Everyday Spartan: Francisco Martinez Sanchez — From Attempted Suicide to Spartan
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Francisco Martinez Sanchez stands about 5 foot 8 inches tall, sports a scruffy short beard that wraps his face perfectly, and has a smile that lights up the room around him. He gives the best bear hugs, and he emanates confidence — a man truly at home in his own skin. But it hasn't always been this way. Fran has a tough past ripe with pain and suffering that almost became his end. Five years ago, his eighteen-month-old son, Daniel, passed away after a rare undiagnosed disease and just weeks later his wife up and left. Broken, hating his existence, and desperate to get rid of the pain, Fran attempted suicide. Luckily, he survived and now lives on to help others.
“I wanted to go with him at all costs,” he acknowledges. “He was my angel.” No parent should have to see their child pass away — the grief and pain can break a person in half. But Fran persevered through those dark times. When asked what makes him an Everyday Spartan, he offers up the most human and humble response: “Not sure. I guess that despite all the voices that shout at me to give up, I just don’t do it. Maybe that’s why?” Thankfully, Fran was kept on this earth, and our Spartan community is that much stronger because of him, as evidenced by not only his attitude but also his actions.
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How Francisco Martinez Sanchez Lives a Spartan Life
Recently, Fran traveled to Pittsfield, VT with the Everyday Spartans and faced rigorous task after rigorous task. In each activity, his attitude of working through struggle and moving through insecurities was ever-present. Whether he was searching for a lost kettlebell in a freezing pond, repelling down a mountain with fellow Spartans, or participating in a group chat session that moved him into a leadership position, Fran’s smile, grit, and can-do mentality remained, despite suffering and carrying the burden of losing his son.
The Everyday Spartans group explored the concept of the inner critic and Fran revealed his own demons without hesitation. “You won’t get [life] constant. Everything is very difficult in this life. But as Joe says, ‘If we get up early and push hard, we can do anything.’”
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The wild world of Spartan entered Fran’s life about four years ago when his coach and friend encouraged him to get involved. He showed Fran that the race is much more than just a muddy rope climb, thorny barbed wire crawl, and unforgiving sandbag carry. Fran learned that the course was a spiritual journey where he could work out his residual pain and suffering. “I managed to focus all those negative feelings and turn them into something positive,” he states proudly with a smile.
How Everyday Spartan taught Francisco Martinez Sanchez how to cope
Being a Spartan has taught Fran not only hope to cope with his grief, but also how to use his experience to help others.
“I have gone from yearning to be with my son to living with intensity and [fostering] love for this wonderful life we have. I have gone from being an introverted person to being someone who expresses his feelings when his heart is asked to do so. And most importantly, I have gone from being selfish to helping those who need it most to overcome their own problems and fears.”
The Spartan world is lucky to have Fran. He is a true demonstration of resiliency, and his everyday persistence to carry his own True North forward is certainly something we could all learn from.