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Be The Best.

Silver and Gold have I won.

Another year, another provincial championship has been played.  The Midget A1 box lacrosse players are the best 15 and 16 year old teams in the province playing for this year’s bragging rights.  Some smaller communities and lacrosse associations have some EXCELLENT players, but not an entire team that can compete fairly at the A1 level.  Langley is a relatively small association but fields an A1 team and is usually in a tough fight to get to the provincial championships and compete for a medal of any colour. (Last year Chris and the A1 Midgets won the Bronze medal which was a major accomplishment.  You can see that winning team including Chris in this photo.)

What the A1’s from Langley did this week is another step forward for these young men, their coaches and the Langley association.  A silver medal is the highest ever achieved at this level of lacrosse for a Langley team. Congrats boys!!

Coquitlam also needs recognition as they lost their first three games in the round robin and then got on an unstoppable roll and were certainly the better team today in the gold medal game against Langley.

Langley’s coach, Dave Wilfong, asked me to say a few words to the guys after the game today.  Dave really cares for the boys he coaches.  He sort of treats each one like an additional son.  He did this for Chris too when Chris was privileged enough to have Dave as his coach last season.  What I told the boys was that Be The Best didn’t always mean winning.  Chris and I had many conversations about this fact when he was upset with Bronze medals or anything less than total domination at a game or tournament.  What Be The Best is really all about is learning.  Learning what to do better.  Learning what to improve.  Picking up some more tools for your journey.

As Dave so aptly stated today, lacrosse is a part of the journey, but not the whole journey.  The bigger picture is career, relationships and community.  Listen to your Coach guys…he knows a thing or two!!

PS  Dave and the team were incredibly gracious to our family today and gave us a silver medal in Chris’ honour as they had played the season in his memory.  That was completely unexpected and humbly and graciously received and will be treasured forever.

PPS You see the pic below of a Coquitlam player’s helmet thrown on the floor as the team rushed to congratulate each other on the big win.  You see the CF 2 sticker on the helmet?  Cool.  A bunch of the players were wearing them.  I loved it.  Thanks guys.  A big congrats for an amazing comeback by a team that no one can ever count out of anything!

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Be The Best.

Langley Advances to Gold Medal Game!

Langley battles Richmond during a Saturday afternoon tilt.

I love seeing the CF 2 stickers on the helmets.

I love seeing the Be The Best patches on the jerseys.

More than anything, I love seeing guys play as a TEAM.

That was clearly evident today as Langley beat Richmond and then beat a Vancouver Island team to claim a berth into the Gold/Silver showdown tomorrow (Sunday, July 18, 2010).

Langley didn’t start strong at this tournie, but they’ve turned it up a notch or two.  The opponent will be Coquitlam who are always a strong team and an association that has incredible depth and talent.  Should be a great match up.

Good luck to both teams!

Win or lose, my hope is that these experiences will help develop these young athletes into young men ready to change the world!

A little Saturday evening 'get together' on the floor.
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Be The Best.

Quilt Story 2

You can see a whole movie franchise here…Quilt Story 5, The Stitcher Returns…but I digress.

You see that ‘C’ square in the quilt?  That’s a story all of its own.  Brett Dobray, one of Chris’ Langley teammates and buds, wanted to bring something to the funeral and leave for Chris.  He had his Grandma make this square with the ‘C’ for Captain and the stars.  This was an amazing thought from a young man and one that will be treasured forever.  It wasn’t planned, but I don’t think it was a fluke at all that this square ended up right beside the Iroquois Lacrosse square.  Along with Josh Beasley, Ryley Brown, Ryan Gladiuk and Will VandenHooven, Brett and Chris were all Langley boys who played together on the Bantam Team BC Box team that won a bronze medal in Ontario in 2007.  The Iroquois were amazing to watch at the tournament and many of the boys exchanged shirts and helmets to bring home a memory. Brett, I want you to know how much Chris loved playing with you.  It came down to a very basic reason.  You have a passion for the game and you want to win.

