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2020 - 10 years later Be The Best.

Taking the leap…year

Ok, it’s been a few years. Probably a couple of leap years to be accurate.

Firstly, welcome back to the blog.

It’s been a few years since I posted anything and about 8 years since the blog closed the daily and then weekly chapters. So what gives?

Chris playing lacrosse for Burnaby Mountain Selects in Virginia, USA 2009

It was 10 years ago this March. Those close to us and close to Chris have the date forever etched in memory; March 25, 2010. March 25, 2020 will come and go and this is not about the date as much as it’s about remembering Chris 10 years later throughout the year.

I’ll post weekly throughout 2020 giving you updates and maybe pictures you haven’t seen before. I’ll talk about life after loss – especially from a Dad’s perspective.

The Taj Mahal

Insight number one – guys don’t like to talk that much – they would rather do stuff! The Taj Mahal was built by emperor Shah Jahan to honor his wife who died during childbirth. Yah, I knew the honor part, just not his name. Thanks Google.

Anyhoo – when Chris passed away we set up a fund at Simon Fraser University. This fund just keeps building and has paid awards every year for the past nine years to lacrosse players at SFU who demonstrate the characteristics of Chris – especially his dedication to hard work, overall perseverance of goals and winning WITH and FOR the team. THANK YOU to so many who donated 10 years ago. Your gift has inspired student athletes and I know from personal interaction with the winners – it has impacted many of them in how they approach sport and life in general.

Some of you remember the intensity of this bulldozer coming your way. Not sure the player in the orange shorts knew the train was coming!

In conjunction with SFU and Brent Hoskins, long time coach of Chris with BMS (now owner of Martket Branding), – we’ve teamed up to do something unique for the next few months.

SFU will open their donor portal and we’ve worked with them to offer $10,000 in matching funds. That means that every dollar donated will be matched up to 10k. The fund is at 70k and the goal is 100. That represents at least two awards each year of $2,500 or more each (depends on interest rates year to year) and the fund itself never dies. It goes on forever. You get the symbolism right? ūüėČ You get the guy thing about building something right? ūüėČ

Now – this is NOT SOME KIND OF MONEY GRAB OR ASK.

What we’ve done as a family is provide a way to remember Chris through Be The Best merchandise. We know there are a number of folks who still have the CF2 stickers or Be The Best patches.

The process is simple:

  1. SFU portal will open this coming week (I’ll post when it’s live)
  2. You’ll get a tax receipt from SFU for donation – so only donate if you (or your business) are already going to give something to charitable causes this year!! This is NOT a money grab!!
  3. For those that give, you’ll get an email from Martket (Brent’s company and yes that is the correct spelling!)
  4. That email will give you a code to get your Be the Best merch with all costs covered by the Friesens in partnership with Brent’s company

I look forward to reconnecting with many of you and I was totally blown away at how much this blog is still read today…even with no posts!! It means that people are hurting and experiencing loss and figuring their way through.

Much more to come. Looking forward to having you along for the 2020 journey. Let’s leap forward.

Randy Friesen for Randy, Ingrid and Max.

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Be The Best.

Chris Friesen Alumni Cup – August 2014

Ok, it’s been a few weeks, ok months, ok maybe a year since the last post.¬† ūüėČ

Umm…the dog ate my password or something.

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been over 4 years since Chris passed.

If you’ve ever wondered…yes, we still think of Chris every day if not every hour and minute.

I know many of you do too.

His legacy lives on and will live forever in the form of an award fund at SFU which many of you are aware of and have supported.  THANK YOU.

We’ve had the privilege to hand out four awards so far and number five will be handed out Feb 2015.¬† (The awards are interest only…the base fund continues to grow)

The Burnaby Mountain Select program and SFU (Simon Fraser University) have been phenomenal supporters of the fund and more importantly Chris’ legacy and honoring how he lived his life.

The BMS group are holding the first ever Chris Friesen Alumni Cup for field lacrosse up at SFU on Aug 16 at 2pm.

It was announced this afternoon and has 50% sold out in about 4 hours.

