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The Jerk Jock answer to the Lovable Alpha Bitch. It is typical in most high school settings to have the jock as the bad guy but this trope is a method of portraying jocks in a positive light. After all, people don't automatically turn into a sociopath the moment they join a sports team.
The Lovable Jock differs from the Lovable Alpha Bitch in that, while the Alpha Bitch can still be a bully to everyone except the main character to count, the Lovable Jock will be a nice guy by default. He is rarely the main man of the high school and will usually be in contrast to an actual Jerk Jock. Expect the Jerk Jock to be blond while the Lovable Jock has dark or red hair, though blond Lovable Jocks are common too. But that's still not a license to try anything funny on him or his allies; he can and will smash anyone foolish enough to try.
A variation can come where the Jock is merely too stupid to actually be spiteful. Compare Brainless Beauty.
Female cheerleaders who are not the Alpha Bitch can go here instead of Lovable Alpha Bitch since that trope is reserved for the actual Alpha Bitches. The Jock need not only be on the football team, but on any other sports team in the school.
Anime and Manga
- Tsubasa Ohzora from Captain Tsubasa is THE Lovable Jock and possibly the Trope Codifier in anime and manga. Yes, he's handsome and popular. Yes, he's a Child Prodigy in regards to soccer. But he works very hard for his success, truly loves the sport, and cares very much for his teammates and his friends.
- Pretty much every school team captain is like this, with the exception of Hyuuga -- and Hyuuga not only has genuinely good reasons to be harsher, but he does not get rewarded when he pulls the asshole card.
- Eyeshield 21 is basically what happens when you take the most socially challenged kids in Japan and make them play team sports. Kurita is probably the most prominent, though there's also Sakuraba, Mizumachi, and Yamato.
- Slam Dunk has Akira Sendoh and Kenji Fujima. Both are high-ranked aces in their school teams and very popular among girls, but remain polite and relatively down-to-Earth.
- The new Subterra brawler in Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders is a football player, with the same football team as cheerleader and previous Subterra brawler Juli.
- Nakatsu of Hana Kimi
- Masaki Miyamoto from Amakusa 1637, with his girlfriend Natsuki Hayami as a female example.
- X-Men: Beast was an athlete in high school, before he grew his fur.
- "Moose" Mason from Archie Comics.
- Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing, from the Fantastic Four, who used to be a star football player in high school. He became fast friends with the intellectual Reed Richards, AKA Mr Fantastic, once the two of them met in college.
- The Breakfast Club: The Trope Codifier is probably Emilio Estevez as Andrew, a wrestler who gets no attention from his father and resorts to bullying a nerd once (which is what lands him in detention) and feels awful about it.
- Shawn Hatosy's Stan from The Faculty is a five star athlete who wants to work hard to better his grades and is probably the nicest in the main cast.
- Oz from American Pie becomes this.
- Aaron from Mean Girls.
- Most of the guys from Remember the Titans but Gary sticks out the most.
- A few of the guys from Coach Carter, which is basically Remember The Titans with basketball instead.
- Forrest Gump played football in high school.
- Ogre evolves into this in the Revenge of the Nerds series.
- Jonathan from Were the World Mine.
- Troy from High School Musical. Zeke and Chad could also qualify.
- Paul from Election, while not too bright, is a genuine Nice Guy who votes for his opponent in the titular school election because he thinks it wouldn't be fair if he voted for himself.
- Cappie from Lucas used to bully the titular character, but did a Heel Face Turn after Lucas helped him keep up with his studies when he fell ill and became Lucas's friend and protector, and it's not really his fault that the girl Lucas liked had a crush on him instead.
- Varsity Blues has Mox first and foremost, but also the likes of Billy Bob and Wendell Brown.
- The jocks in Grease are like this, although they still don't get the girl because they're too dumb and boring.
- Harry Potter: Harry himself. Most of the Quidditch players who don't play for Slytherin or Hufflepuff count, with Cedric Diggory (who does play for Hufflepuff ironically) being the most prominent other example.
- Josh Newman from The Alchemyst series is stated to be on the football team though the books are set in the summer.
- Frank Merriwell, hero of the book series of the same name is an exemplary athlete both in skill and sportsmanship, and an all-round decent chap. Other athletes in the story, not always so decent.
- Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time, who's said to be a popular athlete at Meg's school but has no problems hanging out with geeky, bespectacled Meg and going on a multidimensional space quest with her and her brother Charles Wallace.
Live Action TV
- Bones: Booth is a former jock version.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Larry, once he comes out as gay.
- Chuck: Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb.
- Community: Troy.
- Degrassi: Riley is this trope in spades, except he's also a Big Man on Campus and genuinely is not stupid.
- 8 Simple Rules: Kyle is said to have shoved nerds in lockers but we've never actually seen him bully someone and he seems like a nice enough guy.
- Freaks and Geeks: Todd, despite dating shallow and vapid Cindy Sanders and being Sam's unaware rival, is a super nice guy who thinks Sam is cool and doesn't try to battle Sam for Cindy.
- Friday Night Lights: Most of the cast, but especially Matt Saracen and Luke Cafferty.
- Taken further by Matt explicitly being stated as more of an art kid than a quarterback, he just happens to have the brains to back himself up on the field.
