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Be The Best.

Perspective

I’ve always loved art and photography. One of the things I learned from the pros early on was that light and perspective meant more than quality of equipment. Don’t get me wrong, good equipment is important, but you can take bad pictures with a good camera. These pics are simply plants in our urban backyard. Nothing special in a macro view, but when you get up close and add the brilliance of a Michigan early morning sun, it makes things come alive.

See inconspicuous plant in middle right of picture. I’m sure the flower has a name. Begonia or something. Geranium? Hosta? Ok, fact check: Hydrangea
Same hydrangea, different perspective.

I remember being at the mall with 8 year old Chris looking for video games. He was playing a demo game and his video character kept on getting zapped. I said, ‘Move your guy. Move left. Move right’. It was so OBVIOUS to me. He continued to struggle and then it dawned on me. I knelt down to get to his height and the angle of the screen was such that you could see movement but couldn’t really see what was going on. In that moment, perspective became very real.

I needed to change my vantage point to understand his reality.

In these divisive times viewing things from another’s perspective isn’t weak or non-decisive. It’s powerful and radical. We don’t have to ‘choose sides’ as much as aim to understand each other a little more and gain perspective.

We may just find some beauty and understanding along the way. Have a great week.

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Be The Best.

Happy Canada Day eh.

A quick mid-week post on July 1, Canada Day.

Art courtesy of my sister Grace. She’s an artist, blogger and chaplain and recently posted this great artistic rendition of the flag.

For me nothing exemplifies Canadian ideals more than Terry Fox.

His dedication to a cause, his dedication to people, his dedication to perseverance are all traits certainly embodied by Be The Best in a beautifully understated Canadian way. Just get out there – and run a marathon every day. 😉

This short video has some clips I hadn’t seen before and you see the pure passion and kindness behind the young man who has become an icon, not only for Canada, but worldwide. Have a watch and get inspired. Have a great day.

The Terry Fox story
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2020 - 10 years later Be The Best.

Fort Langley Forest

What you are about to watch is a fake movie trailer.

Yes, fake news – but not really.

The actors are very real. Chris had lacrosse buds, family, family friends and then a tight knit group of school and Langley friends. These guys were so awesome to our family in the months and years after Chris passed and I still remember this day from 9 years ago. A bunch of teen aged guys willing to spend their afternoon on a walk (we called it a hike!) with a couple of parents.

As a Dad, Chris’ memory and thoughts of him are part of every single day. I know for many of his friends, teammates and coaches, they feel the same. He was a great kid, an amazing human. The sentiment from that hike and many other interactions with these young people have stayed with us all these years later and still bring feelings of warmth, love and support that we hope are echoed back to others as they go through their own various journeys through life.

All the best as you Be The Best this week.

Without further ado, I present the fake movie trailer from 2011 that never made it to the theaters (US spelling on US soil in Detroit…).

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Be The Best.

Father’s Day 2020

First a Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, who many know as Rev. Jake.

A sprightly 89 years young, this guy plays tennis, ping-pong, rides his bike, drives, plays the guitar and reads like a librarian on pandemic lockdown. He could have a conversation with you about world politics, current events or history. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Chris also loved his Grandpa. He LOVED the beard Rev Jake grew for a Christmas event. He LOVED the trucker hats. So Chris got one too. This vid below is a walk I took with Dad just a few months after Chris passed. I’m wearing Chris’ shoes and Dad is wearing Chris’ hat. This is what guys do and how they show respect.

Rev Jake poses with Chris’ hat.
From Sept 2010

To see more on trucker hats – have a read here.

A Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads. Of course, this is a poignant day on the calendar as it’s easy to think of what could have been and what things would have been like with Chris still with us. I still feel that in 2020 of course. That said, we look back at the memories, share the stories and laugh more than cry as we continue to aim for living BeTheBest values. Which reminds me, I have some push-ups to do. Have a good week.

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Be The Best.

Dads and Brothers and a little Father’s Day preview.

I don’t have a brother. I’ve got three sisters. I was usually nice to them growing up except when I wasn’t. Like getting my mouth washed out with soap from my generally gentle Mother after going too far in calling them names. Sorry Sisters. Like hiding under AC’s bed and grabbing her ankles when she sat down. A juvenile move and yes, I still pay for her counselling sessions related to this trauma decades later. (I think she’s forgiven me for these acts). I should probably check on that.

Brothers, however, are different. They express love by performing atomic wedgies and continually pushing each other to the edge with sports and activities. 95% bravado, but when it counts, they have each other’s back.

July 2004 road trip (Chris and Max)
After 8 hours in a car, a little brotherly love is quite predictable. Don’t worry, Max got his revenge.

