Bottle Flipping: Game, sport, or classroom disruption?

Garrett Reese

by Christian Nolan and Matthew Gelhard

In 2016, bottle flipping became an endless competition, holding its own as a hobby in everyday life. It still continues to this day. For those who don’t know what it is, bottle flipping occurs when you take a water bottle, drink the water until there’s about 1/3 of water left, and begin flipping the bottle.

The object is to flip the bottle 360 degrees so it lands sitting up. Bottle flippers continue to do it as many times in a row as they can. Some “professionals,” try to flip water bottles on top of basketball hoops, over houses, and even on top of other water bottles. They experiment with sizes of the bottles and with motion. For example, they could flip a water bottle onto a skateboard.

Why is this so popular? In May 2016, Mike Senatore, a student at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, uploaded a bottle flipping video. Senatore introduced the idea of bottle flipping while doing it in a school talent show. Over six million people have seen the video. The idea of bottle flipping spread like wildfire, and bottle flipping was the next big thing.

Senatore said in an interview, “It’s incredible. Spain, Germany, people in Australia, people from all around the world are doing it. It’s just incredible.”

One “professional,” Garrett Reese (Class of 2019), has been bottle flipping ever since he first saw the video on social media, and continues to do it today.

Reese said, “Bottle flipping is something I do for entertainment, whether I’m bored or with friends. I love seeing people’s reactions when I show them a video of the ‘flip’ or do it for them in person. After multiple failed attempts, once you’ve finally landed the flip there’s no better feeling of accomplishment.”

Bottle flipping is popular because anyone, anywhere can do it. Everyone has access to a water bottle. It’s mindless. It’s not a tricky activity. It’s a challenge that people try to prove it’s probable more than impossible. Also, after they get the flipping down, they move onto flipping more difficult objects and more extreme heights. In addition to the idea of it, bottle flipping keeps many people occupied and out of the house.

Around the world, people have been taking water bottle flipping to the extreme, and some have achieved unofficial world record flips. A group of men were able to flip a bottle that can hold 130 liters off a bridge and landed it. A young boy has also posted on YouTube a video of flipping a bottle 1085 consecutive times.

People (mostly teachers and parents) who witness this media phenomenon oppose of the idea because of it’s unproductivity. The sound it makes when it hits the surface can be obnoxious and disruptive. It’s distracting to the one who is attempting to flip the bottle and the other observers around it.

Assistant Principal Andrew McWilliams said, “Kids attempting to flip the bottle isn’t the end of the world, but it gets frustrating when it becomes a mess or a distraction.”

As time went on people became “creative” about the game of bottle flipping. Instead of just flipping the bottle, it’s a contest to see who messes up first. In the “bottle flipping game” people take turns trying to flip the bottle. As soon as the bottle is flipped to its base, the next person is up. That person has to flip the bottle back onto its base, but if the competitor fails to do so, he suffers a penalty.

McWilliams continued, “Dropping water bottles from certain heights on kids fingers is just, well, stupid.”

It’s funny to think, a water bottle, something people use everyday, can turn into a worldwide competition/disruption. Bottle flipping is dying out, but the idea will never be forgotten.