June 22, 2014
WHAT IN THE NAME OF ANTONIO ALFONSECA?:
Brazilian family cross extra fingers for sixth World Cup (Reuters, 21 June 2014)
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2014 7:31 AMFifteen-year-old Joao de Assis da Silva sports the number 10 shirt that was worn by Brazil great Pele and the team's current young hope Neymar but he wants to be a goalkeeper."Everyone in Brazil loves football and wants to be a footballer as well when they grow up," he said, kicking a ball around the local basketball court with his two young cousins."Having six fingers has helped me a lot playing football. I can hold the ball more easily, my hands are bigger than other people's so it's easier to reach up to get balls that go over my head," he said, showing off the impressive breadth of his hands.The first recorded member of the family to have six fingers was Joao's great grandmother.Some surviving female family members with the trait have had their sixth toe removed in order to fit into feminine shoes, but the men have kept all six.Far from fearing discrimination, grandmother Silvia Santos da Silva says family members born without the trait feel like the odd ones out."My father always looked upon this as something natural and for us, people with five fingers are the ones that are abnormal. For example, my grandson who has five fingers feels excluded from the family," she laughed.