Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

You Throw Like a Girl Too

As I was tossing the well-chewed hunk of rubber ball around for the dog this morning, I rang up a list in my head of things I would tell my ten-year-old self about throwing a softball (mainly because it was about that time that I gave up trying to play ball sports because I rotted at them and hated the negativity surrounding the practice):

1. He yells at you because he doesn't understand the first thing about throwing mechanics and how males are different than females in the way they retain the training they get (a fact that can be compensated for with lots of hard work). He goes off of instinct, not realizing that his natural muscle memory outstrips yours by virtue of being a man. He's not really mad at you. He's frustrated with his own inability to get his information across.

2. You need strength training to train the muscles you need not only to throw the ball far and accurately, but also to avoid injury. First you need to find out what that training involves and how to do it. Injury avoidance is half the process.

3. If you really care about throwing well (which I didn't back then because of all the yelling and taunting) be patient and train your body, not just your arm. It's not all in the wrist like you heard before.

4. It's a cascade of intricate movements that all work together to slingshot the ball forward and recover from the pitch--like a dance. There are several details to remember and train into muscle memory, not just the dense simplification that you shouldn't throw like a girl. 

5. It's mostly in your head until muscle memory takes over. Give yourself a chance to learn the process. It's not always going to involve remembering a gazillion facts and figures. Eventually your body just knows it, like how to drive like a sentient being or how to do butterflies in the pool. (I'm not going to drag out the tired riding a bike thing. Okay I did, but I'm not elaborating on it.)

6. "Lift thine eyes unto the hills." You're going to throw where you're looking. And if you look down, that's where the ball's going. I know because I keep doing it wrong still. But I'm working on it.

7. When you grow up, whatever you're teaching, learn the process and the mechanics of that process so you know enough not to just yell at them for doing what comes naturally to them but is incorrectly or inadequately taught by you. It'll save lots of tears and make you look fabulous instead of lame. (And yes, my ten-year-old self would know these big words because I actually sat on the bus and read the dictionary for fun. It's why I'm such a geek today.)

8. Stick with it. The perks of learning this particular thing are kind of like doing math. The possibilities might not present themselves immediately at your age, but the part where you train your brain to do something difficult and with so many variables is going to help build cognitive bridges that will serve you well in your life.

9. Get someone to watch and coach you who knows all of these things. They can help you connect all the dots and turn you into a well-oiled throwing machine. They can get your hips aligned, make sure you step with the correct foot, drum out of you the instinct to push the ball instead of slinging it, and make sure you follow through in the right way.

10. Don't sweat the stupid stuff. Names stick with you until you kick them in the teeth and tell them to shut up. Either let them slide off you like oil and water, or use them to rocket you forward. (And if you remind me that I just mixed up a bunch of different images, I'm going to aim for your face. Eventually something will land.)

11. You can always read on the car ride home.

12. This is fun.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwing Physiology for Geeks

Finding a picture of a girl actually pitching was extremely difficult.

"You throw like a girl."
Which girl has never heard that statement? I've been throwing lots of balls for the dog to chase and have had ample time to wonder about what it means to throw like a girl or a guy.

Probably the rest of you already know all of this having been in baseball or softball or shot put or javelin or any other throwing sport and you're going to laugh your heads off at me. I, however, have spent my life with my nose firmly planted in a book, so I expect the jeering. Bring it on.

But now that I'm working on throwing better (with both arms I might add), I'm wondering: What makes a good throw? Are there fabulous throws that go for both sexes? I assume not, or we'd have more coed baseball teams. I think there are great pitchers in both sexes but not the same way.

This is why I think this: I spent my summers beneath the bleachers reading books while my parents played softball. Occasionally I'd look up and watch them. When I watch girls pitch softball, they do a windup and pitch underhanded like a backwards trebuchet. Guys cock their leg up and hurl the thing using lots of wrist action and their whole body as a slingshot. I really couldn't think of why they'd do it those ways unless it's body mechanics.

So I went to the 'net to read up on it ('cause that's what I do). This is what I got:

"The gap between the sexes is never so wide as in throwing." But one site says it's because of training, not physiology.
"Ineptness is the normal outcome of not allocating neural resources to a task."
And, "...male-female differences in performance on motor tasks may arise, not from innate ability, but from a more efficient learning process in men after puberty."
"Moreover, males from all three age-groups were found to evolve significantly larger delayed (consolidation phase/between session) gains, and these were well retained for 6 weeks. Thus, the male advantage was most significant in the post-training motor consolidation and retention phase; the current results suggest therefore that males, especially after adolescence, may have an advantage, over females, in procedural memory consolidation."

