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Cannonball Plunge by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Cannonball Plunge

       Brian Utley defends his Trident Splash National Cannonball championship August 13th in Toronto, Canada.
    But we might as well say “World Championship of Cannonball” because no other country holds one. Let me repeat, there is a cannonball championship and it’s held in that swimming hotbed called… Canada. Trident is looking for the “Canuck with the best tuck.” Brian Utley, 55, from Calgary, Alberta and 6’4, 383 pounds, says if you plan to beat him you best be strapping on some weight, eh?   

    Plus you better be ready for some pain. “The more the pain, the better the jump,” says Utley, known as the Hurtin’ Albertan. “It hurts,” Utley grits on “There is no cushion. After a few jumps, my butt and my legs are black and blue.”

    Utley and the others jump from a 5 meter platform (17’) and the winner takes home
$ 2000 plus a year’s supply of Trident gum. Nobody says how a year’s supply is measured but we’re guessing it probably goes farther with some people than with Utley.

    Here’s the other thing we ask: How much freaking water do they have in those Canadian pools? We know it’s Canada so the water is pretty dry but we wonder that after a bunch of jumps by these hulking cannonballers will the city of Toronto declare a water shortage? I only ask because when we had a pool and used to have cannonball and bellyflop contests, our neighbor’s dog would get soaked and it didn’t take long before we had to hook up the fire hose, for a refill. Even then, our pool was 12’ deep with everyone jumping from a low springboard, not a 17’ platform.
    Most of Brian’s competitors are half his age, so more applause for us old guys. Cannonballers are judged on style, flair, size of splash and overall impression. This is mostly the same criteria as when Utley won in 1981 and 1985 and afterwards retiring. That is, until 2006 when Utley came out of retirement. They are calling Utley the Brett Favre of competitive cannonballing. Utley begs to differ, saying “I’ve never taken it too seriously.”  Okay, so it’s not likely Utley will be making a movie with Cameron Diaz or Ben Stiller any time soon. “I haven’t been offered any parts where well-tucked cannonballs were essential to the plot, but, I’m hoping.”
Cannonball Plunge by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
    We’re thinking about it. What if a baby is trapped on the bottom of the pool? And there’s not time for the conventional dive down, unhook the baby and pull him the surface? Hmmm? Might not then, if an expert cannonballer were in the vicinity, could he… ummm… be called into action? This could be a thrilling part of the movie, right? For there is not only the prospect that a big fat guy might possibly be the hero but there’s also the nagging fear that when he jumps off the high board to up splash the baby, he might also go so far down into the pool to also crush the infant.  Therein lies the conflict, which, as everyone can see, makes for great movies.

    We’re pulling for the old man to repeat. We’re pulling for him to get on Kimmel or Letterman. And we also want to see him on the big screen, with or without our script. And if they hook up a baby to a pool bottom drain, I expect it to not be a real baby. Use a computer generation, or a doll, or if necessary, a midget. Midgets know what to do when they see a giant   cannonballer coming at them from above. At least, that’s what I’ve always heard. 

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