Xan, who writes the blog XanBoni! sent me a blast from the past this week; an article published Sunday, January 9th, 1994.
Need a history refresher? Tonya Harding had just won U.S. Nationals in Detroit, Kerrigan was sidelined because of a mysterious attacker, and we were in Kerrigan/Kwan limbo as to who would represent the U.S. in Lillehammer (aside from Harding).
The article discusses the drama and intrigue often associated with figure skating and how, to may fans, that is as as interesting (if not more so) than a skaters performance on the ice.
The part that really got me thinking was the part that correctly notes that fans of figure skating have ridiculous access to figure skaters. We greet them at the boards after a performance, hand them gifts, hug them sometimes!
Now in this world of Web 2.0 that access goes even further than it did in 1994. We tweet directly with top level skaters. I just created a Facebook devoted entirely to this blog and figure skating and the skaters have graciously accepted me into their lives...their personal Facebook accounts!
As much as things have changed over the last 15 years they've stayed the same. Local news reporters, columnists, and yes...even Bloggers can get press credentials to cover events such as Nationals, show fundraisers, and meet and greets. The figure skating world has been very generous with granting access...such access is virtually unheard of in other sports.
And as a skater becomes more successful and popular, it means there are more and more people willing to do anything they can to get to them! Think about it...it's kind of scary.
That means, as fans, we have a responsibility. Don't be the crazy skating fan! Don't be the person that tries to grab Katarina Witt off the ice (I had no idea that even happened!), don't abuse the access you've been granted to your favorite skaters. Be appreciative of what they do, cheer for them, champion them, congratulate them, but don't stalk them or go crazy to meet them!
Most importantly, understand, just like you and I, they are just regular people too.