Editors note: Actually, this is me Ted, and what you are about to read I have been sitting on for a while and now since it appears that cat is out of the bag, I feel like I owe you all a background on the story of TedFlintKansas. I am sure some of you are going to call me a hypocrite and sure, whatever, but this is my story.
I respect you too much to not properly explain how Ted Flint from Kansas happened. For most of my adult life, I have been Ted Flint from Kansas, long before Facebook or Twitter launched. My group of friends from college and I used to take summer trips, at first to Apple River, Wisconsin, now to the Ozarks. Before social media was the rage, we had alter egos for our adventures. (Mind you, we were 20 to 21 year back then.) There was Alex Shaw, Doug Hastings, Steve Tomms, Cliff Seals, Brock Chesterfield, etc, etc.
This was the time in our youth where we wanted to get away and not worry about what we did on these trips following us home. We just wanted to be kids. So every year we would go on these trips and morph into our side identities and be fun and carefree, before heading back to real life.
Well real life has a funny way of changing and evolving. I got a job working at my father’s small business. Right after I started, I went to Chicago with some friends. While there, some adventures happened and I posted them to Facebook not thinking about how they would look to those who do business with us. While the posts were witty and fun, they probably were not appropriate as someone who was working at a small business in a smaller town. This resulted in me changing the account settings on my Facebook so certain groups of people couldn’t read what I was up to if I was drinking or hanging with friends.
I tell you this because I used to be Heems4Cy on Twitter. It was fun. I was just learning the game, having a blast watching players and reporters tweet. But someone tagged me and an ISU player in a tweet and sent some cuss words at them. My old man saw this and sent me a text saying how my name can’t be on things like this. At the time I had like 12 followers, but it didn’t matter. So, I got angry. I have a temper, and I’m stubborn sometimes (you all know this.) My best friend and closest thing I have to a brother says I am at my peak “me” when I am slightly annoyed. So, frustrated, I changed my handle to @TedFlintKansas and vowed to only tweet when I was drinking.
One thing I need to get off my chest – people assume that just because my name is fake, that my stories are fake. This isn’t true, my life was/still is pretty much a bad sitcom. Any stories I have tweeted about, while might not be happening that exact night did happen at some point in the past before Twitter, to me. Just the names and locations have been changed of the people involved. So, for the first couple of years on Twitter, I maybe had 100 to 200 followers and just kind of was messing around. But a few years ago I met Chris Williams over beers and he tweeted out a photo of our meeting. I gained 800 plus followers in a night. Then Cyclone Bingo happened, I gained another 1000 and since then it has been a steady stream.
The fall before The Tailgate Society started, a random anonymous Hawkeye account started going to the bigger Hawkeye twitter accounts with my personal info. They wanted these bigger Hawkeye accounts to “expose me” but they told him that they wouldn’t do it and told me what he was doing. This was right when I was trying to get the website to launch and I didn’t want to take away from what the other people at TGS were doing, plus, I thought that was the end of it. That winter the random anonymous Hawkeye went about it a different way, and started posting my personal Facebook info on Twitter. He has since deleted those posts.
That was when I knew I needed to tell the people that I had grown to care about on Twitter what was going on. So, I reached out to folks like Tommy Birch. Made time to have drinks with Chris Williams and Brent Blum to fill them in. Those that help me run the Tailgate Society know. We are trying to build something amazing here and I don’t need this overshadowing what we are doing. Everyone has been really supportive. I like to think that’s because I am exactly who I am online in real life. I have made some lifelong friends from this Twitter account and the website. Friends that go on trips together, friends that find time to see each other outside of Cyclone events.
I get the hate for people that don’t have real names on Twitter. I do. Hell I hate @hawk4582 or @Cycloneinsider223. I never really thought of myself as anonymous for a long time because I made sure to put my face on the profile pic. I know this isn’t the same thing. Hell, I was so sloppy in the early days I don’t know how it didn’t come out sooner. I would use the same profile photos on Twitter and on Facebook. I mean people still found out. Everyone who has been at TGS for the long haul knows. Most everyone at WRNL, Cy Fanatic, KXNO and Deadeye BBQ knows, and a large group of Hawkeye Twitter knows. I’ve formed an ideology in the recent years. If you aren’t an “asshole or a dick online” no one will care who you are.
But once the Ted Flint in Kansas account blew up, it dawned on me that Gerrit could never do what Ted could do. I made a vow that I needed to be better, or at least try to. I am only human and I still get angry at little things. I can’t stop that. So I decided to use my Twitter to help raise money and try to make my corner of Twitter more fun. Every fall I have fundraisers. The first year we got over $1400. This year over $2200. I need to find time to do more of this.
So, be it Gerrit from southeast Iowa or Ted Flint from Kansas, I am just a dude who probably drinks too much, has too much fun, takes sports a little too seriously, is too loyal to his friends and will always give someone the benefit of the doubt even when it will probably blow up in his face. This is where I will shock some people. I have two boys, one who is seven and one is four, and an amazing supporting wife of my websites, my podcasts and Twitter. While I am a very public person, they don’t need/want to be.
I think I am tired of hiding, even though anymore I do a terrible job of it. I want to be able to take my boys who already are huge Cyclone fans to football games or basketball games without worrying someone is going “find out” about them. I am not going to stop being Ted Flint, because when I drink I become uncle Ted, that is who I am. I am not going to stop being too emotional on Twitter because that is also who I really am. When I’m out with my friends they call me Ted, that nickname that has been there long before this Twitter account and will be there long after it is dead. I am going to continue to try and run the The Tailgate Society and do podcasts as best as I can, but my life is getting busier and it is getting tougher to spend every weekend playing “drink all the whiskey” while podcasting. So there might be more podcasts like Matinee Baseball and less podcasts like WNTD and Drunk Dialing, And while I know you love the drunk pods more. I wish you would follow my path on the sober pods.
I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t create Ted Flint for it to become what it has. But it’s here now so why not use it for as much good as I can possibly do before it all goes away.
Your Friend Gerrit
aka Ted Flint from Kansas