Mrs. Cooper’s Thanksgiving Throwdown 

By now I’m sure all the remnants of last week’s feast have long since disappeared in the land of leftovers. Friends and family gatherings brought us all a little bit closer as we expressed gratitude for our bounty. The fact that your aunty on yo’ daddy’s side didn’t make that same dry ass pound cake like last year did not go unnoticed. Giving all glory to God. Clap back!

Hours before the plate passin’ began a few dozen cousins decided to stop by Mrs. Cooper’s house for her annual Thanksgiving Throwdown. Nah it ain’t a cooking show on Food Network. But it was hot as hell up in her living room. You know the house. The big blue shiny one that sits on top of the hill. 5045 W. Slauson Avenue. Also known as 24HR Fitness Slaucienega. 

ATC Thanksgiving Throwdown 
If you don’t know by now I’m speaking of one of the most beloved fitness instructors in LA, Claudine Cooper. Minneapolis bred. Hollywood fed. No hype needed. She’s as real as they come. Bankable fitness star? Indeed. Her classes play out like an endless drama you can’t stop watching. Yes, she’s created her own Empire and everyone’s part of the cast.

Last Thursday morning was no different. Except the usual hour of punishing exercises extended into 90 minutes of, “What in the hell is really going on?” Welcome to the throwdown boys and girls. Mrs. Cooper came out swingin’. Ali style. In the midst of the blur she managed to pop in and out of small pockets of space demoing each drill. Throwing in a few modifications while calling out each cousins name. At one point Jeremy breathlessly asked, “How does she remember everybody’s name?” I mumbled something about her being a writer and having super powers. Slight delirium had already set in and we were barely past the warmup. 

ATC Thanksgiving Throwdown 
And that’s pretty much how the next 84 minutes went. Claudine cajoled and scolded. Daring you to stand up or jump on the furniture. This was her house and although you were invited she expected you to earn your keep. Music went up. Sweat flew. Pressed hair became damp. Scarves got tightened. Loose hair mysteriously whipped up into a bun or ponytail. Legs touched. Arms slapped. Folk yelled. Some cried. Mrs. Cooper was unfazed. She continued to press. Until the very end. And I mean the end.

ATC Thanksgiving Throwdown 
When it was all said and done there were nothing but smiles and talk of how much we’d all pretty much earned multiple plates at dinner later. Hugs and high fives were exchanged. Phones came out. Snapchats were updated. Mrs. Cooper of course was the center of everyone’s universe. There’s just something special about the gatherings at her house. The energy is absolutely contagious. She keeps it one hundred. Everyone’s always welcomed. Whether you’re related or not, it’s all love at the big blue shiny house on the hill. We’re all family here. See ya’ next year.








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