Monday, December 21, 2009

Right or Left Handed

We’ve been making observations about Baby James since the day he was born. Was he a good sleeper? Not so much. Has he become a good sleeper? Thankfully, yes. Is he a good eater? Definitely. What colour are his eyes? Blue. Is he going to be a ginger? As it’s turned out, no, he’s kind of blondey haired with a tinge of brown. Who does he look like? Well, my mum said he had a resemblance to me in the early days, but comparing photos of Kylee as a one year old, James is a dead ringer for her.

We’ve made observations of James’ temperament. We’ve compared his development to other children of the same age. Marvelled at the seemingly early arrival of teeth and of walking. We are waiting for the imminent arrival of speech as he practices his chatter with regularity. We have noted his mind ticking over as he considers which of the many toy options available he will select for play time. He was playing with a calculator the other morning, which to my accountant wife was a sign that he will follow in the family trade.

Baby James has been poked and prodded from a medical perspective, weighed and measured too. Kylee and I have called to one another to decide whether red marks on his body were normal. We’ve watched his reaction as we’ve tried him on new foods. We have at times observed the crap out of our son, in fact we have made observations of that too.

So apart from taking him to a clairvoyant to predict his future, which we seem to now be doing, what else on the developmental level is there left for us to observe? Ah yes, is it to be Right-handed James or Left-handed James?

Throughout the first 12 months he has tried to trick me on this question. Disguising his preference as he explores the world of dexterity. One day he’ll be awkwardly holding food in his right hand, the next day its his left, both days he prefers to use his palm instead of any dainty or delicate finger use as he manages to mash the item of food into the vicinity of his mouth with about an 82% success rate. The remaining food that doesn’t make its way into Messy James’ mouth is then applied in face mask fashion resulting in a baby-like complexion for Handsome James.

So, anyway, the question as to which hand would be favoured remained … until yesterday.

We were playing a game where I would throw a spongey ball against the wall, Laughing James would giggle while retrieving the ball and would throw it to my general direction. We were playing this game for a while when observation mode kicked in. I did a count back, was it four, five or six in a row, yes, definitely five in a row. Five in a row where he trotted after the ball, picked it up and threw it to me with his left hand. Ok, that could be a coincidence, I mean I remember one ANZAC Day when I was on a roll with the tails call, five in a row of those before I did my dosh. Better test this observation. So again and again and again, three more left handed throws before Jimmy James got bored of this game and he ventured off to find some other shiny object to amuse himself.

So a lefty he’ll be. I had noticed a favouring towards this hand but as far as I’m concerned the clinical trials appear conclusive. And now as I write I’ve been considering this prospect too. Not a bad thing to be a left hander, apart from the fact that he’ll be constantly bumping elbows with his neighbour at school and his bookwork will be abysmal, but from a sporting aspect, it certainly seems a good thing.

Now I never played cricket for Australia … not good enough and a right-hander to boot, but there has been a proliferation of great left-handers to wear the baggy green. Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and the first of the great all-rounders, Allan Davidson. Internationally there’s been Brian Lara, David Gower, Saurav Ganguly and Sir Garfield Sobers. I mean its such a factor, even the NY Times on-line examined this phenomenon in their article Cricket: The importance of being left-handed ( Hell, I’ll bet even Don Bradman tried the southpaw stance as he knocked his golf ball against the water tank.

So, there it is, if James is a lefty as I suspect he is, I’ll have to help chart his course to the national team. Firstly, our sessions in the nets will focus on knowing where his off-stump is so he can leave the good ones. Nextly, we’ll concentrate on taking advantage of the lbw law by having a go at anything that doesn’t pitch in line with his leg stump. Both areas are the bread and butter for a left handed batsman. We might even get out the video camera for some post-net session analysis …. Uh oh, looks like Sir James Bradman well continue to be under the microscope.

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