Tori Valentine has built quite the reputation for herself. Name doesn’t ring a bell? Wait until your team plays VCU, you will get to know her well.
The VCU grad has become the Wicked Bitch of the Net, trolling opposing teams’ fans throughout the year 140 characters at a time through her Twitter handle, @oh_hey_tori. Here’s just a sample of her assault on the Atlantic 10 since the Rams made it their conference home four seasons ago.
On George Mason…
TBH, I’m happy for Mason. Happy they could get a win so they remember what it feels like.
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) February 25, 2016
She’s not a fan of St. Bonaventure, or Olean for that matter…
Hope all the St. Bona fans got safely back to their pit in Olean. Best of luck in the NIT.
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) March 12, 2016
Taking pics of SLU fans following a loss to VCU…
Sad SLU fans. pic.twitter.com/f4NNgYP612
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) March 2, 2014
Make sure to follow her during a VCU v Richmond game…
It’s got to be hard to be a Spiders fan in RVA…
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) March 25, 2015
Showing Davidson some love…
This is what happens when you play a ranked team, Davidson. #justsaying
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) January 8, 2015
Not a UMass fan…
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) February 15, 2013
Previewing a VCU v La Salle matchup…
I feel bad for La Salle.. Kind of. They might get beat harder than should be with the guys coming off from tonight.
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) January 25, 2013
Ram on Ram crime…
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) January 30, 2014
Kicking Duquesne while they’re down…
The most exciting moment for these Duquesne fans seems to be getting in the game cam… #LetsGoVCU
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) January 20, 2013
She even got blocked by GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero…
— Tori Valentine (@oh_hey_tori) September 17, 2016
Valentine’s catalog of online insults is vast and vicious. But to find out more about what’s powering her desire to earn a reputation as the A-10’s biggest internet troll, we sat down with her to talk about the methods to her madness and what drives her to be one of VCU’s loudest voices.
A10Talk: So How did you become a VCU fan?
Valentine: It’s all in the family. My mom and dad both attended VCU and met at a dance in the Franklin Street Gym (1970s). My mom has been a huge basketball fan for as long as I can remember. She was always listening to the games on the radio but it wasn’t until VCU beat Duke that my dad really started to become a fan as well. I started attending VCU in 2009 and would drag people to the basketball games. I always wanted to get there hours before the doors opened to get a good seat. So, being a student and fan during the Final Four year was icing on the cake and as you can tell, March 2011 is when I started using Twitter.
A10Talk: How would you describe your personality outside of sports?
Valentine: In my work and personal life, I’m friendly and approachable. I’ll talk to anyone about anything. People that know me would say I’m happy, bubbly and always smiling.
A10Talk: Let’s talk about your Twitter life. How would you say you developed your social media “style”?
Valentine: It developed as I’ve grown up – if that makes any sense. In the early days, they were more like Facebook status updates or AIM Away Messages. Now, they’re thoughts, jokes, puns and argumentative responses. I’ve watched what others have tweeted and seen what gets good responses and my tweets shadow those styles now, just with my own original content.
A10Talk: How about the hoops chat in particular. What has been the response from opposing fans to how hard you go on Twitter?
Valentine: For the most part, they respond to me like they respond to everyone else. Sometimes, people are surprised. Like they assume I don’t look like the type that can take their quip and throw one right back to them. A few times, I’ve gotten called “hun” and have been told that the boys are talking and I should stay out of it but it just makes me more motivated to kill their confidence. In hoops chat, I live by the rule that we can argue about teams and players and titles and all that but I will never rag on you personally, until you do it first, then you give me free reign to find anything I want on your profile and destroy you with it.
A lot of people, when they run out of things to say, turn to insults. I hate that. And it seems conceited, but what can you rag on me with? I use that to my advantage. If someone is getting joked about on the TL and I see it, I want to step in and help. By help, I mean defend them or call the other person out for being hypocritical.
