Kyabram Free Press
Mollydookers, we salute you
Vin Sleeth feels very much at home on the fairways of Parkland Golf Club, but it has nothing to do with the flora or fauna that surrounds him as he makes his way around the picturesque par three course in Kyabram.
It’s simply the fact that everyone is behind the wheel of left-hand drive golf buggies — it’s a rare win for the renowned sporting mollydooker.
“There is not much where we have the upper hand, but the golf buggy only comes with the steering wheel on one side: the left.
“And there are plenty of them out here to remind people that left is best.”
Friday, August 13, was International Left Handers Day, but Vin wasn’t expecting any congratulatory cards from his golfing colleagues at Parkland.
By every definition he is in the minority, his lefthandedness (according to research) shared by only 10 per cent of Australians.
Vin is, under the medical definition, sinistromanual, or what most of us refer to as a lefty, southpaw or just plain different.
Sitting at one of the club’s round tables after his round on Wednesday, August 11, with half a dozen right-handed golfers, he explained that despite being outnumbered he was “left-handed, and proud”.
Luckily the table had no knives or forks, which would have fuelled further ridicule as he swapped the knife from the right side of his plate to the left, a ritual he has been doing in restaurants all his life.
The 72-year-old spent 42 years of his working life in the tyre industry, a pursuit that fortunately does not discriminate against lefthanders.
“I don’t do anything right-handed. It’s just painted on,” Vin said.
“The teachers tried to make me change to being right-handed when I was at St Germains (a primary school near Undera, which closed in 1994). My mum told them to leave me alone.
His decorated sporting career is testament to the fact that being a mollydooker is no barrier to success, being crowned Kyabram association’s Cricketer of the Year on three occasions.
In all three of those seasons, he took in excess of 40 wickets and made more than 400 runs, all while standing on the wrong side of the bat — according to many critics.
He also had successful coaching stints with Lancaster and Wyuna.
Even family reunions are
I haven’t looked lonely for the sports mad Kyabramite. His wife of 52 years, Heather, is righthanded and it’s a trend that flows through the entire family.
The father-of-five and grandfather-of-11 treasures bi-monthly counter meals at Tongala Hotel with two of his fellow lefties, Goulburn Valley Football legends Des Campbell and Lawrie Casey. Both were more than handy with the bat as well.
He is one of six children, but only his sister Carmel was left-handed. His twotime Kyabram District Football League best and fairest brother, Pat, was a left footer — his only saving grace, as he was righthanded with everything else.
Vin shared an extraordinary story of a fellow lefthander’s successful petition of the NAB bank for a change to the “righthanded” biased cheque book.
“He took it in to them and told them he wanted it around the other way. And they did it.”
He said despite the fact the world was made for right-handed people, he’d managed to make his way through with a minimum of fuss.
“There is no book written for the left-hander,” he said.
And for those who are interested, here are Vin’s top lefties from the district, and their sports. He offered honourable mentions on the cricketing front to the Campbells (Brad and Des), the Newmans (Paul and Dave), his close friend Lawrie Casey, Mick Mulligan (Shepparton) and Jamie Murphy (Echuca). Tennis: Damien Morvell. Cricket: Matthew Elliott. Golf: Ash Kuiper.
Bowls: Rob Sceney.