By John Royal
Following athletes on Twitter can be boring. Most of the stuff they tweet is dull because they’re afraid of offending any followers or making their coaches and/or teammates angry. Others use it primarily as a medium to promote themselves and whatever product their agent has just set them up with. And most have no personality.
So say hello to Matt Kassian, forward and enforcer for the Houston Aeros. Kassian doesn’t get as much ice time as the flashy forwards. Primarily because he’s not a flashy player. He’s not the best of skaters, nor the most graceful of players — though those who have watched him play the past several years have noted his huge improvement as a player. What he is is an enforcer, and his job is to protect his teammates. He fights a lot, and throws his body around, trying to aggravate the opposition.
He’s also one of the nicest people you could meet. He’s got a great sense of humor. And he’s just one of those guys you want to hang around with before and after games. He’s also becoming a bit of a Twitter sensation among hockey fans.
Kassian’s relatively new to Twitter, not jumping on the bandwagon until the playoffs last season. He’s quickly taken to this social media form, sharing insight into hockey and his training methods. But that’s not what sets Kassian apart from other athletes. What sets him apart is that he’s willing to share his personality for all of his followers.
The Kassian tweets generally fall within five categories: athlete life, movie reviews, a mock war between toy roosters and garden gnomes, his random aspiration list and a category he created known as the #shinslist.
“I’m just really carefree about it,” Kassian says of his tweets. “Obviously I try not to say anything that will get me in trouble. Everything you still see has a filter on it that goes through my head, and through my mouth, and into the keyboard. I still take time to think about stuff and make sure that I’m not saying anything offensive, or that offensive anyway.”
|Dude, just follow me on Twitter and I’ll stop hitting you.|
The big hit of Kassian’s twitter feed is the #shinslist, which deals with those things that aggravate people the world over. While Kassian’s not shy about stating those things he believes should be added the list, the fun comes from those that people send to him and he retweets. They’re always funny, sometimes thought-provoking and really capture some of the frustrations of life. And listening to Kassian’s retelling of how he came up with the idea, there’s a touch of Monty Python with the colonel walking into a skit and ordering a stop because things are just too silly.
“During the daytime, I was flipping through the TV,” Kassian says. “I think it was The View, might have been, or one of those kinds of trash TV shows. And I couldn’t believe how dumb these people that were talking were. The idiocy, some of the ludicrous things they were saying. Just absolutely bizarre. And I’m just like, ‘You know what? These people would really benefit from a kick to the shins.’ Like they just say something that really doesn’t make sense, just ludicrous, and someone would walk up and just — nothing to break their legs or anything, but a good hard tap to the shins just to kind of smarten them up a little bit.”
The rooster/garden gnome war arose from the fear that Kassian’s mother has of gnomes and the love she has of toy roosters that she has stashed throughout her kitchen and house. And knowing this, Kassian and his brothers decided to have a little fun. They stash the gnomes at various places around the house, and they would do things to the roosters.
“And then there was retaliation,” he said. “She started doing things back to the gnomes. They got taken hostage once or twice, like tied up in a circle with nerf guns pointed at their heads by the roosters. The gnomes killed one of the roosters.”
Then there’s Matt Kassian, movie critic. Kassian’s reviews are short, and to the point — befitting Twitter. And no matter the movie, Kassian’s critique ends with calling the movie a romantic comedy because, as he says, aren’t all movies about romance?
“They’re all about love, whether it’s loving a girl or loving a gun,” he says. “Loving money or loving cars. They’re all romantic comedies, one way or the other.”
Roger Ebert he’s not. Still, Kassian’s an awful lot of fun to follow on Twitter.