October 17, 2007
As a 747 jumbo jet began its full-throttle climb from Los Angeles International Airport, far below stood left-handed quarterback Michael Bundy on the football field at El Segundo High, lofting one 20-yard spiral after another.
Less than five minutes later, another passenger jet became airborne, and now Bundy was demonstrating how he throws a baseballwith his right hand.
For those with comic-book imaginations, Bundy, a normal 15-year-old sophomore in the classroom, transforms on the playing field into Ambidextrous Boy.
"It's incredible," his baseball coach, John Stevenson, said.
Added football Coach Steve Shevlin: "He's a very polished left-handed quarterback and a very solid right-handed baseball player. It's pretty impressive for someone to do it from both sides really well and not look awkward."
Having grown up in El Segundo, watching more planes than he can count land and take off from nearby LAX, Bundy has some explaining to do for his rare ability. Is it from inhaling jet fumes, from living near an oil refinery or did a military experiment at the nearby Boeing or Raytheon plants somehow go awry?
No, Bundy can actually credit his genes as well as his parents, Jim and Debbie, both former athletes who saw no reason to deter their son from using either of his arms whenever he wanted while growing up.
"My parents told me they'd give me a ball and sometimes I'd pick it up right-handed and throw it, and sometimes I'd pick it up left-handed and throw it," he said. "I was a little better left-handed, but I kept working at it right-handed."
Bundy's great-grandmother, May Sutton Bundy, was the first American woman to win a singles title at Wimbledon in 1905. And his grandfather, Bill Bundy, was a member of USC's national championship football team in 1939.
Bundy can play tennis using either hand. He hits golf balls right-handed but shoots a basketball left-handed.
Shevlin said one of the goals he has set for his young quarterback is to have him throw a touchdown pass left-handed and another right-handed during a game. Bundy works on strengthening drills for his right arm during practice, but said he doesn't feel comfortable enough to throw a football right-handed in a game.
But the trick plays are in the playbook, Shevlin said, and figure to be unleashed in time. "We definitely have some stuff," he said.
This season, Bundy has passed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns for El Segundo's 3-3 football team. He batted .286 as a freshman, starting at third base for the varsity baseball team last spring.
It's all about proving himself.
Each time Bundy encounters a coach who doesn't know about his talent, he has to show him he isn't kidding.
"None of my coaches ever believed I could throw with both arms," he said. "I did have to demonstrate."
The most memorable moment for Bundy, who's sure to have many more, came when he was 11. He struck out two batters in a baseball game throwing right-handed, then struck out the next batter throwing left-handed.
Joey Schaffhauser, a receiver for El Segundo, was on the opposing team that day.
"I thought it was unfair he could throw both ways," he said.
Friends have tried to duplicate Bundy's feat, but it's far more difficult than he makes it appear.
"Some of my friends started trying to train themselves throwing both ways," he said. "None have had success yet. I've been doing it my whole life. It's natural now."
But writing is another story -- he can't do that with his left hand.
"I've tried and failed miserably," he said.
But when it comes to baseball and football -- shazam! -- Bundy truly is Ambidextrous Boy.
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