I don’t always want to it turn out that way, but it helps if the shit talking goes that way.
A10Talk: Is there any particular back-and-forth that sticks out to you as the most heated Twitter exchange you had with an opposing team’s fan/fans and if so could you describe roughly how that went?
Valentine: Oh yeah. Oregon State.
That particular exchange was heated from the start because the stakes were high. VCU had never played them before, OSU was a 7th seed and VCU was the underdog 10 seed, and their fans started the VCU trash talk first with a lot of tweets about Shaka since he’d just left. It got my blood boiling. So, I rag on their mascot, how they hadn’t been to the tournament since 1990 and the one account that lead a lot of the basketball talk (a similar version of Pav) got wind of me and started retweeting and quoting my stuff. Then one of their Photoshop accounts took my photos and pasted OSU stuff all over me and even my dad. I laughed it off as impressive and gave them kudos for a reactive fan base. I wasn’t used to that. But I didn’t let up. I argued with them tooth and nail. And some of Ram Nation got in on it too, which I love.
They were just so cocky and I understand that. It’s how I felt about VCU. But I also knew we could beat them. So, that’s why I kept going. I remember one of the guys (all of those tweets have been deleted) wanted to comment on my appearance and a few other OSU accounts followed suit. So I did a quick search through his media and found a picture of him with a group of girls and reposted it saying he was deep in the friend zone and how I pitied him for it. Apparently, that offended him enough to block me and delete all the tweets.
He wasn’t the only one. There were many fans of OSU who said things and posted things they later deleted after they lost. Ever since then, I’ve called them Soregon State because it seems fitting.
A few accounts did tweet back at us after the game, wishing the team luck – that was nice. Although, one of the still salty accounts later reposted images of the memes they created about us for a “One Shining Moment” tribute. It made me LOL.
A10Talk: Is there an A-10 fanbase you find yourself in the most Twitter battles with and if so, who?
Valentine: Hmmm. I’ll say Richmond, solely because that’s kind of where the trash talk started. I remember going in on ur one season and those tweets got a lot of responses. I did end up deleting a few of them since I wanted to keep my account public while I was job hunting.
However, I wouldn’t call these “battles” because their fan base is so lethargic.
I have been battling with St. Bonaventure fans lately. But they are very crude. It’s hard to hold a decent argument with them when every other tweet sounds like they’re just drunk.
A10Talk: Do you know how many times you’ve been blocked by people on Twitter and how many roughly have you had to block yourself?
Valentine: I haven’t found a legit way to find out how many accounts block me but I’m sure it’s a substantial number. I’d say I’ve had to block about 50 accounts over the course of having my twitter account.
A10Talk: Which fanbase would you say in your experience has responded to you “the best”? Define the best however you like.
Valentine: I enjoy scrapping with GMU. They’re the best out of the bunch because they don’t ultimately hit back with a comment about Shaka. They value every win they get and if you come for them, you really can’t deny that they beat us badly last year. Also, the Final Four aspect too. We share something special with them. Along with the best band.
A10Talk: Has anyone ever seriously threatened you online via a sports trash talk back-and-forth?
Valentine: Not one that I’ve ever taken seriously. I vaguely remember some tweets from St. Bonaventure students when VCU went to the Reilly Center in 2015 but none that were directed strictly at me.
A10Talk: What is something you want people on Twitter, particularly from other teams, to know about you other than what they may experience through what they may think is your, shall we say…”game day personality”?
Valentine: I pretty much put everything out there that I want to. How passionate I am about VCU basketball is how I am about a lot of things. It’s not all basketball all the time. I do have a pretty cool life. I’ve pretty much heard everything before, so it’s tough to come back with an original response and impress me. Also, don’t be sexist – the “hun”talk is getting annoying and you will be called out. And, lastly, I know what I’m getting myself into by calling people out and trash talking. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have confidence in my team and I’m not out there because I’m angry – quite the opposite.