A Celebration of the Elite Few Who Do Things Differently

Happy_Left_Handers_Day_by_mohsaas

It is that special day that comes around once a year that celebrates everything that is left. If you aren’t part of our secret club and didn’t already know, 13th August is International Left Hand Day.

You see, being left-handed is like being in a secret club. We have our own bizarre initialisation rituals, such as learning how to tie our shoe laces “backwards” and writing “the wrong way around” and having to endure looking at things like the kettle and toaster backwards. We pay our dues daily, in terms of the extra effort that we must make to live in a right-handed world because yes, life as a Leftie can be challenging.

When we encounter another lefty, we immediately have something in common. The club is small and shrouded in secrecy, simply because we rarely mention the topic to our right-handed friends.

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As the majority of you (90% of the world’s population) reading this are right-handed, I thought, as one of the elite Lefties, I would share some of the challenges we face almost on a daily basis, and even more so while growing up and finding our place in the world.

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  •  We write from left to right, so that our hand smears the fresh ink across the page. Righties’ hands do not touch the ink until they get to the next line, so the ink has a few seconds to dry, Lefties don’t get that luxury.
  •  Lefties have little choice where they get to sit at the dinner table, no matter where leftie sits, unless at the end of the table on the left hand side, we will always bump elbows with the right-hander sitting next to us. Give us space people, we need it!
  • When writing in a ring binder or spiral notebook, the rings get in the way of our hands when we write on the front side of the paper.
  • Many “commonly” used keys are on the right side of the keyboard. For example: backspace, enter, arrows, and numeric keypad.
  • Computer mice are generally set up so that the “main” button is the index finger for righties. If you want to use the mouse in your left hand, the “main” button is under your less-adept ring finger.
  • Back in the day of those old school desks, lefties have little choice but to adapt. Usually, when sitting at these desks, everything from books to pens and pencils will fall on the floor because the desk is back to front and designed for right-handed students.
  • Whenever Lefties drink from a coffee mug, the picture is always facing away from us. Righties’ at least get to look at the picture.
  • Peeling a potato with a potato peeler is the one growing up I found most challenging. Righties’ just don’t get it and my mom still looks at me funny when I run for the knife to peel a potato!
  • Lefties have to get their own “left-handed” boomerangs, golf clubs, and hockey sticks. I remember playing hockey growing up with a right-handed stick. Learning to play with my right hand gave me the added advantage that I now play a mean game of squash or tennis cause I can change the racket from hand to hand just like that!
  • Mini propane camping stoves are designed so that you can hold it with your left hand and pump up air pressure with your right, even if the stove is still hot. It’s hard to hold it with your right hand and pump with your left hand without burning your right hand.
  • Camera shutter buttons are often on the right. Pressing the button with our less-dextrous hand makes it harder for lefties to hold the camera steady while taking a picture.
  • When pants only have one back pocket, it’s always on the right side. Lefties have to fumble around for whatever is inside it with their “bad” hand.
  • Lefties have been contorting their hands and turning pencils backwards since the beginning of time when they try to sharpen a pencil.
  • When holding a pen or pencil in your right hand, you can read any lettering on it, but in your left hand, the lettering is upside-down.
  • Of course, let us not forget we have to use special “lefty” scissors.

On the up side, we can do everything you can’t and we can do it with both hands! We really are a special rare bunch, part of an elite, secret club.

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I’m proud to be part of the club of different. Even if it means I occasionally look awkward. Lefties, unfortunately, are rarely graceful as we rummage our way through a world dominated by right-hands. But I love my uniqueness, I love the extra’s I can do, and today I celebrate the fact that I am a proud member of this elite, Lefties secret society!!

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~ So Happy International Left Hand Day to my fellow lefties of the world ~ Doing things differently since the beginning of time! ~

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Could It Be Written in the Stars?

Soccer (or football) as it is known in some countries is not high on my list to watch, in fact it is never on my list to watch. The UEFA Champions League and English Premier League and whatever other leagues they have, it’s all just completely unexciting for me watching a bunch of drama queens running around the field. No offense, but it’s true!

BUT once every four years something very different happens, something special. Soccer teams playing for their country come together for the Soccer World Cup. It’s special for me because it brings back memories of years gone by, some really special memories.

Back in 1990, I was just a 15-year-old girl in Grade 10. That year it also just happened to be the Soccer World Cup. It was held in Italy that year and one night just as I was getting ready for bed a game started broadcasting on the TV. I sat there, drawn to the game playing out in front of me. My mom watched for a while with us and then headed off to get ready for bed, leaving me and my dad to watch alone.

It was quality father and daughter time.

During the Soccer World Cup in 1990,  it was quality father and daughter time.

From that night onwards, every night my dad and I would watch the games together, going well past my bed time as it was on many a school night but I had being drawn in. Then I watched West Germany play. I was hooked and from that moment onwards, they become my team and I, their biggest fan. There was no doubt about it too, as a 15-year-old girl, Jurgen Klinsmann and Thomas Hassler, of course, helped seal the deal!

After watching my team play live at the Cape Town Stadium, the celebrating spilled out onto the streets. Here I am celebrating Germany's win with some random Germany fans in 2010.

After watching my team play live at the Cape Town Stadium, the celebrating spilled out onto the streets. Here I am celebrating Germany’s win with some random Germany fans in 2010.

My dad and I went on that year to watch West Germany score a goal against Argentina that saw them winning the world cup that year. Since then it has been a love affair every four years when Soccer World Cup comes around and Germany walks onto the field. To this day, I still have every single newspaper clipping from 1990 about my team, from the start of the games to their ultimate win at the end. That year, watching those games with my dad, are some of the fondest memories I have.