As Langley’s Midget A1 Box team and teams from around the province prepare for weekend battle at the Provincials this Saturday and Sunday, I think it’s important to think about Be The Best.  It’s really about 1+1=3.  Personally, leave nothing on the floor.  That means 110% every shift.  Then do something for a teammate…an extra hit, an extra effort on a pass, a full sprint to the bench on a line change.  It’s those little things that you do yourself (that’s 1) + what you do for others (that’s 1) that when added up make the magical 3.  Think about it.  That’s what Be The Best is all about.

Young men like Brett get it.  Leadership is not always the loudest guy in the room, it’s the loudest person through his or her actions.

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Be The Best.

7 days to write a post…about a quilt.

But it’s not just any quilt.

When one of my amazing staff members in Marketing and Communications at BCIT asked a bold question she was really putting herself out there.  She did not know how Ingrid and I would feel about creating a quilt from Chris’ clothes, but with most things involving Be The Best, she took the risk.  It didn’t take long for Ingrid and I to say that we loved the idea and we were absolutely humbled by Kim’s generosity and that of her friends and family who supported her through this incredible project.

What you are about to see is intense.  It’s beautiful.  It’s sad.  It’s incredible.  It’s powerful.  These pictures are worth a billion words. Actually…not a chance.  They are  simply priceless.  You can also read/see the quilt from Kim’s perspective on her blog. As far as we’re concerned she’s an amazing artist, a gifted quilter and someone who has given us a most incredible gift.  Thank you Kim from the bottom of our hearts.

Look closely at the edge (I’m sure it has a technical name – piping or something…I don’t want to use the real name in case you think I actually know anything about quilts…).  You are seeing Chris’ favourite jacket…that stupid black and white checkered thing he wore all the time! (Yes, I secretly liked it…)

I love this quilt.  We love this quilt.

I’ve tried to write about it for 7 days, but I couldn’t take the photos or make the movie or type the words.  Tonight I can and that’s the way it goes.  This won’t be the last post about this quilt, because each square contains a story. Who knew?  This may become a quilting blog…!  LACROSSE PLAYERS….don’t worry…there will be plenty of lacrosse talk this weekend as we check out the Provincial Championships in Mission.

For now, understand that one side of the quilt is all of Chris’ favourite shirts including Langley Thunder and Team BC.  The other side is his BMS jerseys and the jerseys of his BMS teammates that brought them to the funeral as a show of respect.

You see?  Priceless.  And I simply can’t type anymore right now.  Enjoy the beauty, because as much as it’s sad, it’s wonderful, beautiful, incredible.

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Be The Best.

Night skies

I took in the sunset once again tonight. After the sun completed its duty for the day, I took in the silver crescent moon and the stars that were beginning their night shift.

I find some comfort in seeing the sun’s light shimmer on the cloud’s edge as the horizon approaches.

I find comfort in the flicker of hope that bounces from the stars.

I sit and I think about Chris.

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Be The Best.

Thinking Time

Last week when it was really hot (for a couple of days) I sat outside in the evenings and fine tuned some music I had been working on.  As you might know by now I love music and the arts and am in a multi-year ‘instrumental electronica’ phase.  Whenever I play something for Ingrid that is more purely piano based she says THAT is the music she likes and we have a friendly ‘discussion’ about music and how I am going to (or not) dominate the European club scene in my 50’s…(I’m giving myself another 6 years to break out at some German or Dutch club) (No, Mom, I’m not being serious).

Joking aside, I’ve put this track called ’30 degrees’ together with some pictures I used a couple of weeks back as background to Love Shines for AC’s Mission concert.

In any event, with a few changes, here are a whole pile of sunset pics with some of my more mellow music which I’ll dedicate to my long-suffering wife who has heard every rendition of drum machine and syncopated beat layered with 14 synthesizers for years!

