How Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman survived a 24-hour bottle-flipping fundraiser for Australia

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman in a portrait taken in July 2019 at Woody Hayes Athletic Center [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

After a couple of hours, Drue Chrisman’s right shoulder ached.

As he reached the halfway point of his 24-hour bottle-flipping marathon, the Ohio State punter’s eyelids felt like weights.

But Chrisman had found a cause to marry with his hobby, and he was determined to finish. Chrisman has long been known for his uncanny skill of flipping bottles of water and having them land upright.

From 4:30 p.m. Sunday until the same time Monday, he flipped bottles at his family’s home in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He wanted to set a world record for bottle flips in 24 hours. Even more, he wanted to do it for a good cause.

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Chrisman settled on which one while in the shower after a workout Saturday. He’d followed the news about the bushfires raging in Australia that has killed as many as one billion animals. So he set up a YouTube livestream with a link to give to the World Wildlife Fund. He estimates that about $15,000 was donated.

“I’ve built up like a cult following of this bottle-flipping talent I have, and the end goal has always been to do something with it rather than just have this strange talent that nobody does anymore,” said Chrisman, an Ohio State graduate student.

He drew inspiration from David Goggins, a military veteran turned motivational speaker and author who competes in ultramarathons and similar high-endurance competitions to raise money for charity. In 2013, Goggins broke the world record for pull-ups in a 24-hour period with 4,030.

“That kind of sparked me into thinking, ‘What can I do similar to that?’” Chrisman said.

Bottle flipping isn’t as grueling, but the same repetitive motion of tossing 16.9-ounce bottles takes a toll.

“I didn’t know what I was going to experience so I brought receivers’ gloves in case my fingers started to blister,” he said. “But it was my shoulders that were taking the most damage.”

After a while, he decided to experiment with his left hand. He was successful enough that he was able to alternate hands the rest of the way.

Then came the sheer exhaustion from sleep deprivation. He had gotten up at 8 a.m. Sunday and had trouble keeping his eyes open — sometimes he just closed them — during the long hours after midnight.

“My biggest struggle after that was just the heaviness of the eyelids,” he said.

But Chrisman wasn’t alone. His dad, Travis, stayed with him for 21 of the 24 hours, using a pitch-counter to keep track of the 30,000 or so flips his son made on their long wooden table, about one every four seconds. About 22,000 were successful flips.

His fiancée, Avery Eliason, and her father, Steve, who are the Chrismans’ neighbors, also kept him company. They kept the mood light by playing guitar and singing about saving koala bears.

Chrisman also took inspiration from those following the YouTube livestream. He said had at least 20-30 viewers consistently, which spiked, along with donations, to about 160 at the end.

Chrisman is unsure about the exact amount that was raised. Because of NCAA compliance concerns, he couldn’t set up a GoFundMe account for the fundraiser. He asked those donating to leave a message on the YouTube page. It’s likely that some pledged but didn’t donate and that some donated anonymously.

As for whether Chrisman set a record, that’s also a bit uncertain, mainly because in his Google search he couldn’t find anyone who’d attempted to bottle-flip for 24 hours.

When the clock hit 4:30 p.m. Monday, Chrisman had time for only a two-hour nap. Avery drove him back to Columbus. He slept in the car but had to awaken for his weight-lifting session at 7 a.m.

His teammates were impressed with his bottle-flipping marathon, as was strength coach Mickey Marotti. Not that Marotti cut him any slack because of his lack of sleep.

“No mercy,” Chrisman said with a chuckle.

But Chrisman had no regrets about his bottle-flipping marathon.

“I just want to give a shout-out to everybody that tuned in and donated,” he said. “Without them, it would have just been some college-age kid flipping a bottle for 24 hours.

“So props to everybody that found it in their heart to really make it special not only for myself but everybody impacted by this unfortunate natural disaster over there in Australia.”


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