For the 90 percent of us who do things the right way, it has probably escaped our attention that, for the last 34 years, Aug. 13 has been designated International Left-Handers Day. As a minority that has historically been put upon, you southpaws certainly deserve your own holiday this Friday. However, and not to be gauche about it, but in sports, every day is left-handers day.
Trust me, if you are a young parent and you want to give your son every advantage, spend a fortune sending him to all the right schools and teaching him all sorts of cultural skills, just save your money. Instead, tie his right arm behind his back as soon as he gets out of the crib and teach him to be a left-handed relief pitcher, and that kid of yours will still be making a good living pitching, when you're in assisted living -- him paying your way. A left-handed reliever can last forever.
Well, so can some southpaw starters. I spoke to
It's those sports, like baseball, which feature the mano-a-mano component, where portsiders have the edge. The left-handers' propaganda -- I was going to say propaganda arm -- but let's say propaganda lobby -- argue that southpaws succeed in sports because they're more influenced by the right side of the brain, which influences creativity. Right-handers, being left-brained and allegedly duller, maintain that left-handers do well simply because they're rare. Whether it's boxing or wrestling or fencing or tennis, all of a sudden you're facing a strange creature coming at you differently.
Right-handers also say that left-handers in sport, like blondes in sitcoms, are goofy.
Left-handers aren't so valuable in sports like football, where one-on-one isn't so pronounced. And soccer? Who ever heard of a southhoof? Except primarily for
So, why have left-handers managed to survive evolution, in a right-handed world? Well, even some animals are supposed to be lefties. Polar bears, for example. Who knew? But it's probably because of athletics that left-handed human beings are still with us. Being different, they won more duels and passed their genes down to southpaw relief pitchers, who thrive to this day ... because they're needed against left-handed hitters.