What is a Rookie?

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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A rookie is a term for someone new to something or for someone in their first year of something. The term is often used to describe players in their first year of a sport or in their first year at a certain level, or in general someone new to whatever is being tried.

This person can be inexperienced or untrained, as in the case of a police officer. A rookie cop is often training with someone else and learning the ropes of the profession. He or she can often be the subject of playful jokes, or the object of pranks, and the person may be forced to do the “grunt work” of the more experienced officers, and may be given some of the menial tasks. In a world like this, the person eventually graduates from this status, and when someone new is hired or brought in, he or she become the rookie.

A rookie also may be the object of some mean jokes, often called hazing. He or she may be in sports, in a fraternity, or any of a number or professions or activities, even law enforcement. The person may be forced to do demeaning tasks, perhaps break the law, or subject themselves to humiliation.


In sports, a rookie is a person in his or her first year in the sport or at a level. While most of those in professional baseball are in their early or mid-20s, Satchel Paige was a rookie in America’s Major League Baseball (MLB) at the age of 42. He had played in the professional Negro Leagues previously, but did not start in the MLB until he was older.

A rookie on a sports team, though young, can be the best player on a team or can be looked at as a team leader, if his or her personality is right. In his first season, Lebron James of the National Basketball Association (NBA) was among the most famous players in the league. A player in his or her first season in sports may be designated many different ways, such as through a yellow stripe on the back of a car in NASCAR. In baseball, a rookie season is not counted until the player has a certain number of at bats, chances, innings pitches, or games played in. Other sports also have restrictions for these statistics.

The card from a player's rookie season is often a valued possession. It may be rare or collectible, as it was probably before a certain player earned his reputation as a star or an all-star. The rookie card can show a player before he became famous, and may have been signed before the player was used to doing such things. The term "rookie" has been a nickname for many athletes and many others, either in jobs like the police or in the army, and has also been the name of a 1990 Clint Eastwood movie and a 2002 Disney movie.


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Post 2

@stormyknight: I totally agree with you. I was once that rookie. I really thought I knew more than the veteran officers who had been there for years. Thankfully, they were very patient with me and overlooked my “know-it-all” attitude.

Being the rookie is hard. You’re going to be the one to go and get everyone’s food; clean the bathrooms, have the pranks played on, and are the one looking completely ridiculous at some time or another. Thank goodness it doesn’t last forever!

Post 1

I work as a field training officer for the newly hired police officers. My job was “created” due to the rookies not being able to transition well from police academy to police department. There are several things that a rookie cop should do or not do.

One of the biggest problems that police departments have with rookies is that they come straight out of police academy thinking that they know everything. Many of them have the “been there, done that” attitude just because they just graduated from the academy. That is a huge problem for the department.

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