While we don't always take a stroll down memory lane, I felt it appropriate considering today's media barrage of, "remember 15 years ago..."
Before I continue, do me a favor and don't remind me of this...
To get right to the point, this may be the only figure skating memory I may ever remember. You too, I bet.
Long story (very) short...15 years ago today, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was assaulted with a club by an (at the time) unknown assailant after finishing practice before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.
A) What on Earth were the Figure Skating Championships doing in Detroit?
B) Would this have likely happened in let's say, St. Paul or Minneapolis? Uhhh...NO!
The rest of the story ended up being something out a bad Fox Movie of the Week (ala the "Amy Fisher Story").
The visuals still ring true...too true, in fact.
Ironically - now and then - the moment was mainly met with humor. Over-the-top humor at that. Most syndicated television and radio personalities played the clip today at some point on their shows - Tony Reali on PTI may have taken the cake today during the show's climax - infamously known today simply as "Why? Why? Why?" to their seemingly neverending delight.
Just as easily as people bashed Harding, they poured it on Kerrigan as well. Even before the identity and motivation of the attacker was known.
More than a few of my friends responded to me proposing this article to then with more than a slight chuckle and quick entrance into the "karaoke fun" or crying alongside Kerrigan when they replayed the clip courtesy of YouTube.
Honestly though, I never figured out why people seemed to enjoy watching this young woman cry out in pain. It's not as if she slipped on a banana peel, hired somebody to club her so she'd be given sympathy, or was even an extra on the set of Blades of Glory. Well, scratch that last one. While this wasn't Monica Seles being stabbed on the tennis court, it wasn't Bill Gramatica injuring his ACL celebrating a field goal either.
Was it her high pitch? Was it the fact that a figure skater was attacked after practice? Was it the eventual links to the aforementioned (insert your favorite insult) Tonya Harding and her clan of boozehound redneck hillbilly trailer park ****?
Whatever it was, Kerrigan still became an Olympian - winning a Silver medal only a month later while being ROBBED of a gold medal by a supposed "Russian Swan", who is now known (at least to me) as another infamous DUI mug shot - and has enjoyed as successful a post-figure skating career as seemingly possible. (Okay, there was Skating with Celebrities, but everyone makes one mistake. Especially with FOX involved.)
Yet, I still can't help but wonder why the moment itself - the post attack cries - is so beloved by a majority of American culture? Is it the tears, the crying, her emotions pouring out, or the moment itself? Is it losing an Olympic bid potentially that iced the cake?
Perhaps Kerrigan was seen as another snotty figure skating brat? Perhaps she was a little too smiley for the camera after her routines? Perhaps she should've taken a clubbing to the back of the knee more "like an Olympian"? Perhaps people just didn't like her.
Perhaps we're just a world full of cynics who can't help but laugh to hide any true sympathies or showing of emotion? Perhaps I'm fighting a losing battle? Perhaps people just like to see others at their lowest point: the fall from supposed grace?
Perhaps YOU all could explain it to me???
Or perhaps it's just too a clouded a memory because thoughts of 1994 and sports immediately takes you back to this...
Credit: Time Magazine