The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

It’s not right, but it’s not wrong

There have been many myths and legends over the centuries about left-handed people.

Characteristics such as intelligence, athletic ability and health are among the differences that have been both proven and dispelled.

Senior Erin Roberson is the only left-handed member in her immediate family.

Although she writes and eats with her left hand, She said she plays sports like basketball and golf using her right hand.

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She said the first difference she noticed was in kindergarten when she had to use scissors made for right-handed people.

Roberson also said she’s learned it’s easier to sit on the ends of the table when having meals.

“I sit at the end of the table when I’m eating with family or friends so we don’t bump elbows,” she said.

The only thing Roberson used to have problems with in college because she was left-handed was that there were so many desks for right-handed students. It was a challenge to write atop a right-handed desk, she said.

“In my freshman and sophomore (general elective) classes, I would always look around and see one left-handed desk, and there was a right-handed person sitting in it,” she said.

Roberson, an elementary education major, said the only challenge she foresees for herself in regard to being left-handed is being able to write on overheads without dragging her hand over what she is writing.

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia Web site lists a few of the ways left-handed people were handled throughout history.

These cases include Catholic nuns rapping on a child’s knuckles with a ruler if he or she wrote with their left hand; Japanese men seeking a divorce if they discovered their wife to be left-handed and, in certain parts of Africa, children having their left hand covered in boiling water and then in mud to kill the nerves and force them to write with their right hand.

Alan Gallaher, associate professor in the communication science and disorders department, said there are many old wives’ tales.

He said in the 1940s and ’50s, parents of left-handed children, who were believed to stuttered, began forcing them to write with their right hands, however, there isn’t much to support that, Gallaher said.

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia Web site, around 9 to 10 percent of the population is left-handed, and there are10 percent more left-handed men than women.

While there are many speculations as to why people are born able to write with a certain hand later in life, none have been proven.

“(That choice is) general more than set up neurologically,” Gallaher said.

Senior and elementary education major Kristee Larner is a tutor at Northwoods Elementary School where she works with second-grade students.

One of the four students in her group is left-handed, Larner said, and she’s noticed left-handed students have a different style of writing.

Students seem to tilt their hands and curl their arm around the paper when they write, she said.

“Their knuckles are facing themselves, and their letters seem to start from the bottom up,” Larner said.

Other than writing styles, Larner said she cannot tell any differences between the two groups of students and being able to write with a different hand doesn’t make students any different than others, academically-speaking.

Whether left-handed athletes are better than right-handed seems to depend on the individual and the sport.

Todd Hoffner, coach of the football team, said each player is different in his abilities to throw or kick the football.

“The basic change is just the spin on the ball,” he said of the difference.

The spin on the football is counter-clockwise for those who throw or kick left, and it is clockwise for those who throw or kick right, he said.

Senior Andy Schneider writes with his right hand, but kicks left on the UW-Eau Claire football team.

He said when he first began playing, he ran into some problems because no one knew how to hold the ball for a left-footed kick.

“It took the better part of the first year before we got used to it,” Schneider said.

He said this past summer, while the team in Europe, he and Europe’s top kicker, a man from Austria nicknamed “King of Kicker,” had a kickoff.

Schneider kicked a 55-yard field goal and won the contest, earning him that nick name.

Other athletic professionals agree there is no difference between left-handed and right-handed athletes.

Jen Lorenzo, assistant athletic trainer at McPhee Center, said hockey goalies are the same whether they are left- or right-handed.

There are left-handed stores, such as The Left Handed Shop and The Left Handed Store, at which people can purchase items like left-handed scissors, power tools and other items that are primarily manufactured for right-handed individuals. The International Left Handers Day is August 13.

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It’s not right, but it’s not wrong