My name is Ted Flint and I like fighting Iowa Hawkeye fans online. And they like fighting me.
There was a time where that was a large part of my Twitter “brand”. Sure there was Cyclone Bingo, fun drinking adventures which my followers enjoyed, and let’s not forget the #Iknowyoudontcareaboutmyfantasyteam hashtag when it came to fantasy football. But when you heard my name, most people would automatically assume it was because I was in some petty online argument with Hawkeye fans. Hell, random people would tag me in online arguments with Hawkeye fans to help them out, and that was great. This is the story about how that all changed.
The week leading up to the 2015 CyHawk basketball game seemed like a normal hate week. My timeline was full of “who is better Niang or Uthoff?” arguments. Mind you, this was all while Iowa was 12-0 in football. So on top of the normal Iowa/Iowa State basketball talk there was an additional layer to it. Twitter was a wasteland, and I loved it. I was in my comfort zone. That all changed when this tweet popped up on my feed.
I’ll donate $20 to the charity of @TedFlintKansas choice if he can go a month without tweeting about the Hawkeyes or fans. Starting tomorrow
— Dan Welter (@Dan_Welter) December 10, 2015
Mind you this was the 48 hours before the Iowa/Iowa State game. I was supposed to just sit back and not say anything? Come on, no way! Ted Flint was not going to be silenced.
As that tweet gained traction, my mentions were flooded with Hawkeye fans saying they would toss in 20 dollars. One person went so far as to say he would match up to 200 dollars. The wheels started to turn. I mean how hard was 30 days of silence on the topic? I could do 30 days right? So I said fuck it and I agreed. I found a Senior Activity Center in Ottumwa that could use some help, and decided that would be where the money went. Then the rules dropped.
That was when shit got real, and I decided to make a GoFundMe page to help keep track of the donations.
There were some hard days, I’m not going to lie. I mean you saw the Iowa vs Iowa State basketball game, right? To have Iowa State win on a last second shot and to not be able to tweet about it was tough. I made a Google Chat with @MNelson_ISU @JaredSmith24 and @Jared_Leeper to help me through the harder days. That chat, on the night of the Big 10 Championship, was the most fun I’ve had in a chat since MSN Messenger. (Fuschia Comic sans was my font/color combo)
The Rose Bowl was also a tough day, but at that point I could see the finish line. The hardest part was worrying about every single retweet I did. Could it be looked at as an Iowa tweet? I got so worried I just stopped retweeting anything.
Before long it wasn’t just Iowa Fans donating to keep me quiet. It was Iowa State fans throwing in money to help the cause too. After it was all said and done and go we had raised over 1,300 dollars for that Senior Activities Center in Ottumwa.
They even invited me to come see the center this summer.
I took them up on that offer this weekend. As soon as I walked in, you could tell how much time and effort had gone into the new center. Vanessa, the woman who runs the Activities Center, saw me and immediately gave me a hug when I walked in. Let me tell you, Vanessa gives freaking amazing hugs. I was then taken on a tour to show how the donations from all the people on Twitter were used.
They got a new television and stand for the seniors to watch exercise videos and shows. They also purchased decorations for every month of the year to keep the place looking nice. On top of that, they had money left over for monthly birthday celebrations for the seniors. They even had door prizes! I was obviously disqualified from those due to my youthfulness.
As people know I am a crier and I take great pride in not crying as Vanessa thanked me and showed me everything. Man, I’d be lying if I didn’t get a little misty eyed though.
To tie this back to what I was talking about at the beginning, that month was when I decided that it was time to start using Twitter for fun instead of just for arguments. Yes, I slip up and get involved in fights now and again, but I am not perfect, as much as my dogs would beg to differ. Why does Twitter have to be a website where all you do it fight with strangers?
So I decided to make a Twitter bracket. As luck would have it, Ted’s Bracketology was a huge hit! It didn’t matter who won it, what mattered was how much fun the whole tournament was. The photoshops, the begging for endorsements, etc. It was just a blast.
I then decided to pour my heart into a podcast called “Were Not That Drunk”. That podcast led us directly to the website you are reading this article on. To be honest, if it wasn’t for that tweet on that cold December night, I don’t know if there is a Tailgate Society.
I’ll leave you with this. I know you won’t stop fighting online, but maybe leave out the personal insults and try to be clever about it. Because you have no idea what the person on the other end of the message is going through. Let’s make Twitter fun again!