There’s a chance you read the recent NYTimes Sunday Styles piece called “CrossFit Flirting: Talk Burpee to Me.” I read it too and rather than inspire me to use my morning work-out site as a potential pick-up spot, I was reminded of the story of the rugby players and the tea cups, or how I earned the nickname Tanya Knockyourballsoff…
When I was in college, my father volunteered to help coach my school’s men’s rugby club. He had “professionally” and briefly coached a rival college team when I was in high school — I think he thought helping the fledgling club at my college would be a good way for us to “bond.” (I hoped this would lead to a hunky piece of arm candy, while he hoped it would mean I would have a team of bouncers keeping other college men off me when I went out on a Friday night… much to my chagrin, my dad’s plan won.)
While my father was up in Riverdale teaching former football players how to tackle like real men, I was in the Varsity Weight Room in Morningside Heights with my female team mates… and the football team.
“Yesterday, I worked in an extra set of push-ups with the 25lb plate,” the girls and I were swapping training stories one afternoon when my father offered to play the part of father and give us a ride back to campus after we came north to watch a rugby match.
“I really like the new plyometeric work-out with the resistance bands the trainer gave us. Think it would be too much to do that with the other lower body work out we’re already doing?”
“Did you see the plan for next week? 150 abs warm-up. I can’t wait!”
My father, who couldn’t help eavesdropping burst out into almost uncontrollable laughter.
“What!? What’s so funny? Get a hold of yourself, you’re going to drive into a lamppost,” I shouted.
“Well, it’s just, 15 minutes ago I was standing in a huddle with my rugby players,” he started. “There was this big 6’4 Greek, a 6’2 body-builder, and your buddy ‘Bruiser,’ and they were swapping tea advice — you know, green tea versus oolong versus herbal, cups versus mugs, ceramic versus cast iron pots. And now, here I am, in a car with my daughter and her girlfriends and they’re talking about kettlebells and how much they can bench press…”
“Dad, might I remind you we’re not just any girls. We’re athletes.”
The following week my father sent me a note to say one of his players was in a bluegrass band and that I should go to his concert.
“He likes tea and plays the guitar. He’s sensitive… but he’s also one of our best guys on the frontline, so he can pick things up and put them down. You can talk to him about how many burpees you can do, Tanya Knockyouballsoff.”
Tanya Knockyourballsoff was, according to Dad, a Russian female shot-putter. My affinity for kettlebells, apparently, inspired this new nickname…
Meanwhile, I put his note about the burpee pick-up line in the “shoulda listened to my father” column, along with his suggestion we open a father-daughter business together — a gourmet hotdog shop called Kat’s Dawgs… maybe next year #FathersKnowBest