If you’ve played with BMS or played with Chris, grab a spot quick!!

http://www.selectslacrosse.com/

We thought the Aug 16 afternoon would also give us a chance to say hi to Chris’ buddies and those who didn’t play lacrosse but just want to drop by for a bbq or maybe pick up a pair of Chris lacrosse socks (great as slippers) which are now available after some serious and persistent demand!

The info on the socks is also available through the link above.

Have a great summer!

 

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Be The Best.

Thanksgiving – an epilogue of sorts

It’s been about 6 months since I last logged into the blog.

I wasn’t even sure I had remembered my password, but how hard is 1111111111. ¬†(No, that’s not my password…!)

In fact I just checked and the last blog post was on the Easter weekend, exactly 6 months ago today.

Many things have changed in the past 6 months. ¬†We’ve downsized, we’ve moved (yah, not really the same thing…), and I’ve changed jobs after 21 years.

They say you shouldn’t do all those things at the same time but I guess we missed that part in the instruction manual.

Anyhoo…why a post today?

I miss Chris everyday, every hour and every minute.

You can’t grow back a limb.

You learn to live with a broken heart and that’s the way it is.

And is that so bad? ¬†I mean that actually….is that so bad?

As I watched the Olympics this summer and saw Oscar Pistorius win and lose his races I could not help but think about this same fact. ¬†He’ll never have ‘normal’ legs but the path he has chosen is a ‘Be the Best’ story if I’ve ever heard one.

And so, with this major part of our lives missing and not coming back, how do we tackle our life olympics?

One of the things I saw in Mr. Pistorius was zero self pity and only resolve.  I loved it.

Instead of bitterness, he was thankful and hopeful and energized.

We aim to follow his lead.

In that vein, here at Thanksgiving there’s a story that I must share.

Chris’ ashes are held in a cemetery in Langley. ¬†It’s a beautiful place surrounded by huge trees.

You can go there anytime.  (208th and 44th Ave in Langley, BC)

It’s a great place to remember Chris but also to think about how to push forward and run the race ahead of us and even enjoy that run until we meet again.¬†His marker is on the Dogwood Wall and is number 41. ¬†This symbolizes the number he wore representing BC when he played nationally and of course the Dogwood is BC’s provincial flower.

In honour of that symbolism,  a Dogwood tree had been given to us.  We aimed to keep it in a big container to manage the growth but with the move the tree was pretty much done.

I talked to Dave who works for the Township at the cemetery. ¬†Dave’s one of those guys you meet and then you don’t mind paying your taxes anymore. ¬†He’s a great guy with a warm heart. ¬†When I asked if he would consider planting the tree he said he would. ¬†He took our beleaguered tree and planted it last month. ¬†This weekend on Thanksgiving, we saw it for the first time.

We were not even sure if it would survive, but it’s doing more than that. ¬†It’s thriving and looks like it is giving itself a fighting chance for the winter ahead.

We’ll call it the Be the Best tree.

It was down, it was almost out, but it came back.

Chris’ legacy is one that he now gets to be with us all of the time.

He’s with you as you read this in college thousands of miles from home.

He’s with you as you lace up those lacrosse boots for another battle.

He’s with all of us as we make decisions about our lives.

He provides that spirit and inspiration to push hard and Be the Best.

For that I am extremely thankful.

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Be The Best.

And so it begins – The Commencement – Part 3

Two years ago, on Easter Sunday, I began this blog.

I thought it might go for a month, then two months, then six, then for sure end at 12, then it kept going.

Although these past few months the posts have been more in my head then typed onto the screen, it’s not for lack of topics.¬†¬† Along this pathway/journey/road/highway/trail you have ups and you have downs.¬† You have valleys and you have views.¬† You learn to laugh with a broken heart.¬† You learn to live with a hole in your heart.¬† You even learn to win and conquer with an altered existence.

That’s the REAL secret of Sunday.

It’s not about the razzle dazzle.

It’s about the amazing reality that there is life with tragedy.¬† There is hope with sorrow.¬† There is bitter and there is sweet, mixed and stirred.

Sunday is about hope.

Sunday is about future.

Sunday is about change.

After 21 years at an amazing post secondary school that has become a home not just a job…I am taking a leave.

