Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Year of the Hot Jock” is essentially the story of an immoral man who skids willfully to his own destruction. An embodiment of all that is negative about American society, the great jock Pablo Diaz, like the horses he rides to victory, races thoughtlessly to his own demise.

The story has little to do with jocks or horse racing; rather, it shows the end of a man who, typifying the vision of America and its values of greed and materialism, exists in a state of moral dissolution. Diaz has everything that money can buy: expensive cars; strings of women, including his wife, who satisfy his physical lust but do not give him love; children who are not subjects of love but objects whose affection is to be bought with mopeds and wide-screen television sets; respect and reputation as defined by this society; as well as total self-blindness.

As a jock—in both senses of the word—Diaz not only rides horses and women but also manifests the characteristics of the male muscle without thought or morals. As “The Year of the Hot Jock” is not about horse races or jocks, it is not about sports. Irvin Faust uses the jock here as a representative American type, much as Arthur Miller did with Willy Loman years earlier in Death of a Salesman (1949). It is the characteristics of the person, not the job, that are exposed and attacked.

Because Pablo Diaz’s immorality is a given, he experiences little in the way of moral choices. For...

(The entire section is 495 words.)