Max, our oldest, had a birthday yesterday and is 29. Happy Birthday Max!!! When Chris passed he was a rock. I remember him at the funeral and for months and years afterwards helping others with their own grieving process as he dealt with his.

I’ve written a lot about Chris in these posts over the years for obvious reasons but Max was the first. The guy who paved the way. The guy who had to do everything first. The big brother. Our relationship today is built on years of experiences and memories that forge the trust and bond that allows confidence in the decisions to push the future. It may be a lot of fun and banter – but that builds funds in the ‘trust bank’ and in darker times, having equity in that bank is essential.

This little video from 9 years ago was typical and we look forward to many more in the future.

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Be The Best.

What I believe

I was sent a link to a letter written by the President of Harvard University. (Thanks Grant!)

Lawrence (Larry) S. Bacow wrote a poignant piece identifying what he believes. This was written May 30, 2020 in light of the recent protests and violence in the US following the death of George Floyd. For me currently living near Detroit, his words (he references Detroit from the 60’s) are profound as we are living through history repeating itself in 2020. If you have 5 min, read through his entire letter. Here are some key statements:

I believe in the goodness of the people of this country—and in their resilience.

I believe that America should be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.

I believe that our strength as a nation is due in no small measure to our tradition of welcoming those who come to our shores in search of freedom and opportunity, individuals who repay us multiple times over through their hard work, creativity, and devotion to their new home. 

I believe in the American Dream.

https://www.harvard.edu/president/news/2020/what-i-believe

It is the final paragraph, however, that is extremely important for all of us; Canadian, American or any other citizen of the world. It is a call to action.

What we believe is important. Acting on our beliefs is critical. ESPECIALLY when we must believe that there are many more people in this world who believe in equality, respect and fair treatment for all – regardless of race, gender or political leanings.

As I continue to remember Chris in a more direct and public way throughout this year, I am thinking continually of what Be The Best really means. If I believe that, what are the actions that bring that belief to life? One simple one is to follow through on acts of kindness – not just think about them. Could be a spending time as a mentor, writing a note of support, or simply saying thank-you. Ok – and doing push-ups. That was a big part of the Be The Best thinking that Chris worked on. Those are the simple things that can bring beliefs to life. I’ll leave the closing to President Bacow. He’s stated it perfectly below.

I hope you will pause during these troubled times to ask what you believe. Even more importantly, I hope you will find the strength and determination to act on your beliefs—to repair and perfect this imperfect world.

This tribute video for Chris was put together for the Langley Thunder Lacrosse team and played in Chris’ honor. At about 1 minute 29 seconds you see a few seconds of an interview I did with Chris in prepping for college recruitment activity. If you want to see what he believed, have a view. Have a good week.

Originally put together April 2010.
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Be The Best.

‘The Match’, ignited.

It was simply awesome to watch some live sports this past weekend. I know many find golf on TV less than thrilling but I love it…especially when Tiger Woods is involved. That guy is always making history when he plays it seems like. On a side note (tongue in cheek – no hate mail please), Tiger Woods ‘loses’ over 77% of the tournaments he enters. That is a whole other subject because a 22.8% winning percentage is ridiculous. I mean, totally awe inspiring. Anyhoo, you had Tiger and Phil Mickelson as the pros playing with NFL greats Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for charity re COVID19. All the players were mic’d up and it was awesome. Tom Brady was struggling on the front nine and I almost felt sorry for him for a few minutes and then I remembered how rich he is and how many Superbowl rings he has. Then – as only Brady could do, he drains a shot from 100 yards and beaks off at Charles Barkley. Priceless.

His comments post ‘victory shot’ are extremely revealing. He was being light-hearted but he expresses his love for his wife, mom and dad and children. You see, that’s what guys do. They are wired to compete and push for the win. Some more than others and these pro athletes are wired that way 150%++ which makes them so special.

Remember Michael Jordan falling to the floor after NBA final victory in 1996. Same thing – the dedication to family.

This is key. Guys aim to win to honor their family. Guys build things to honor their family. Guys push themselves to honor their family. Guys will slug it out 6 or 7 days per week earning a paycheck to honor their families. Guys who have lost loves ones will do all the same things – to honor the ones they’ve lost. If you are dealing with a guy who has gone through something – this is an interesting insight to have.

As you saw from post 1 in 2020, this blog resurgence for this year, is simply a chance to honor and remember Chris. And man he LOVED sports too. It was awesome. He played lacrosse (lax) to honor his coaches and teammates (Go Langley Thunder!), his town (Langley), and even his province (BC) at a national level. And of course, his family. Chris – always remembered and always loved. We will aim to Be The Best in your honor and I hope for all reading the understanding of Be The Best gets deeper and deeper. For guys, winning and Being The Best (at whatever!) is the highest level of honor a spouse, family member, teammate or coach can receive.

