Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are You Left-Handed?

Okay, so I may have mentioned it before, but I find left-handedness to be so fascinating. When I was in the second grade, when most kids want to be astronauts or ballerinas, I told people that I wanted to be left-handed when I grew up. I used to practice brushing my teeth left-handed, and I'd try to write the alphabet or my name with my left hand over and over again. I always notice when one of my students is left-handed and it is definitely a trait to envy in basketball and baseball players. And, my dad is left-handed, so it must be cool. Besides, he taught me how to guard lefties on the basketball court and forced me to become a stronger player with my left hand (very useful). Here's a picture of my pops checking out a drive on Antelope Hills Golf Course in Dubois, Wyoming.

Anyway, I was watching a CSI:Crime Scene Investigation re-run this afternoon and heard Grissom say that, "2,500 left-handed people die each year from using products designed for right-handed people." Interesting-huh. The episode was about this lefty who died because he couldn't use a chainsaw properly due to the fact that is was designed for a righty. Whether or not all of that is true, I thought I owed a blog post to the idea of being left-handed, especially since it has occupied so much of my thought-time over the past 30 or so years.

Here are some facts:

No-one has come up with a definitive reason for WHY some people are left-handed, but about 13% of the population around the world are, and it is thought to be genetic - it definitely runs in families. (I guess my sister and I got gipped because we're both righties.)

Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater. (Weird huh. I don't know exactly how they figured this out?)

Left-handers excel particularly in tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing. (Learned this playing my dad in one-on-one and in trying to return his serves in tennis. . .wicked backspin.) A left-handed individual may be known as a southpaw, particularly in a sports context. It is widely accepted that the term originated in the United States in either boxing or baseball. Ballparks are often designed so that batters are facing east, so that the afternoon or evening sun does not shine in their eyes. This means that left-handed pitchers are throwing with their south-side arm--hence the name "Southpaw."

Seven of our presidents have been left-handed, including four of the last six. And, more importantly, all of the Muppets are supposedly left-handed as well. (That's why I nicknamed one of our lefties on the basketball team-Kermit.)

Albert Einstein was left-handed, as were Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, Queen Victoria, Henry Ford, Marie Curie, Beethoven, and Jimi Hendrix. Oh, and Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, my favorite "Friend"- Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), and Oprah are lefties too--just to name a few. Cartoonist Matt Groening and his creation, Bart Simpson, are both left-handed. Oh, and Larry Bird does everything except shoot a basketball with his left hand. Crazy.

And I just heard today on Sportscenter that there's a guy (Pat Venditte) pitching for the Yankees this spring who is ambidextrous. He wears a six-fingered glove and can pitch with both his right and left. It's odd. . . but kinda cool. I'd pay to see that.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break (Winter Interruption)

Last year at this time I believe I published a post called Spring! where I posted some pics of my daffodils blooming and was so excited for the start of some nice spring weather. Then, we had another round of snow. Well, much to my dismay, history repeats itself. . . although my daffodils aren't quite up yet. That's right, it has snowed on the first day of spring once again. What's up with that?!?

Ah well, at least I was able to enjoy some awesome weather this week in ARIZONA on spring break. It was beautiful, 80's every day, and tons of sunshine. My sister now lives in Scottsdale, AZ, just across town from my aunt and uncle who live in Goodyear. For the third spring break in a row I've taken my golf clubs and headed out to The Grand Canyon State, land of the cactus wren, rattlesnakes, and scorpions. The 48th state admitted to the union in 1912, Arizona has been home to baseball spring training since 1947 and it's where one of my favorite movies, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, was filmed. Some famous Arizonans include: Stephen Spielberg, Sandra Day O'Connor, Zane Grey and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Anyway, I spent my spring break staying at my sister's apartment and my aunt's house. I played 3 rounds of golf, went to a spring training game (Mariners v. Rockies), and attended the Arizona Broadway Theatre production of Cats thanks to my friend Joe Martinez. Yeah, Cats. . . I know.

During my first round of golf, my aunt and I played with two gentlemen from Chicago. Of course, I hadn't swung a club since October, so I was a little rusty.

But on the 14th hole (par 4, 326 yards ) I hit driver-eight iron for Eagle! YES! It was pretty sweet. I documented the feat with a picture of the ball in the hole. . .and my playing partners signed my scored card so it's official. I was pretty psyched.

On Wednesday I played another round, this time with my aunt in her ladies league. I didn't play quite as well, but I sure had a nice time. Here's a couple of pictures from the day--Palm Valley Golf Course is beautiful and fun to play.

My playing partners on day two were Jackie, Mary and my Aunt Evelyn. Obviously, I'm the one with the super-white legs. I think I reapplied my sunscreen about 5 times during the round. (Sunburn is not my friend, so I try to avoid it whenever possible.)

I also did some touring around Scottsdale with Ari when I arrived in the Phoenix area. She's within walking distance of a lot of cool stuff: the Giants spring training complex, a neat little park with fountains and such, the city library, and her church. Here are a few pictures we took on our walk. (By the way, I gave up soda for Lent --in solidarity with a good friend--and this street sign was a cruel reminder that it has been over 25 days since I last had a coke!)

On my first night in town we had dinner at a little place that serves some great, authentic Mexican food. It was muy delicioso.

I also had a chance to go to a spring training game, as I do every year. My schedule was kind of tight with the golf plans, but my "step-cousin" Scott and his girlfriend Karie attended the Mariners v. Rockies game with me on Thursday afternoon. Spring training baseball is just a good time. It was quite warm, but I do enjoy the environment--and ballpark food of course. :)

Finally, I did have to fly home. And, yes, I was greeted by snow. But overall, I had a terrific time in Arizona and I think I'll make plans to go again next spring break! Now, it's time to go take a nap and get ready for 9 more weeks of school! Let's hope that "Senioritis" doesn't rear its ugly head until May. (Yeah right!)

Oh. . . and GO AWAY SNOW!!!!!!