There's no headier cocktail of shame and inspiration than getting your ass handed to you by a disabled athlete -- though perhaps you would've acquitted yourself better if you didn't think of everything in terms of cocktails. Supporting your efforts while still ensuring your uplifting defeat, HTFU.
Headed up by a pro triathlete-turned-IT architect and a martial artist-turned-insurance adjuster, HTFU's a Highland Park-based workout-clothes company founded partly to support physically challenged athletes; the acronym stands for "Harden the F*** Up", an admonition triathletes hurl at competitors better suited to physical challenges involving picking giant fake noses for slime-covered flags. Though they're starting small, the selection's growing every week, with current offerings including slim/regular fit pima tees in white/grey/black with a small, centered logo on the front and "Harden the F Up" in back, and a logo'd pima hoodie in white/blue/black; for the head, there's a ski beanie made with "Cocona" (coconut shell fabric = wicking, UPF protection, odor resistance); a FlexFit heather grey ball cap with hardened buckram backing; and a CoolMax'd technical runner's cap & visor, for a look that says, "My will to win knows no limits...who am I kidding. Christ I miss Gainesville." Future gear will actually be decided by a web poll, with the already settled upon up-comers being a fleece, cycling jersey, and technical runner's tank, because after all, if you're wearing a tank, you must be prepared to flee at a moment's notice.
As for charity: eventually, gear proceeds will contribute, but for now, each HTFU white-gel bracelet sold sends $2 straight to the Challenged Athletes Foundation -- buy one and do some good, even though there's no headier cocktail of shame and inspiration than a man wearing a bracelet.
Published: January 4, 2010 at 4:00am EST
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