My awesome friend, Emily, wrote her master’s thesis on how self-identified dorks conceptualize masculinity. When she asked the men to define “dork,” most of them included a lack of interest in and knowledge about sports. These lacks, they explained, were a serious problem for them. Talking about sports was a bonding activity for men and not being able to do it left them on the outside of important social and occupational networks.
That this was a “deficiency” for these men is not, of course, inevitable, but the result of the social construction of a masculinity that makes sports knowledge both valuable and compulsory. This ad, for a Canadian non-profit called KidSport, claims that a lack of knowledge about sports makes you (as a man) literally less skilled at life:
For what it’s worth, other commercials in the series make connections between actual skills instead of knowledge. But they all suggest that if you don’t play and know about sports, you are an inadequate person. Well, I should say an “inadequate man” because none of the ads I could find feature a woman or girl who should have sports skills, even as they proclaim “Help us make sure no kid goes without them” (my emphasis):