For me this little movie is 3 minutes of thinking time and trying not to do anything else.

Am I promising no more sunset blogs this year?  Probably not.  I’m as addicted to those things as much as instrumental electronica music right now!  Don’t worry Ingrid, I usually evolve music styles every 10 or 15 years…

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Be The Best.

What’s your DQ?

Summer was made for ice cream or gelato or frozen yogurt or something like that right?

Ingrid had the great idea of heading down to Dairy Queen for an old school dessert. With a dinner time that finally worked for the three of us at home, we hit the drive thru post kitchen duty and a little basketball challenge to enjoy that taste of summer.

Max and I played a game of basketball called ’21’ in the backyard.  The Old Man schooled the Kid in game one before he woke up and won game two.  We probably should have played the tie-breaker, but I was a little nervous about the impending outcome…

The reason for this post?  This evening felt like an old school summertime evening where work (boys or ours), lacrosse, or other activities did not get in the way of just enjoying some evening sunshine and time together.

Chris played basketball like he played lacrosse, ready to knock anyone getting to the goal on their behinds.  His shot was a little ‘unrefined’.  Whenever he lost a game he would take the ball out for a ridiculously long shot and say, ‘If I score this I win’.  Without thinking about it, Max said that same thing tonight and we laughed as we remembered Chris’ antics in the backyard playing bball.

Then we had ice cream.

An almost perfect summer evening working our way to the new normal.

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Be The Best.

New Hope, Poem Night and Robert Frost

New Hope is a not for-profit-group in Vernon that was founded by my sister Grace after she suffered the loss of her husband (my brother-in-law) Andy some 15 years ago.  Not one to back away from a challenge, she faced and formed her ‘new normal’ head on and New Hope has helped hundreds of windows and widowers (and their families) over the years.  Now remarried to a fantastic guy Steve, it is a great example of honouring your past and also not giving up on the future…far from it.

Remember ‘giving is a part of grieving’?  There’s a lot of that in Grace.  You can check out more from New Hope here.  I was on their site tonight and they had the poem from Robert Frost called ‘Lodged’ on the home page.  It is similar to Invictus in some regards and when I researched Frost’s personal life I understood why.  Wow.  He had a lot of reasons to be bitter, questioning and angry.  Instead there appears to be a quiet resolve to persevere and explore the future as the Captain of his soul.  This is ‘Lodged’ by Robert Frost.

The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
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Be The Best.

Sunrise

There are only a few weeks in our climate where you could wear shorts and a t-shirt and feel comfortable sitting outside at 5:30am.

Today was one of those days.

In the words of Mr. Bono from U2,

It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it slip away!

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Be The Best.

Mandela

You may have read the blog post about Nelson Mandela and the movie Invictus a few weeks back.

That man was and is amazing.  Twenty-seven years in a prison cell and ready to change the world through peace, communication, trust and respect when he gets out.

I found some direct Mandela quotes that I think are awesome.  Check this out.

  • It always seems impossible until it’s done.
  • I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  • There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

(via http://www.brainyquote.com/)

There are many parts of this journey that seem somewhat impossible.  How can we make it ‘done’?  The million dollar question.  One thing that just keeps coming back again and again is the continued decision to make decisions.  The continued choice to make choices and move forward.

Ever seen or read documentaries on reaching Mt. Everest?  Those pre-summit steps are agonizingly slow in a high-altitude, sub-zero netherworld.  The only way that mountain is conquered is one step at a time.  I think the difference for us, is there is no real summit.  There will be no point of saying..GREAT..made it, we can now move on to the next challenge as it were.  Mandela talks about courage being the triumph over fear.  We are learning to not fear the future.  I agree completely; that is what courage is all about and we’ve got a ways to go.  He made it 27 years in a prison cell.  I don’t think you get that far thinking about 5 or 10 or 15 years into the future.  The only thing he controlled in that prison was his own reactions and decisions each minute, hour and day.

As he stated from the poem Invictus, ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’