Have a great week.

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Be The Best.

Rough Patch – yes it happens.

Ten years ago I wrote a blog with ‘rough patch’ in the title. It was a rough day. Everything was pretty raw. It was also a day that provided a reminder of the thinking that has propelled us through the rough patches of life – business or personal. The power of decisions. Making decisions creates energy and gets things moving. If the direction isn’t exactly right, make another decision. Keep going. Whether it’s COVID, a business issue or a life moment – make a decision and keep going.

Original patch and sticker design – yup, still carry in my luggage!

The amazing thing about that day, looking back, is that it was the birth of the ‘Be The Best’ patch which I still have in suitcases and tucked in various spots. A massive thank-you to all those involved, with my nephew Steve L playing a big role. It’s a symbol of how we decide to live. Be The Best.

The blog is alive all year in 2020 as a remembrance of Chris and a chance to reconnect and share memories. I’m happy to connect with anyone who has a story or picture that hasn’t been seen in a while. Email me at randy@randinsystems.com or connect via the blog or LinkedIn.

Also – while supplies last, you can pick up an outdoor speaker, travel mug and of course Be The Best stickers and other stuff at Chris’ store. Our family has funded the store in cooperation with Brent Hoskins and Martket Branding. What that means is that every dollar, aside from a handling/shipping fee is donated direct to Chris’ fund at SFU. If you want to donate direct to SFU you can get a tax receipt. Only do that if you are looking to make a charitable donation in 2020 and have some room. As I said in the first 2020 post, this is not a fund raiser as much as it’s a celebration of Chris’ life and the legacy he has left. Plus, I needed some new Be The Best gear and wanted you to get some too!

These are very cool in black and white.
Nice gear. All paid for meaning when you buy the money goes to Chris’ fund. 😉
The Bluetooth speaker is on the left and the power charger on the right. We were pumping tunes outside this weekend. Wait, that just makes me sound old.

Here’s the ‘Rough Patch’ post from April 10, 2010.

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Be The Best.

Plans don’t work.

For those of you who know me you may be immediately question my mental state. What? This guy is all about planning. Has he had a mid life crisis and reversed his position? Ok, I did look at a massive gold chain and convertible mustang full of Detroit muscle, but I didn’t do either. 😉

And spoiler alert – I haven’t changed my position about planning – but I’m growing more interested in paradoxes and this is a great one.

The more you plan, the more pigs you may see flying. Just sayin. It’s that powerful.

A business colleague passed on a fantastic article about Dwight Eisenhower. A statement he used to use a lot was:

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

How many times have you set a plan and then things change? If I’m honest, a lot or maybe always! However, having the plan in the first place has already forced us to think about WHY we are doing something. The HOW can change, the WHY should remain the same.

If you want more on the WHY – Simon Sinek is a great author and resource on that topic.

So – do plans change? YES

Should we stop planning? NO

Planning is an action word. It produces momentum. You can adjust along the way. We know about that as a family. We ALL know about that through this COVID19 crisis.

Stay safe and keep planning – even though things may not work out exactly as you imagined.

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Be The Best.

Oh Mama.

I confess. I still watch Family Guy from time to time. Totally inappropriate and outrageous, it was a show that us three boys (Chris, Max and me) would utilize to work on our father/sons bonding while containing our misguided laughter. I hope that passes as enough of an excuse…

There was a scene that became hilarious in our home because it became real life. Remember that bit where Stewie couldn’t get his Mom, Lois’ attention? Here’s the quick clip to remind you. Ok, Ingrid (Max and Chris’ Mom and my long suffering wife!) had developed a unique skill living in a house with just guys. She could tune us out. I mean TOTALLY tune us out. She would be quietly reading a book while the three of us would be watching hockey, munching snacks, exuding bodily noises, laughing and even talking to her – she totally blocked it out. Big skill for sure.

So…Chris started doing the routine. Mom, Mum, ingrid, mommy, mamma, louder and louder – then INGRID! That usually got her attention. That ‘bit’ became comedy gold in the Friesen household multiple times per month. Author’s note: I never encouraged or endorsed this behavior. (mostly)

Just watching the clip again makes me smile as I think of Chris’ routine. The love that Chris and Max and Ingrid have is one that only exists with Moms and sons. Totally special and unique. To Ingrid and all the Moms out there – a very Happy Mother’s Day. May your memories bring you smiles and warmth as only a deep love can create.