So this means it could be more of a brain physiology thing than I thought, although there are elements of different training (or lack thereof) and other things effecting the process as well (self-consciousness, preference, lack of practice, age, old injuries). You also have to take into consideration limb length and muscle mass.

But, if I had enough training to controvert the distance between male retention and female retention (and if I weren't advancing in years beyond that of a great thrower) I could gain the skills to master the intricate cascade chain of events that is a successful pitch.

Basically, there are differences and similarities in both males and females. Throwing just happens to be one of those areas where we have the most differences. I think sometimes we don't ask enough (or the right) questions about both eventualities. If we're alike or different in something, why and how? What's the process? How is it effected by environment, training, and any number of other stimuli? Can we re-train to negate some of these roadblocks? Is it a good idea? (Try not to gloss over the answers to support a political agenda.)

I personally feel like training my brain to do all sorts of new things just for the heck of it. But I also need to remember that about half of learning to throw better is strength training so I don't injure myself. I should have myself slinging balls right through the chain link fence in no time.


--95 miles per hour: Physiology of Pitching (Technical) http://sportsnscience.utah.edu/2012/08/20/pitching-physiology-technical/

--FYI: Why Do Girls Throw Like A Girl? The genders are more alike than they are different, with one notable exception. By Colin Lecher http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-09/fyi-do-men-and-women-throw-ball-differently 

--Throwing like a girl(‘s brain)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Time Questions

Summer is gone, taking with it the minions and their lovely parents. Other people's children head off to school looking scrubbed and spit-shined in their new finery. Mine hang about waiting for employment apples to fall into their laps while they sample what the Internet has to offer in the way of never-ending magic windows.

The Olympics are over with their fanfare and drama, leaving only endless piles of weeds and the slightest lessening of temperature in the air.

The years slip by on greased skids, now, catching only on small moments in holidays and illnesses and trips to see family. Children sprout up into weeds or flowers, depending on with what they were watered and whether they had enough light.

It seems so somnolent until one thinks about the very near future--which looks ever bleaker. History tells us change of an alarming sort is just in the offing. Like the actors in a horror movie, we yell, "LOOK UP!" But they, and we, seldom do.

I wonder if my grandchildren will send their children off to school looking scrubbed in their new clothes, bright smiles on their little faces. Will there still be Olympics? Will there be journeys to other parts of the world to sample and immerse one's self in other lives? I'm certain there will still be weeds. But will they be our weeds? Or everybody's? Will we still have beloved pets and cranky cars and mortgages?

I know that there is at least one Person who cares about what we feel and do and know. He'll be there long after The End of Everything. He'll be waiting with open arms and a heart full of love. That's a comforting thought.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Doors Too (Okay, and Windows)

Okay. You all know I love doors, so here are the ones from my first sim card:
My favorite door
Love the transom!

The windows get smaller as you go up. The children's floor is above the adult floor, and servants get the tiny windows  

I forget which church this was--there were MANY.
Into the secret garden
LOVE this door!!!
The doors of Dromoland
Gardener's cot at Dromoland

Portal to the gardens

Harold's been here with his purple crayon.

Bunratty entrance several feet off the ground

Bunratty cottage

Bunratty cottage

Love this door too.

Our fav ice cream shop in Killarney

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oh Ireland the Second Wave

Never have I been so happy to see fat Irish sheep!       

I'm OVERJOYED to say today that I have found my sim card!!! I'm so so happy!!! I SCOURED the house for it, went through my dog's poop for it, dug through all his digs, scoured the back yard, re-worked the back yard, moved the furniture, searched everywhere, and was just about to give up.

The other day my husband came in and asked if the card in his hand was mine. I asked him where he found it and he said it was by his camera bag. So I assumed it was his extra.

I can finally write my name!
But today I started thinking about that. What would it hurt if I looked at it and the card contained his pics? So I popped it into my camera and BLIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGG there were my pictures. I'm so so happy. There were so many the others didn't take because they went other places and did other things and had other ideas.

So. A few more Ireland pictures:

Yep. It's a wash stand, Lady.

The great hall at Bunratty

Bunratty cottage
Put a candle in the window.

Karst puzzle pieces at Poul na Bron

Had to tie my veil since it kept falling off.                                                                                                                             

Poul na Bron passage tomb
Sundial at Dromoland

Sneaking up the forbidden stairs at Dromoland

Don't remember who this is, but she's lovely.

Not too windy at the Cliffs of Moher

Lisa and Claudette in Dublin

Who knew? Shogun armor in Irish National Museum
bracelets in the Irish National Museum

Some lovely hair jewelry