I’m heading to the private sector working to assist entrepreneurs build their businesses.

A big change.

I’m not sure I would have done it without the Be The Best thinking part of my every waking minute.

Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to quit their jobs or do anything crazy, but I will challenge all of you to Be The Best!

What does that mean to you?

What are your dreams?

What are your goals?

How are you putting those into measurable pieces, sliced up by months and days?

Chris’ passion fuels me.¬† Chris’ passion to Be The Best fuels all of us, even those who never met him.

It’s Sunday…but it’s early Sunday morning.

Hope is on the horizon, but the road ahead is still very unknown.

But one thing I know is that Sunday’s here, and by making one decision at a time we’ll be more ‘Be The Best’ then if we just sit back and let things happen.

Sunday’s here, hope is here and HOPE is an action word.

Be The Best.

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Be The Best.

The Commencement – Part 2

So it’s Saturday.¬† The trauma and drama of the cross is behind us, but now what?¬† Historical accounts indicate a lot of second guessing and doubting about what the future would be without the Son of Man around physically.¬† Sort of like living in a suspended state.

We know what Saturday is like.¬† That’s where you live for a long long time.

But Sunday’s coming.

Quite literally as I type this, our dear friends, the Funks, who stood by us like soldiers for weeks and weeks, are in a suspended animation state with their family, specifically, their daughter Jessica (20).

As you read this, please offer a thot and prayer for her as she fights a flu-like infection that has forced her into a stable but critical state in a Vancouver area hospital.

As a group, we didn’t need any more lessons about how precious life was, but we got one anyways.

When it’s Saturday you think…did that thing just happen?¬† to us?¬† really?

Did we just lose Chris? really?

You can’t comprehend for a long time what actually happened.

Saturday is a day where those thoughts can come and topple you over.

I don’t know if you remember the blog post back about a year or so ago how astronauts (and others) are trained to compartmentalize their grief and emotions.¬† That’s the only way they can make it through traumatic situations and still land the plane, save people from burning buildings, deal with trauma etc.¬† You can read that post here.

I was also struck by the psychology professor commenting on the story indicating that compartmentalization makes sense but it can have severe impacts as well.¬† In other words you can’t compartmentalize forever.

So…what does that mean?¬† Saturday is a time when the doubts and questions come…you MUST compartmentalize to keep working, living and moving ahead BUT (and it’s a big BUT – insert your own joke here), if you only compartmentalize, you will pay a HUGE price.

Saturday is also for doubting.

Saturday is also for questioning.

Saturday is for being angry and confused.

Saturday is for letting those thoughts come to the door, you answer, chat a minute or two and then close the door.

That’s why there is a Saturday.

But Sunday’s coming.

To conclude, the blog post I wrote this past Christmas about Bob Ross the painter, has really stuck with me for months.¬† He’s that quirky public television personality with a cult-like-following who always looked like he destroyed his painting about 3/4 of the way through…only to have the final image always blow you away.¬† You can read that post here.

What’s the point you say?¬† Early on in our Saturday, the questions outweighed the answers, the pain outweighed any positive feelings of the future and I couldn’t understand how any pieces fit together.

I still don’t, actually, but I do know this.

The Joy of Painting
The Joy of Painting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe very strongly that we ARE part of a larger painting.¬† We don’t understand all the Master Painter does or is doing.¬† PERSPECTIVE is a thing that is not quite available on Saturday, but even as Satur-day turns into Saturday-night, that perspective grows.

And I know one thing…Sunday’s coming.

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Be The Best.

The Commencement – Part 1

This weekend is hugely significant.

It’s Easter, but that’s just part of the story.

This weekend will conclude the active writings in this blog with three posts, today, tomorrow and Sunday.

Why will things ‘end’ on Easter Sunday?¬† One of the most read posts of the hundreds now on this blog is the very first one…Easter Sunday and so it begins.¬† It seems only fitting that two years later on Easter Sunday 2012 we would mark the next chapters in our lives and this blog.

But is it really an end or a Commencement?  Many Universities call their graduation ceremonies Commencements.

