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Jock Dad, Nerd Son
"That boy ain't right."
Hank Hill, King of the Hill

Tends to be a High School trope. When a father was a jock in high school (usually marks his Glory Days) while his son pursues less athletic endeavors, usually to the father's disappointment. Related to a Billy Elliot Plot, but is part of the underlying characterization as opposed to a single episode plot.


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    Comic Books 
  • Inverted in one 80s Spider-Man story, where a Flashback showed us that Flash Thompson's dad was a brilliant academic, who was totally unimpressed by his son's prowess on the football field. Flash bullied Peter because he saw him as the sort of son his father wanted. (This story has been contradicted by every other appearance of Flash Thompson's dad.)
  • Also inverted in Runaways. Chase is initially presented as a jock, and his parents are both super-geniuses. His father is less than impressed with his son's athletic abilities.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory often talked about how his father forced him to learn football.
  • In Grounded For Life, Henry wants to sign up for tap dancing, but his dad pushes him to do a more "masculine" sport like soccer.
  • Brian from Still Standing tends to be a nerd, and his dad doesn't approve.
  • That '70s Show has shades of this, with Red being a War Veteran instead of a former High School Jock. He still has this type of relationship with his son Eric.
    • One episode made reference to Red having been on the wrestling team when he was in high school, so there's that.
  • Similar to the above, on Frasier, Martin has this relationship with both his sons in a slightly different context. Martin was a man's man cop for decades and has two opera-loving, psychiatrist sons with whom he has little in common.
  • On Married... with Children, Al Bundy was the Big Man on Campus in high school. He was a football hero and made it with every hot girl in his class. In contrast, his son Bud is constantly trying (and failing) to score with women and is much more academically oriented. On one occasion, Al says that if the two went to school together, Al probably would not have let Bud hang out with him.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Patton Oswalt talks about being the younger half of a variant of this — Military Dad, Nerd Son. And also, its flipside.
    "My dad was a Marine colonel. Look at me. Fuckin' pot belly and man-boobs. 'You know, father, the short stories of Tilly Olson are a wonderful window into contemporary womanho—' Punch, drink, cry. So now my kid's going to be a Navy SEAL, gonna beat the shit out of me and all my friends, rip up my comic books, melt our lead figures, make our lives a living hell; ughhhhh... 'Hey dad, I threw your Blade Runner gun on the roof. Heh heh, faggot. Maybe if you do three pushups I'll go get it down.'"

  • Inverted with Roy Greenhilt and his father, Eugene, of The Order of the Stick. Roy chose a career as a fighter class as opposed to a wizard like his father, which are seen as a jock and nerd class at least in universe. Played straight with Eugene and his father, Horace, who had inspired Roy's career path. Interestingly, Roy was apparently a nerd compared to other fighters (possibly because Roy tries very hard to avert the "fighters are Dumb Muscle" stereotype)
    Roy: Well I hate to break it to you dad, but this isn't the end of the line. More like half-time.
    Eugene: What? How can you halve time itself?
    Roy: *Sigh* I should have known a sports metaphor would be wasted on you.

    Western Animation 
  • A constant source of contention between Steve and Stan Smith of American Dad!. Stan constantly tries to help his son with various "masculine" activities to avoid letting Steve repeat the same poor experience Stan had in high school
  • This is the case between Chicken Little and his father in the film of the same name.
  • On one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter's dad tries to teach him how to do sports, but is always thwarted by Dee Dee. Not that Dexter's dad is athletic, but his interests goes that way.
  • Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon would be this to his father Stoick the Vast. Scrawny little nerd-boy in a society of huge, fierce, dragon-fighting Vikings.
    Hiccup: [sarcastically imitating Stoick] Excuse me, barmaid! I'm afraid you brought me the wrong offspring! I ordered an extra-large boy with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side! This here, this is a talking fishbone!
  • One episode of The Simpsons shows us Prof. Frink's dad, who, although also an academic, is more of the Adventurer Archaeologist sort.
  • Hank and Bobby in King of the Hill. Hank was a high school athlete; Bobby is pudgy, lazy and more interested in becoming a comedian, not to mention more sensitive than Hank ever feels comfortable with.
  • Ben Hare and his son Harecules, from Beany And Cecil.
  • Nickelodeon's Aaahh!!! Real Monsters had Slickis, 'this Academy's most esteemed graduate', a world-renowned top athlete and professional scarer. His son Ickis was often mistaken for a cute bunny rabbit on scares, and once even got his foot run over when he tried to frighten two teenagers who wanted to make-out at an isolated location.
  • Parodied and Inverted on South Park's take on High School Musical: Bridon Gueermo wants to be on the basketball team, but his abusive Camp Straight father pushes him into dancing.
  • Coach Reinheardt and his son Gordy in Angela Anaconda.

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