I was 5 years old when I fell in love with Tonya Harding. The year was 1988, and I had just taken up figure skating. My favorite aunt, Julie, had recently moved from my Maryland neighborhood to Portland, Ore., and I was determined to find something to like about the state. Tonya, a scrappy Oregonian underdog, was the obvious choice. I swiftly designated her as my favorite skater.
What began as a casual admiration quickly escalated into to a full-blown stalkerish obsession. While visiting Julie in Portland, I'd insist on trips to various Tonya landmarks, hoping to glean some information about my idol. Once, we went to the rink where Tonya learned to skate. Another time, we drove 40 minutes to Clackamas Mall—the site of her practice sessions—so I could literally kiss the ice she'd touched. When I was a little older my brother and I attempted to make a Tonya documentary, which involved scouring the Clackamas Mall parking lot with a camcorder, looking for her pickup truck. We were eventually kicked out by a mall cop, who caught us snooping in someone's truck bed while looking for signs of sequins.