I just wanted to say, Bob, that this was easily the best of this column's editorials so far.
Your thesis was sound and interesting, your essay was on-topic, and your conclusion was appropriately inspiring.
You did make a ton of great points. Though, I think why "nerds" and "jocks" will never eat at the same table is because before the Wii, video games, reading comics, and watching movies were far more sedentary than playing sports.
I have a friend that was heavily into basketball in the ways you mentiond, not dressing up, but analyzing stats and stuff and we got him to accept that he was a nerd. Granted he also read Spiderman comics but in many ways he was less nerdy about that (he would buy a trade every once and a while) than he was about his interest in sports (spending large amounts of time each day looking over the stats in the sports section).
Interesting article, but it brings about a larger issue my friends and I have discussed before. The difference between the nerd and the geek:
I think one of the problems is the connection between nerd and geek. To me nerds are the guys who spend their free time doing math equations and science experiments and such. Geeks are on the other hand more of what bob is talking about, the guy who for a lack of a better word obsesses about more pop culture kind of stuff (like movies, video games, comic books, and even sportfans). So for example I am a history student at university, I do spend some of my free time reading history and such. That would make me a history nerd, at the same time though I really enjoy video games and board games which would be more of my geek side. So in short I see nerds more as someone who spends time working in areas that move humanity forward where as the geek is more of an individual who is very passionate about their hobbies which tend to have less of an impact on humanity as a whole. Neither is better than the other but I do feel as though these two terms carry different context.
Well. A root of the difference may be that sports trivia is based on real life historical events. Science fiction-fantasy-etc trivia is based on, well, fiction events. There IS a difference, the epic story of a football match that was won by the unknown underdogs is more easy to feel related to that the story that happend far far away both in space and time, and more specifically on the writer's mind.