Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Batter Up? I Don't Think So

          People ask me how I manage to write all the books and plays I write.  Plus this blog, the YouTube Mom videos, my weekly Meridian column, and a new musical.  And I always say, “I avoid sports.”
          And it’s true, but it’s not the whole story.  Yes, I refrain from many athletic activities I see others enjoying, but it’s not just so I can write.  It’s because I’m terrible at them.
          And there we have it: I am not good at sports.  But it’s not for lack of trying; it’s because I have hypermobility and because I lack good hand-to-eye coordination.  P.E. teachers everywhere: Stop making students with zero aptitude for ball games continually get hit in the eye by said balls.  Let them swim or ride a bike or something.  Sheesh!
          We all drive by playgrounds of kids out on the asphalt, playing dodge ball or basketball or volleyball or some other ball.  And if you watch long enough, you will see a little Joni out there who cannot catch, kick, or otherwise connect with this orb until it smacks her—or him—in the face. 
          Well, it took 40 years and a wise ophthalmologist to identify the problem.  I’ve been very nearsighted since childhood, but I had no idea it tied into poor hand-to-eye coordination. 
So there I was, in the doctor’s office and he said, “Put on these sunglasses.”  They were black, with zillions of tiny holes in them.  “Now look at this card,” he said.  On the card were little drawings of common objects-- a tree, a house, a dog, and so on.

“Which ones look as if they’re floating in the air?” he asked.
“All of them,” I said.
“And that’s your problem.”  He told me that a professional baseball pitcher would be able to look through those sunglasses at the card and see every item flat on the card.  But, if you have terrible hand-to-eye coordination, they appear to be floating, like a 3D movie effect.
“And P.E. teachers don’t use this why?” I asked.
He shrugged. “They should.  Then they’d know which kids won’t be able to play ball.”
Duh.  Do ya think?  Imagine the years of anguish kids like me could be spared—and the other skills they could acquire if only someone would point them towards activities in which they might actually succeed.
Meanwhile, I looked up ways to improve hand-to-eye coordination and found all kinds of recommendations for things I already enjoy: coloring, crafts, jigsaw puzzles, playing with clay.  Imagine how much worse my hand-to-eye coordination would be if I weren’t already doing “therapy”!  
Well, at least it’s better than hoof-and-mouth disease.

Tell your buddies to subscribe to Joniopolis—maybe they’re just as klutzy and now they’ll know why! (And if you want to see my books, etc. just click here.)

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