Little did I know in 1990 as I watched my West German boys lift the cup that exactly 20 years later I would realise a big dream. Fast forward to 2010 in South Africa, the hosts of Soccer World Cup! Our country came alive with foreigners, soccer, and true South African gees (spirit). That year I supported two teams, my country’s team and of course, Germany. Germany was doing well, moving their way through to the quarter finals, which was to be played in Cape Town!!

There was only one thing for me to do. I had to get my hands on a ticket so that I could watch the team I loved so dearly. But there was a big problem. The game was completely sold out!! I tried everything, I searched everywhere, I phoned everyone I knew who might just be able to find me a ticket. Again and again I came up empty-handed. My heart grew heavy with every “no, sorry I just can’t get anything for you.” I begged, I pleaded, I told everyone who would listen to my story. Then news came from a friend that she might know someone up-country who was selling their ticket as they couldn’t attend the game. My heart started beating a little faster. Could it be?! Messages back and forward, money ready to be paid. Time ticked by so slowly. Then the news came. The ticket was mine if I want it.

That day, fate handed me a ticket.

I could hardly believe it was true.

My whole body was shaking.

I paid the money for the ticket and arrangements were made to ship the ticket down to Cape Town. These were the most agonising days. Finally, news came that my friend had my ticket. In her hand. I was beside myself excited. I told her to guard that ticket with her life and asked numerous times if it was real.

This ticket was worth gold to me. An absolute dream come true, I was going to watch Germany play Argentina in the Soccer World Cup 2010.

This ticket was worth gold to me. An absolute dream come true, I was going to watch Germany play Argentina in the Soccer World Cup 2010.

On the 3rd July 2010, draped in Germany’s black, red and gold colours, with my friend at my side, we walked into the stadium. The vuvuzela’s were going mad, the stadium was packed, the atmosphere making the hairs on your arm stand to attention. Germany played Argentina that day, and it was so fitting to watch this game live as it was the same team they played in the final back in 1990 that I watched with my dad. A game that lead them to lift the world cup in victory. Back in the stadium the game started, I was on my feet, screaming for my team and generally going mad. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind who I was supporting. Germany went on to win the game 4 – 0. I was over the moon ecstatic. After the game, as we filed out the stadium, the streets came alive with revelers celebrating Germany’s victory and Argentinian fans drowning their sorrows. We partied in the streets and in the square that night, other German fans stopping me along the way, sharing photos and hugs with complete strangers. It was an absolute dream come true and I had come full circle!

Getting ready to watch another game!

Getting ready to watch the game!

Celebrating with another random Germany fan.

Celebrating with another random Germany fan.

Germany and Argentina on the field ready to sing their national anthems. It was so surreal being there! I had come full circle!

Germany and Argentina on the field ready to sing their national anthems. It was so surreal being there! I had come full circle!

A sea of Germany fans inside the stadium.

A sea of Germany fans inside the Cape Town Stadium where I got to watch Germany play.

Germany's #1 Supporter!

Germany’s #1 Supporter!

Now, since 1990, every four years I bring out my Germany colours ready to support my team once again. Excitement bubbles up inside of me as I watch my team step out onto the field, my eyes glued to the screen as they begin to play.

For the entire month of the Soccer World Cup in 2010 I floated through time in a happy glow of all that was soccer! Our country came alive with oneness, celebration and the friendly rivalry was the best. My dear friend and I watched games together, especially when our teams were playing. The only problem was he supported Spain and I, of course, Germany! It was a wonderful month that found the two of us in the thick of the celebrations. We even got ourselves put on camera as two crazy Australian guys interviewed us for fans “back home.” Then the inevitable happened, our teams were due to play each other in the semi-finals. Someone was going to lose, I could only hope it wouldn’t be my team. Sadly, with a broken heart, Spain stomped all over Germany and that night as Spain revellers celebrated in the streets, I kept a brave face on as I walked through the throng of Spain supports in my Germany colours. I was crushed! Little did I know what would happen next and don’t tell anyone this, but my friend actually managed to persuade me to deck myself in Spain’s colours and go with him to the final to support his team, and as I’m a good sport, I did! If I couldn’t support my team in the final because they were no longer there, I could at least support a friend! Spain went on to win the world cup that year.

We had the best times at the games, watching wherever we could!

We had the best times at the games, watching wherever we could!

Friendly rivalry between my friend and I. He supported Spain and I, Germany!

Friendly rivalry between my friend and I. He supported Spain and I, Germany!

I was heartbroken my team crashed out of the SWC 2010 in the semi-finals against Spain but I was a good friend and for the final I dressed in the colours of Spain and supported my friend supporting his team. I know one day he will return the favour!

I was heartbroken my team crashed out of the SWC 2010 in the semi-finals against Spain but I was a good friend and for the final I dressed in the colours of Spain and supported my friend supporting his team. I know one day he will return the favour!

As the world cup starts tonight, I along with millions of others, will be watching the games and more specifically Germany’s journey through each of the stages.

The Soccer World Cup holds incredibly special memories for me, right through from 1990 through to 2010 and as we are about to embark on 2014 World Cup, I can’t wait to add more memories to my SWC pile.

Germany’s world cup wins were in 1954, 1974 and 1990. It is now 2014, do you see what I see? A year with a 4 in it, which has previously been lucky for Germany! Could this be written in the stars?

I think it’s time boys, for you to lift the cup again.

Your # 1 fan is behind you all the way.

Let the games begin!

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~ All Photos By Me ~

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