2016 brought us many things: A new president, Chewbacca mom, Pokémon GO … and yes, the simple yet addicting game now known as bottle-flipping.
If you’re unfamiliar with the craze, it goes a little something like this: You take an empty plastic water bottle, fill it up with a few inches of water, and toss it into the air — thereby “flipping it” — with the goal of landing it perfectly, standing straight up.
The practice is so addicting that it’s spawned thousands, if not millions, of YouTube videos featuring ecstatic tweens and teens landing “the perfect flip” — many of which are actually quite impressive:
And while plenty of parents have openly griped about having to hear the irritating, repetitive “thud” noise ring out in their homes for hours on end, others have argued that the harmless game is in many ways an improvement over the alternative: begging their tweens to step away from their video games and emerge from their darkened rooms.
But it looks like the bottle-flipping craze may have spread beyond just the tween and teen years — because the Internet has declared a new bottle-flipping champ, and she’s not even in preschool yet.
Meet Sam, a 2-year-old who landed her own impressive bottle flip on the kitchen table last week, and got so adorably excited about it, she’s warming hearts everywhere. Just take a look:
How cute is that?!
Little Sam just so happens to be the daughter of Matt Rogers, the country singer and co-host behind the Hallmark Channel show Home & Family, who originally shared the video of her trick on his personal Facebook page December 23. But at the behest of some friends, he decided to share it on his public Facebook page, too — where it’s since been viewed over 11 million times, racked up 174K likes, and officially secured Sam’s spot in Internet stardom.
“It’s been unbelievable,” says Rogers, who says the video originally received around 1K likes from his usual fanbase, which was normal. “[But] by Tuesday afternoon, within four hours, I had over 20K likes, over 1K shares … I’m like, omg I think this is going viral.”
Like most parents, Rogers says his house has been taken over by the irritating sounds of bottle flipping for months now, thanks to his two older sons, who are 8 and 10. And yes, it typically bugs him to no end. “I’m always yelling at my kids, ‘Quit flipping bottles in my house!'” he admits.
But on Friday, when his sons told him they taught Sam how to flip bottles too, any irritation he may have had over the craze quickly flew out the window. He took out his camera to capture her first few attempts — though he admits that after he put his phone down, she went on to land seven flips in a row — and the rest is viral history.
Watching “Baby Sam” go viral has left Rogers in awe, to say the least. But it’s also warmed his heart for other reasons. Amid all the social media frenzy this week, he says he can’t help but think of how this happy little 27-second video captures the true essence of his daughter — a little girl who was born a fighter.
Two years ago, Sam was born with Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that negatively impacts the lungs, as well as the pancreas, liver, and other major organs. Though treatment options have improved over the years, the life expectancy for most sufferers is, on average, mid-30s. It’s a that the Rogers sadly had plenty of experience with, long before Baby Sam came along: Their older son had been diagnosed with Cystic fibrosis six years prior, and it was part of what led the couple to delay having a third child.
But after two sons, they wanted to try for their baby girl.
During his wife’s pregnancy, Rogers remembers how the doctor broke the news of Sam’s diagnosis to them, giving the couple the option to terminate if they felt it was too much. But to the Rogers’, there was no decision to be made.
“‘Absolutely not,'” Rogers recalls thinking. “‘This baby has an unbelievable God-given destiny, whatever that is, we’re going to walk this thing out.'”
The experience has taught him what he feels is one of his greatest life lessons: “You never want your adversity to speak louder than your baby’s destiny,” he says.
And so, the Rogers welcomed their “miracle baby” with open arms in 2014. She was a ball of fire from the start, Rogers says, soon growing wild, curly red hair to match her vibrant personality. (Despite the fact that no one on either side of the family had red or curly hair, he notes.)
Now a bubbly (and hilarious) 2-year-old, Rogers says his daughter is “crazy smart” and pretty much always camera-ready. “This is just one video, but I have dozens more videos of this girl” he shares. And each one is more entertaining than the next.
No matter what becomes of his toddler’s sudden viral stardom, Rogers feels that the last week has been a heartwarming reminder that Sam’s life has purpose; and that even at 2, she is already bringing all sorts of happiness into the world.
And even if bottle-flipping isn’t her life’s calling, bigger things may just lie in store: Thanks to her dad, Sam now has her own Twitter handle — you can follow her at @therealbabysam for more adorable updates. And her dad hasn’t ruled out a possible YouTube channel for the tot, either.
Watch out, world!