We all know that in every high school, the jocks are big dumb jerks who stuff the wimpy smart kids in their lockers or stuff their heads in the toilet. It must be true in every high school, because it happens in every movie and TV show.
So what went wrong at Clarence Central High School in the early 70's? The best athlete in the history of my school was Mark Murphy, about whom you can read THIS STORY FROM TODAY'S BUFFALO NEWS. Murph was the classic 3 sport star, all Western New York in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to play 8 years in the NFL.
The story was sent to me by my friend Budd Bailey, who, by tradition, should have been the guy getting shoved in the locker. In high school Budd was a math wiz and wrote for the school paper, a brainy, skinny kid with coke bottle glasses. One of Budd's good friends was a guy named Phil, who is about 5 feet tall and dressed like he was 40 when he was 16. In Hollywood, Murph would have been stuffing Budd in his locker with one hand while giving Phil a wedgie with the other.
But that didn't happen. In fact, Murph was, and still is, friends with Budd and Phil. In fact he was friends with most of the smart kids, me included, even though he was a year ahead of me in school. And the best athlete in my class, Kevin "Ace" Chase, was the same way. But there is an easy explanation for this: they were also good students, and so where in the same advanced classes as the people that show biz would have them harassing. But is wasn't just Murph and Ace. In fact, I don't recall any bullying done in my high school by the athletes. Nor, where the athletes in my school particularly dumb.
So, what went wrong at my school? In fact, I should probably have been one of the guys stuffed in his locker too. I played sports but I sucked, and I was a real wise-ass. But the worst thing any big jock every did to me was when Chris Bailey (no relation to Budd), a lineman in football and heavyweight wrestler, picked me up a foot in the air by my underpants. But that can hardly be called bullying, as I had done something to him to deserve it, and he wanted to make the point that I should not repeat my activity. Point taken.
Maybe it was because John Hughes hadn't made any movies yet, so nobody in my school knew how we were supposed to behave. Or, maybe it's just that a lot of schools are like this, but Murph, Budd and Phil all being friends would make for a crappy movie. But I can tell you one thing for sure: don't throw calcium at Chris Bailey's feet to watch it fizz while he is showering!