century Scandinavia; raping and plundering are simply not socially acceptable behaviors. Ax wielding is just not a useful skill anymore. Former viking kings now find themselves at 9-to-5 jobs, sitting at computers, staring mindlessly at Excel spreadsheets. And this is where we are at: the Viking in us pulling one way (“pick up that ax,” “slay that dragon”) and the corporate stooge pulling us in another direction (“crunch those numbers,” “analysis those stats”).

Or, maybe, dragons are just cool and stats are fun to track.

  • Soft Nonsense
    Comment from: Soft Nonsense
    11/11/10 @ 05:45:44 am

    Man, this post hit a home run on so many levels….plus a between-the-lines Pete & Pete reference with the “little Viking” talk.

    Or I just put that in there to satiate my nostalgia factor.

    Either way, great post.

  • Dan Isaacs
    Comment from: Dan Isaacs
    11/11/10 @ 07:08:19 am

    Is TS Ditka your team? My team name is Mini Ditkas!

    All Hail Ditka!

  • Jose
    Comment from: Jose
    11/11/10 @ 10:17:12 am

    A+++ post!
    - the heavy metal band Amon Amarth, are named after a Tolkien reference.
    - I’m hispanic American, but I get really pumped singing along to “I am a Viking” from Yngwie Malmsteen, maybe we are all vikings - sorta like how everyone’s Irish on St. Pat’s.
    - I’ve never been a jock, always disliked them, but now that I see they are cousins I raise my cup to them.
    Hail! Geek cousins!

  • Joey
    Comment from: Joey
    11/19/10 @ 10:11:24 pm

    Hahahah, dude you crack me up. Your clever blending of fact and joke are unreal. Props to you, metal enthusiast. True geek, you are.

  • Barry
    Comment from: Barry
    11/22/10 @ 03:54:35 pm

    You are so spot on about heavy metal combining all of us especially if you look at a band like Slipknot. Some of them were jocks and and some are definitely geeks. I’m sure one of them is probably Nordic as well.

    I love this article because it’s so true. The only other thing that probably binds all three are beards and this, I know from experience.