A Jock By Any Other Name

In my circle of friends, a disagreement arose over the origin of the term “jock strap”.  Since we can do seemingly everything except read and use a keyboard (as you know I am dictating this blog), our discussion was based on experience, hearsay and speculation.  I have found human discussions regarding fact-based issues to be based on the same components.  But back to the jock strap.

I opined that the term arose when jockeys began wearing these undergarments to minimize the negative effects of  slamming their crotches against horses’ backs during races.  The undergarments were thus named for the people who wore them.

My friend Bill, an English bulldog who lives around the corner, maintains that when male athletes first began wearing these garments, they were the object of jokes and friendly derision in locker rooms of old.  The levity and jocularity gave rise to the term jock (for jocular) strap.  Or, in the alternative, it could have been simply called a joke strap.  The word ‘joke’ evolved into ‘jock’ because only jocks wore them. Bill tries to underscore the accuracy of this view by wearing a jock strap on his head.  Although he gets the obligatory laughs, I’m not sure the garment is funnier looking on his head than it would be if worn where it belongs.

Then there’s Pierre Lopez, a chihuahua 2 blocks down, who insists that the jock strap was named after the famous French designer Jacques LeStrappe.  Jacques was reportedly the first to design a garment to cradle what previously rattled about.  He was also a huge fan of his local soccer team and was known as an ardent athletic supporter.

Finally, our self-described historian in the group, a dachshund named Gretchen, claims that stone-aged man needed crotch support while running down game and running to avoid being game.  They girded themselves with a strap made of animal skin and shoved a stone in the crotch area.  They called this crude apparel a rock strap, and the word ‘rock’ somehow became ‘jock’.

Perhaps we’ll never know which version, if any, is correct.  Who cares?  The discussion is so amusing, I’ve lost interest in who’s right.  But I DO have an interest in the integrity of my name.  So, don’t go around calling me Flapjock!

Reply here. I'll try to fit you into my busy reading schedule.

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