A nerd-alete describes a person who is a combination of a nerd and an athlete.  Some of the kids on my older son’s football team made up the term in reference to him many years ago.  It was said with that special kind of needling boy affection; a little bit of chiding mixed with a little bit of admiration.  He was always a good student and got excellent grades, then took it upon himself to check up on his teammates’ schoolwork to make sure they would be eligible to play the game at the end of the week.  Any students with a D in a class or too low of a grade point average would be barred from playing so my son made it his business to take the weak students in to their teachers and find out what work was missing, then have them sit there after school until the work was made up.  He was like the team’s academic policeman.

My older son used to make sure his teammates kept their grades up enough to play in the football games.  He no longer plays football but he's a great track and field athlete.

My older son used to make sure his teammates kept their grades up enough to play in the football games. He no longer plays football but he’s a great track and field athlete.

I always liked the term “nerd-alete.”  It fits me too.  Sometimes people ask me what I do for fun.  Let’s see…I make up physical challenges for myself (like seeing how many pull ups I can do by a certain date or determining what happens if I do two hundred squats in one day), I read, I research and I write.  Hmmm….sounds like a nerd-alete to me!  


I don’t suppose it would be a surprise to tell you that my younger son, who is 11 years old, is a nerd-alete too.  He loves sports.  He plays lacrosse and football but in his free time he studies survival manuals of all sorts…and builds things (survival shelters, spears, bows, traps, solar ovens). He’s currently trying to build his own foundry.  According to him, “It’s basically a metal furnace.”  This explains why we have aluminum cans stacked up in the living room. He wants to melt the aluminum and make ingots then mix the aluminum with a harder metal and then make a blade for a sword.  I have little doubt he can actually do it if he has a little guidance and of course supervision.  Good thing we can call on family friends who love challenges like this.  They are an offbeat and brilliant group of metallurgists, rocket scientists, pyrotechnic experts, physicists and propulsion engineers…in other words a lot of other nerds who are willing and able to help him in his quest.

My youngest son at week's football game.  He was listening to the coach (and probably thinking about the smelting process at the same time).

My youngest son at last week’s football game. He was listening to the coach (and probably thinking about the smelting process at the same time).

My older son was reflecting in the car one day.  He said, “You know, Mom, being an athlete covers up a lot of nerd.”  I had to smile.  Perhaps one does provide cover for the other.  At any rate, I tell them to embrace who they are…there’s nothing wrong with going through life as a nerd-alete!


14 responses

  1. Lynn, try to find books from Tom Brown. He is a total survivalist. Incredibly knowledgable. If you can’t find one let me know and I’ll pick one up for you.
    Have an incredibly Blessed weekend. Thanks for your help and sharing your thoughts with me too

    1. Thank you for the tip…and I’m always delighted to add my two cents! You have a lovely weekend too.

    2. Do you remember I told you my son’s birthday was coming up soon? I’m going to get him a couple of Tom Brown’s books. Last night I had him make a list of a few things he would like to have (he rarely asks for anything so I have to pry to know what he wants). He could only think of a couple of things…one of which was a pet chicken!

  2. Doing an awesome job with the boys doc

    1. Thank you! They sure keep me on my toes. We have a lot of fun in our house but they both try to outwit me from time to time. I have to show them I’m still the boss. *smile*

  3. You are raising a fantastic couple of young men, you should be very proud of yourself and them. I have to chuckle, as I was just ponder making a knife from scratch myself the other day. Once I get some things out of storage, I have a few items from my Army days that he my enjoy. ..would fit nicely with his hobbies.

    1. Well, thank you! They are a happy handful! My little survivalist would LOVE to have anything from your cache. I think he’d just puff up with pleasure that he had something from a soldier in his possession. He has the Army survival manual among many others. I wrote about the time he was sitting at the dinner table looking across at his brother. He was staring intently, then turned to me and said “Where exactly is his adam’s apple?” He wanted to know because he’d been studying how to do an emergency tracheotomy. Needless to say, I discouraged any experimentation on that subject. Ha…Lishie, I have stories…

  4. …and he is huge! I found, as you go on in life, the athlete matters less and the nerd matters more. He has a great foundation Lynn. Great job!

    1. Thank you so much! I do wonder how such a big boy can have such a little mom. I’m just over 5′ tall. He already towers over me.

  5. I love this term! It expresses so many of us! Thanks for the great post

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Nerd-aletes of the world, UNITE!

  6. You may need to supervise the son with the metal foundry from time to time, but apart from that, it all sounds very fit and healthy to me. As GP Cox has said, you should be very proud of all of them!

    1. They are a happy handful!

  7. Not only a good looking family, Lynn, but the boys shows the excellence in their upbringing – you must be screaming with pride!! (you deserve to be!)

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