Athletic talent is instant karma for the social status of any young man. In modern American mythology, the quarterback is the hero.
It’s easy for the athletically-gifted boy to be well-respected and popular because he is always among the biggest, fastest, strongest, and most coordinated boys in his grade. Anytime there is a physical contest, which is pretty much every hour of every day in a boy’s life, he succeeds. He gets picked first – maybe second – every time. And that is just the beginning of the fun. Win or lose, his God-given talent is on stage for all of his peers to see, sometimes garnering instant applause. Later, he will bask in the glory of hearing others review some great move or play he made. His friends will enter his bedroom to see a wall full of trophies, ribbons, and medals. In high school, he will see his name and picture in the local newspaper. It’s “The Life” for a boy.
For the most elite athlete, he doesn’t feel the NEED to be a good student, have a witty personality, or have great social skills. In some cases, he doesn’t even need to practice as hard as the others. He just needs to put on his shoes and go play ball and success happens because he has IT – the gift of athleticism. So, he gets self-esteem automatically, friends easily, and it can spoil him to the point where he is no longer developing in other important areas. His peers allow him to coast – and not grow up well.
And so it is with the beautiful girl. Everybody knows who she is. From the earliest age, people stare at her, trying to figure out what makes her so pretty. What’s her secret? All of her pictures turn out well because she is naturally photogenic. Her facial features are perfectly symmetrical with high cheekbones and bright eyes. Her skin is clear and bright. Her hair easily folds into the latest hairstyle, and her figure just gets better each year. She is Venus, goddess of love and beauty, who needs no decoration or modification. In modern mythology, the beautiful cheerleader is the goddess who captivates the hero.
She simply smiles politely, and everybody adores her. She doesn’t have to speak intelligently, get good grades, or have a snappy sense of humor. Her name is written on binders at school, and all eyes are on her in the halls. Continue reading “Beyond Beauty and Athletics”