1. What got me into Motion Design?
For me it would most definitely have to be any type of sports graphics or intros that I've seen. Even though sports graphics are typically only composited over live action, I love the way they stand out with all of their depth created through either being produced in a 3D program or utilizing the necessary tricks to make 2D layers feel 3D. When a sports graphic is animated well, it also just blends right into the scene of everything going on.
There's also pieces like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRwQrWHOeao) that fascinate me with their ability to seamlessly combine motion graphic elements over live action footage. They use powerful music to create hype and emotion for the event.
2. Compare the example animations and comment on which is superior and why.
The animation on the left is clearly better. It does a better job timing the interaction with the ball and the environmental items. The ball also has a better sense of weight, especially right away when it stretches on its initial fall, and then its speed changes as it goes up and down the U-shaped object. In addition, one little subtle thing that caught my eye regarding the animation on the left is when the ball is rolling back down the half circle after it has opened up. The little bump over the space to get to the claw that has lowered is a great addition.