My heart is broken. This morning I woke up and read the news. You’ve passed. You were taken far too early. I sat in bed and cried. I cried for 10 minutes straight. You were my hero. You were my mentor. You had touched my life in so many ways. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye Greg, so I’m writing you now…and hopefully one day I will be able to write this letter by hand and rest it where you have been buried. Forever and always you will be a hero of mine.
I don’t know how to describe the pain that I felt this morning. I felt like a piece of me had been taken away. I remember meeting you back a the Santa Clara Fit Expo with my sister for the first time after having followed you for a couple of years and I was starstruck. I couldn’t believe that I was going to meet a hero of mine. I stood there and waited to talk to you and finally everyone left around you and my sister said, “Go on now is your chance.” Talk about approach anxiety.
But that disappeared once we started talking. I told you about how much you did for me through my years after baseball was taken from me, how much you inspired me to go after my dreams and how much your words meant to me. Every single day I would listen to your speeches in my iPod urging me to push on no matter what – to become a man of integrity and honor – to make a difference in this world through my actions instead of my words.
You opened your heart to me in that moment. It’s a moment that I will never forget. I gave you a letter that day. I’m sure you have received thousands of letters from fans. Maybe, when you are in heaven, you will have a minute to open that letter if you haven’t already. Through my surgery, battles with food, and failing over and over again to achieve what I wanted to in my life, you always had encouraging words…never one thing negative was said.
You taught me to love the gym because it was a place where I could create my dreams through blood, sweat and tears. You taught me to love it because of how strong it would make me mentally. You taught me that the physical aspects were only results of how strong your mind was becoming. You taught me that no dream is too big and that I could do anything that I wanted with my life.
My heart is broken today because I couldn’t wait to show you what I was doing in my life since the last time we talked. I have been working so hard. I have been dreaming again. I have been giving it my best and it has changed my life. I couldn’t wait to see you in September for Mr. Olympia. You were the primary reason I was going. I wanted to take another picture again with you, but as a transformed man who had taken everything you had ever said to me to heart.
I can’t do that now, but writing you tonight is something I know that will reach you in one way or another.
You have changed my life.
So as I sat in my car this morning two weeks out from my first professional fitness shoot…I tried to find some place inside myself to deal with this pain in the face of losing a hero and having the hardest two weeks of work ahead of me. There were three hours of hard intense work that I had to do, and yet I was still looking for a reason to drag myself out of the car and get started.
“Sacrifice today for tomorrows betterment, you are willing to pay those payments with pain, because pain is just a message when you are fixing something that’s insufficient in your life.” – Greg Plitt
Then it came to me. Those encouraging words came to me. Going in there and giving everything I had to todays workout is exactly what you would want me to do. There was no better way to honor how much you meant to me than by giving today, the only day that I have, everything.
“One Hour of pain produces a lifetime of pride.” – Greg Plitt
You will be forever missed. You meant the world to me and I am still trying to find the strength in myself to move forward. The messages you instilled in me will be forever carried on through me…and I will make sure that in my journey, the world will also know who you were to me.
Rest in peace,
– Evan Sanders