Saturday, 2 April 2011

Usenet: Wimbledon, Ballboys & Uniforms

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea. Massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it." — Gene Spafford, 1992

Steve Sedlar began posting to Usenet groups in the summer of 1994. Usenet is the worldwide discussion forum that began life as a Duke University project in 1979 and was the predecessor to what we now know as Google Groups. It covers a veritable gamut of interests; from antiques to zoology.

From reading back through Steve's earlier postings we see that his initial curiosity was the Wimbledon tennis championships hosted here in the UK, and in particular, the ball boys and girls.

Read more here
Read more here.
Read more here

It was a curiosity that breached the borders of obsession, as these observers satirically remarked in response to Steve's annual quest to absorb all things Wimbledon:

>> >Is anyone here a ballboy or ballgirl at Wimbledon this year? (Or have you
>> >ever been)? Please email me! Thanks!!!!
>> :)

>> The first time I *ever* read this newsgroup... about a year ago to the
>> day, I reckon... in fact.. I can check my outbox... uhm...
>>, on the 24th June last year!! Tell me its not you
>> again ;P

>So this is a guy who gets all his pleasure out of two weeks of every year?
It's worse than that. Many years ago, at the birth of the annual Wimbledon tennis championship, something more evil, more sinister than a mere ball game could ever be was awoken. Its name - Steve. The daemon Steve would emerge, every year, to devour any hapless ballboy or ballgirl that might wander into his lair. No trace of these children was ever to be found, and over the years many families were left alone and distraught, thanks to this evil menace.
To this day, Steve emerges at Wimbledon-time to gobble up the unlucky and feast upon the weary. However, times have changed, and the daemon no longer uses the scent of innocence and the warmth of human blood to find his victims. No, now the dark caves and damp caverns that once made up his domain have been replaced by Internet newsgroups, which he spams mercilessly in order to pick his prey and quench his thirst for life. So, remember; if you go to Wimbledon and a man with pointier-than-usual teeth and a wicked gleam in his eye asks you to fetch his balls, that's Steve. Stay well clear of him, for this encounter may be your last.
And above all .. don't have nightmares. 

Steve Sedlar was more than happy to tell the world about his curiosity.

I heard they were going to change the uniforms of the ballboys and ballgirls at Wimbledon this year. I also heard they were going to add something new to it, but seeing as they already added baseball caps (because of the sun and heat a few years ago), what else could they possibly add? As you can tell, I am always curious about these things! So if anyone has seen the new uniforms (I can't get HBO) and can fill me (and everyone else in the world wondering this) in on what they look like, please do!!!! 
Steve Sedlar 6/26/96

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