The topdog Jock/Football Captain/Rowing Blue/BMOC - they've always been around, even in Martin Henry Dawson's time in university a hundred years ago.
Similarly, the underdog Swot/Square/Boffin/Nerd/Geek .
They were certain to be members of the chess club back then as now (as Dawson certainly was).
They actually liked philosophy class and the classically dead languages (Dawson again).
They dutifully and cheerfully always passed their essays in on time, never skipped class, and when not in the library ( researching, not flirting) were in the high school band or orchestra, no doubt playing like the oboe or something equally, well, nerdy.
The socially adept jocks became natural up front politicians, running first for high school president and then American President.
Meanwhile the more studious, honest and charisma-challenged types were 'urged' to fill the tiring, detail-filled backroom jobs because someone has to step into the breech and it might as well be you - again.
It is hard today to imagine the pocket-protecting chemist ever being seen as the jock and the topdog, but between the wars this was so - chemistry was just so cool, so powerful.
A Swot's revenge indeed when the ultimate underdogs, basement penicillium slime and working class SBEs, turned tables on the topdog jock chemists near the end of WWII...