A rare serious moment from me but on an important topic I feel. I remember reading an article once about how so much of our personality is hidden. Like an iceberg, people can see a small portion of who we are. They see our behaviours but they don't see our feelings, our values and our beliefs because all of that is beneath the surface.
I wanted to take a moment just to clarify a few things. For me, even more of "InplayMan" lies below the surface than in real life. My identity as a whole is invisible and all the people on Twitter see is an account who tips bets. I know over time a few of you have probably learned more than just that one thing; that I'm a family man, that I play football, that all I really want to do is help people etc, but still, the only part of me which is visible to the vast majority is a tipster account who generally takes the piss out of people.
This week I received an incredible message from a follower who had been suffering with mental health problems. With nobody to talk to he felt so down that he tried to take his own life only last week. Gaz has been following me for some time and agreed that I could share his story as luckily for him, his family and all of us, he is still with us and I'm so thankful for that. He told me though that the jokes, banter and fun alongside my bets has kept him in touch with normal life and reminded him that things are good and there is joy in life. For me, this was an incredibly touching message which really made me think about life and I'm so thankful that he could share this with me. It's so easy for me to forget that I play a regular part in some peoples' days and that a regular interaction with a familiar person can mean so much. So yea, I have a laugh and if you say something stupid or cash out a bet like an idiot I will absolutely rip you to shreds in front of a Twitter crowd, but this is me playing a character, having a laugh and making other people smile. Tomorrow, someone else will do something stupid and you can join us and laugh at them instead, but together at least we're all doing our best to be happy in a world which sometimes hurts and for some can feel like too much to bear.
I'm currently talking to Gaz on a daily basis, just to see how he's doing and share a few ideas and laughs. We're talking about setting up some kind of support channel too. We all share a common interest in having a little bet and if that common ground can help to support people through dark times then I'm all for it. Betting has had a bad rep in recent years but for me it's a hobby through which I have met some incredible people like Gaz and I honestly believe that with the right controls in place, it can give people a common interest and create a community. While we sort all of that out though, he's kindly offered that anyone who is going through what he's been through can message him any time just for a chat. His Twitter handle is @gaz_tee or Instagram is @gazteee if you want to do that and you need a bit of support. Honestly, he's an incredible bloke for even offering this given that only a week ago he was in the darkest of places.
Listen, I know I take the piss and yes, sometimes I may push the boundaries. But my intention is never to make you as an individual feel bad. My intention is to make people laugh, make people smile. So much of society is serious these days, taking offence at every little tiny thing that comes our way. We've forgotten to laugh at ourselves and laugh at each other while understanding that it's not meant in an offensive way, we're just all trying to be happy.
If you ever feel that me retweeting you for a laugh has offended you, message me, straight away and I'll take it back. If you ever feel like you've got nobody to talk to, message me, and I'll do my best to reply as soon as I possibly can. We need each other and we need to talk and if you decide that you'd rather talk to me then I won't judge, or take the piss. All I want us to do is have a laugh and if that has ever caused offence to any of you then I sincerely apologise.
Keep your chin up folks. Always here if you need me!