Imagine the gray skies of early fall in the Bronx. Imagine the fluorescent lights of a basement classroom. Imagine yourself waiting for a class about Childhood in Medieval Literature to start.
And then imagine you spend the next three minutes watching a grown man do cannonballs set to the “Waves” instrumental. That is the context in which I watched the Most Important Video of 2016 So Far, “C-Ball Season” from Trey Kirby.
“C-Ball Season” is an incredible display of everyman athleticism. Kirby is the Steph Curry of cannonballs if Steph was also Finals MVP instead of blowing a 3-1 lead. Kirby is simultaneously all of us and better than us.
The cannonball is the second-easiest pool trick behind the pencil. But unlike the pencil, the cannonball isn’t for bitches. There is nothing inherently graceful about it. It is the Ben Zobrist of pool tricks in that it does everything you want – allows for creativity within its structure, can create a large splash, is easily done by kids and geriatrics alike, and can get you paaaaaaaaid by the Cubs (tell me Zobrist doesn’t have a killer C-ball. I dare you). And like how Zobrist turned playing every position into a lucrative career, Kirby has turned the cannonball into an art form worthy of millions of views.
C-Ball Season starts with Kirby’s daughter/cannonballing apprentice counting down to the first jump. It’s your standard affair. Good height, good tuck, but then as he hits the water, “Waves” hits and you know that you are watching history in the form of a cannonball mixtape. FOH “Gangam Style”. FOH “See You Again” (sidebar: we let WIZ KHALIFA and CHARLIE PUTH have the second most watched video on YouTube because Paul Walker died. Correct yourself, America.). This is the only video that deserves to be watched over two billion times, and I will have 1000 by myself.
It’s the fourth cannonball when you know this isn’t your second cousin’s mixtape that will get him a look from a DIII school. No, when Kirby launches from the pool deck like a long jumper, hat and sunglasses still on, you realize this is the And-1 mixtape of cannonball mixtapes.
Kirby is a decidedly grown-ass man doing cannonballs. His beard has clearly been Just For Men’d with the touch of gray Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier awkwardly pitch to you in your bedroom, which makes his childish exuberance all the better. And he uses his experience to vault the cannonball from the everyman to the pinnacle of pool trick achievement.
At around the 1:20 mark, Kirby does a 360, and points directly at the camera. With that point, he is challenging all of us. We can all be a Trey Kirby of a disrespected art form as long as we devote ourselves. You can be the Trey Kirby of making a sandwich, or getting a seat on the subway, or falling asleep in class, or playing the basketball game in Facebook Messenger, or I don’t know, drinking too-hot coffee.
At 1:45, Kirby shouts “Freedom!” from a primal place deep within him as he splashes down like the asteroid in Deep Impact. Be free, Trey Kirby. Be free for all of us.
The last cannonball of the video is by comparison pretty tame. The video stays in slow motion the whole time and he hits the water with a satisfying slow-mo sploosh. But right after, his cannonball apprentice/daughter takes her turn, hitting the water in slow motion as well. It’s like watching a young Prince Fielder take batting practice with Cecil. You can sense the impending greatness, the progeny poised to overtake the parent.
This is such a simple idea but you can’t tear your eyes away. I have watched a man jump into a pool for three minutes multiple times.
While the literal C-Ball Season in the Northeast may be over, it will always live on thanks to Trey Kirby. All hail “C-Ball Season”, more than just a YouTube video; it’s a way of life.