My loses over the span of my career have been from his sword digging into my stomach. My eyes widen as I watch the blood drip down my stomach while my knees hit the ground. I can see in his eyes he feels for me as he watches my body drop to the ground in defeat. Every time he digs the sword deeper into my stomach my jaw opens wider and wider while I try so hard to grasp for air. A single tear rolls down Phil's face as his strength starts to bleed out of him, and his emotions get the better of him. He apologizes in a whisper, but there is no need to, for I would do the same to him. Respect is everything. He respects me, and I respect him. He is a true warrior, and so am I. If there was anybody to lose to it would be him. He pulled the sword out from my stomach and wiped the bloody blade off with his singlet. He stood over my body as the crowd roared in celebration. He threw up his hands in victory. He raised his sword high for all to see. Then looked down and nodded his head at my dead body. A warrior's nod, a warrior's respect. He bent down to close my eyelids with his hands, and right when he got close to me, I pulled my small dagger out from my boot and stuck it right into his neck. At that moment we just stared at each other as we both slowly started to stand up, using each other's body like a ladder. He placed his hand on his wound, and then looked at his bloody hand in disbelief. The blood was pouring from his neck, just like my stomach. He then took his sword and drove it into my stomach again. This time, blood came squirting out of my mouth as I bent over. I would have fell face down but he held me up to only twist the blade around even more. As I was laying over his shoulder as if we were hugging, I built up the strength to throw him off of me creating a few feet of space. One hand was grasping tight to our weapons, and the other was resting over our wounds. A moment of silence came over the whole arena as we both stood motionless. And then it happened, we both ran full speed at each other creating a splash of blood that sprayed onto our faces. Our teary eyes and last gasping breaths were inches from each other as a smile appeared over both our faces. We laughed out loud, as we were both just glad to get the blood shed over with. No more words were spoken, just a slow dying laugh that soon ended when both our bodies laid over each other on the dusty ground. Our hearts stopped beating as we laid there dead with chalky hands and USA on our chests.
Thank you Phil for pushing me over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for you. Thank you for being such a great competitor, and even a better friend. I know you and your wife have a little baby girl now, and you have much bigger battles ahead of you than weightlifting. You are my fucken hero brother. You are my role model. You are a family man that I some day hope to be. You are a man I envy in every way possible. Like I said in the video when I retire, we will drink a beer together on the porch and tell old war stories. We will be old men sitting in the audience watching the new young weightlifters battle it out. We will smile as memories race through our heads. Thank you for beating me. Thank you for not punching me when I beat you. Thank you for everything. Salute.
Here is the 160kg snatch that I dedicated to Phil at the USAW Course. Love you brother.
Phil Sabatini two thousand and forever