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Happy Left Handers Day

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What do Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and President Barack Obama all have in common? While all three bask in the glow of the celebrity spotlight, what you may not know is that each one is also left-handed. And as I gear up with fellow southpaws to celebrate Left Handers Day, I’m reminded that being left-handed means I interact with the world in a very unique fashion.

I love being left-handed, but growing up, it was a bit challenging to perform everyday tasks that other kids took for granted. For example, I never could figure out how to avoid the perpetual ink stain that graced my left pinkie finger because I dragged my hand over my own writing. And don’t get me started on left-handed scissors. (Can anyone actually use those things? I never could.)

But it turns out that being left-handed is actually quite advantageous in a few areas – take sports. Martina Navratilova – famous lefty and regularly referred to as “the greatest tennis player of all time” – used the advantage of being left-handed all the time on the tennis court. From a tactical standpoint, left-handed players are well-versed in playing right-handed players, but righties don’t get nearly as much experience playing left-handed opponents.

Left-handed baseball players also have odds in their favor. When they’re at bat, the momentum of their swing lines up with the first base line – the same direction they need to run. Righties end their swing facing third base, which means they have to stop their natural momentum and change directions after a hit.

Just like being left or right-handed, most people also have a dominant eye. The scientific term is “ocular dominance,” and research show that two-thirds of the population is right-eye dominant, and the remaining one-third are left-eye dominant. (And just like those who are ambidextrous, there’s also a small group of people who don’t have a dominant eye.)

There are several different tests you can take to determine if your left or right eye is dominant. Studies draw different conclusions as to whether there’s any correlation between your dominant hand and your dominant eye (I can personally tell you, as a lefty, that I’m also left-eye dominant. And I’ve worn glasses since I was 19 years old).

So, southpaws, what do you like best (or least) about being left-handed? Add a comment and let us know.

This is a guest post by VSP employee Susan M.

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