Friday, May 17, 2013

I Try to Learn Something New Every Day

Last night my boss threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener of our sort-of-local minor league baseball team. (Or rather, he threw out the ceremonial fourth pitch--who knew there would be a string of such opening tosses?)

He did a fine job, as befits someone in a leadership position at a liberal arts college, but it reminded me (again) how very much I would not want to have his job. Because then I would have had to throw a baseball, in front of a crowd of people, and it would most certainly have been the most embarrassing moment of my life, even more embarrassing than the time the cutest guy in geometry intercepted and read the note my best friend was passing to me. Because he was also a nice guy he did not, mercifully, read it aloud to the entire class, but I still remember verbatim the text of the note, to wit: "Do you tweeze your eyebrows? I tried to last night, and it really hurt."

Yes. Throwing out a ceremonial first pitch would be even more embarrassing than this. Because saying I throw like a girl would be an insult to girl throwers everywhere. Have you watched the video clip embedded in this post? I throw like a huge-headed Charlie Brown, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex who doesn't even have forearms. Or Beyonce, without the cuteness to make up for the incompetence.

For years I've practiced throwing our newspaper up on the porch as I take my morning walk, and have watched it sail into the iris patch, or fly straight up in the air, or hit the limestone post next to the sidewalk. The only place it never hit was the spot in front of the door I was aiming for. 

I throw like this:

I never knew exactly why I threw like this until a few months ago when we were watching March Madness with one of the town's more enthusiastic sports dads and the Volkswagen commercial came on.

"Yeah, he's throwing off the wrong foot," he remarked.

I snapped to attention.

"What do you mean, 'the wrong foot'?"

"Don't you see it? If your arm and your foot are going forward at the same time, you'll throw like a girl."

I felt like Archimedes running naked through the streets yelling "Eureka!" That dad had described exactly how I throw, and it must be why I throw so very, very badly.

Since then, as I throw our newspaper up on the porch every morning, I make a conscious effort to throw like a guy. I stride forward on my left foot and fling the paper with my right hand, at which point it sails into the iris patch, or flies straight up in the air, or hits the limestone post next to the sidewalk.

Okay, so I don't throw any better than I ever did, but at least now I know why I'm so very, very bad at it.

Knowledge is a good first step. On the proper foot.

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