Bullying in Skating
Today, I wanted to shift gears a bit and talk about something that I’ve been hesitant to talk about. With all the focus on #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and other social justice movements, I thought it was an important topic to bring up. What is it? Bullying. Specifically, bullying in the skating community.
While many outsiders see this sport as glitz and glamour, there is an uglier side to the sport that one may not see often. Unfortunately, bullying occurs at the rink for all ages – including adults.
Although most adult skaters should know better, I’ve witnessed emotional bullying at competitions and during practice sessions. And yes, this is coming from adults.
Several years ago, at an unnamed competition, I was on practice ice with many other skaters. One skater was setting up for an element, looked directly at me, and purposely plowed straight into me (I was minding my own business and trying to stay out of people’s way – I saw her coming towards me and moved). After this person ran me over, she had the nerve to say, “Wow! You got me good, didn’t you?” The accident was her fault – this person’s spouse was in the stands and yelled at them for running into me. I fell down hard and started bleeding. This skater never apologized and acted like I was in her way (I wasn’t – several others who were watching my practice confirmed this).
A few minutes later, the skater did it again. This time, they narrowly missed me but was just close enough to make it an unsafe situation. My friends in the stands were fuming. If memory serves me correct, they brushed by me a third time.
Why did this skater do this? I had never spoken a word to them, yet something caused them to want to run me over multiple times. Bullying is never OK. If I am doing something wrong, like getting in someone’s way, I’d prefer that they tell me so that I can correct my behavior. I don’t quite understand why people – particularly adults – continue to bully others.
Bullying is NOT OK. If you have been bullied, either emotionally or physically, please report it. This type of behavior is NOT condoned in our sport and should not be encouraged in our society.
As for the skater? Well, let’s just say that karma kicked in. When I competed against this person, they self-imploded and skated pretty badly. I placed higher than this person, and that was the best “revenge.”
Have you witnessed bullying at your rink or elsewhere? If so, what did you do about it?