- Glee: Several examples, including Finn, Mike, Sam, Artie (who is in a wheelchair), and Puck (after some Character Development).
- Kamen Rider Fourze has Shun Daimonji, the school's star quarterback. He starts off as a Jerk Jock taken to such an extreme that he even interferes with Fourze defeating the Monster of the Week because of a grudge with the titular Kamen Rider. Later, though, he owns up to his Freudian Excuse (a controlling, perfectionist father) and works toward becoming a better person. He even joins the Kamen Rider Club, and assists Fourze in battle by piloting the Power Dizer.
- Jason Lee Scott is into martial arts rather than playing for the Angel Grove High sports teams, but he otherwise fits this trope. His outgoing, athletic nature makes him a natural leader of the Power Rangers, and he functions as a Big Brother Mentor to geeky Billy Cranston, building Billy's self-confidence by teaching him martial arts.
- Party of Five: Will. Bailey does blur the lines as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold though the Jerk part usually cancels out the Heart of Gold.
- Riverdale — Archie Andrews.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Harvey. His friends on the football team also seem nice enough.
- Saved by the Bell: AC Slater.
- Scrubs: Turk is said to have been this in high school.
- Alex Riley had a Jerk Jock gimmick on NXT so after his Heel Face Turn he may qualify.
- Really any wrestler who isn't a dickhead behind the scenes could qualify.
- From Rival Schools we have Roy Bromwell: star quarterback of Pacific High. In the first game, he was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold bordering on Jerkass and with a serious hate fore Japanese people due to his grandfather's bad experiences in World War Two. He loses much of his jerkassery in the sequel, recognizes it was wrong from him to hate on others, and becomes an all around nice guy.
- Daisuke and Kou from Persona 4. They're dubbed the "Fellow Athletes", and they're outgoing, friendly people.
- Roy from Harvest Moon: Animal Parade. Roy is a fun, outgoing jockey (i.e., the literal sort of jock as in he likes riding animals) and is fun-loving.
- Tidus and Wakka from Final Fantasy X. Really most of the Besaid Aurochs count. The Kilika Beasts are also shown to be nice enough.
- Evan from X-Men: Evolution, though this is mostly in-universe since he's The Scrappy to most people.
- Kevin from Daria fills the "too dumb to be spiteful" role.
- Vince from Recess
- Chalky from Doug
- Brick from Kim Possible.
- DJ and Tyler from Total Drama.
- Happy Hogan in Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
- Kwan from Danny Phantom, though this was more of a case of Characterization Marches On since in his first few appearances, he was a bit of a Jerkass, albeit one pushed into being one by his peers.
- Cyborg used to be an athlete before he turned into what he is today in Teen Titans.
Anime and Manga
- Natsuki Hayami from Amakusa 1637 was this, the Kendo Team Captain and the Student Council President before the Time Travel action took place.
- Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura is both a cheerleader and the sweetest girl around. By extension, so are her cheerleader friends Chiharu and Naoko.
- The cheerleaders from Mahou Sensei Negima: Misa Kakizaki, Sakurako Shiina and Madoka Kugimiya.
- Lynda of Halloween is a cheerleader and the Final Girl's best friend, considerably nicer than the other, non-cheerleader, friend.
- The jock girls in Mean Girls. Regina joins them at the end.
- A few of the cheerleaders in Bring It On.
- Amber from DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.
- The leads (and other teammates) from Bend It Like Beckham.
- The girls on the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Quidditch teams in the Harry Potter books. Both Harry's girlfriends Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley played the same position as him, although Ginny only substituted for him in one game, and that substitution was because of Umbridge's hostile takeover of Hogwarts. It's worth noting that there are no girls playing for Slytherin and Hufflepuff, the two teams shown with more Jerk Jock players than the others.
- In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelisations, the (all female) gymnastics team are said to be popular and nice as well.
- Julie Sims in 1632. She is also a deadly jock.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy herself might count, as she was a cheerleader in her last school and she attempts to join them again. Back in her old school she just appeared to be a bit ditzy as opposed to actually mean.
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch Valerie joins the second string cheerleader squad.
- Kelly and Lisa were on the cheerleading squad in Saved by the Bell. Jessie also joins as well. The girls are also said to play volleyball.
- Michelle McCool in her face persona was created around this trope, with the announcers talking up her athletic ability and vignettes also promoting it.
- Naomi Knight from NXT season 3 is another example. The other girls were mostly talked up as being in fitness and power lifting but Naomi came from a dancing and basketball background and her athletic prowess was always referenced.
- Rival Schools: Tiffany, Roy's girlfriend, is a cheerleader and is mentioned to be outgoing and friendly from the very start, unlike Roy who first had to get Character Development.
- Lucy from Harvest Moon: Animal Parade loves a number of sports, including running and dance, and she's also very friendly. Bonus points: Both her and Roy are small children; about six years old. Sort of.
- Kim Possible: Kim herself is a cheerleader.
- Lisa, Amy and Janet from American Dad. All cheerleaders.
- Jean Grey is this herself in X-Men: Evolution as the school's soccer star.
- Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is somewhat rude and insensitive, but will always stay true to her friends. Unlike most female examples, she's not a cheerleader, but a racer