The music blares around him as he crosses the stage. “It’s just not gonna work,” one student says. Approaching the table, Mike Senatore stops and starts, swinging the water bottle in practice. Suddenly he pauses. As the music falls away, in a motion requiring finesse and perfect concentration, he flips the bottle, which spins through the air twice, and lands perfectly upright. The crowd erupts, and Senatore walks off in triumph.
That description may sound dramatic, but then so was the response that Senatore, a senior at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, received for this performance at his school’s talent show. Video footage of Senatore’s bottle flipping feat has been rapidly spreading across the internet since it was uploaded Tuesday, racking up views on YouTube, Facebook and Reddit.
It has also drawn quite a lot of appreciation from sports media. In addition to the usual outlets that cover viral videos, Deadspin wrote about it, as did Bleacher Report and USA Today’s For The Win blog. “Bottle flipping is the hot new sport and this high school kid is its LeBron James,” said SB Nation.
Flipping a bottle onto a table doesn’t require quite the same athleticism that James displays on the court, but Senatore’s performance has the dramatic tension and timing seen in great moments in sports. It has the feel of watching a gymnast stick a tough landing. It’s about poise and control under pressure.
Really the best part of the video, though, is just how insane this crowd goes watching a kid flip a bottle onto a table. Watch for yourself. Just don’t expect bottle flipping in the Olympics anytime soon.