Look at the Dictionary.com definition of the word:

noun

  1. an act or instance of commencing;  beginning;
  2. the ceremony of conferring degrees or granting diplomas at the end of the academic year.
  3. the day on which this ceremony takes place.

What strikes me about this word is that commencing means the beginning, even though Graduation is really considered a conclusion of studies by many.¬† When we think of graduation, we often think of ‘the end’ in terms of the end of studying, exams and being finally able to cross the stage and be acknowledged for the work that has been done.

When you really think about it however, Commencement is the perfect word.  Yes, as a graduate you are celebrating the conclusion of studies, but in the big picture, you are just beginning.

For us, (and I know many of you), this two-year mark is not without notice.  We will never ever forget Chris.  He and Be The Best have become a core in our lives.  You could say the last two years have educated us how to live with the Be The Best thinking, how to fail, how to dust ourselves off, how to make another decision, how to push forward and how to win.

We are then indeed ready for a Commencement of sorts.

This is truly the beginning.¬† The beginning of a new chapter.¬† New goals, new decisions, new challenges…all with the increased knowledge we’ve gained during the past two years.

Now, I can’t move past today without acknowledging Good Friday.¬† It struck me these past few months about the documented accounts of the crucifixion story.¬† Regardless of religious background, bear with me for a moment.¬† Jesus was identified as God’s Son and in the moment of utter darkness on a cross and losing his earthly life, he did not say, ‘Hey, this is great God, I like this plan.’

He in fact is quoted as saying, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Wikipedia references).

For anyone reading who has gone through loss or experiencing these things right now, it’s perfectly ok to question why.¬† It’s ok to be angry, confused, dazed etc etc.¬† However, the story doesn’t end with the cross…it begins there.

The story of loss doesn’t end with grief and loss in fact.¬† It also, in many ways, began there and now a new beginning is peeking out from the clouds.

Friday’s only part of Easter.

Sunday’s coming.

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Be The Best.

Good scary or bad scary?

I met a colleague today who happens to be a counsellor.

We had a brief conversation between the coffee shop and our next meetings.¬† He said something that has stuck with me long after this afternoon’s hallway chat.

We were talking about making big life decisions and he said, (paraphrased) if something makes you feel a bit scared, but good scared, go for it…if it makes you feel bad scared, stay away.¬† In other words, high chance behaviour like speeding in your car and texting is not good.¬† Taking a chance where the outcome is simply the flip of¬† a coin…not good.

BUT…taking a calculated risk that still makes you feel a little nervous, that’s good.¬† In fact that can act as fuel to push you forward.

Too many people,  he said, had told him over the years that as they hit 50, 60 and beyond, had wished they took a risk.

Nervous good?  Nervous bad?

Interesting thought for the day!

BTB.

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Be The Best.

Langley wins Provincial Championship…and other stuff you should know.

When it comes to lacrosse, both field and box, Langley has always been close to the top and rarely at the top.

The boys, really young men now, that you see in the picture below have been battling for a gold medal for 10 years or more.

I watched a young Chris write down his goal, ‘Make the A1 Langley lacrosse team’.

Then I watched him work that goal.  Push-ups, eating right, practice, repeat.  Working and never quitting.

He made it.  The next goal was to win.  I watched him and his squad battle their hearts out to several bronze medals at the Provincials.  They were huge accomplishments, but the ride home was usually quiet.

He wanted the Gold.

When he won the bronze with Team BC at the National Box Tournie, it was again an amazing accomplishment but the gold still remained the goal.

A couple of Sundays ago on the¬†fields¬†at Burnaby Lake, Langley’s Tier 1 (A1) field¬†lacrosse team won the¬†Gold medal for the FIRST TIME IN LANGLEY’S HISTORY.

These¬†were all¬†guys that Chris had played with over the years and judging by the comments on Chris’¬†still very active memorial Facebook wall, he was with them on the field for the big win.

CONGRATS to all the players and coaches…and parents too!!¬† As I look at the picture below I see James, Michael, Brett, Eric, Ryan, Rhys, Riley, Will, Alex and more.

You all have battled for many years together and I know that Chris LOVED fighting the fight with you and I know he’ll be¬†your wingman as¬†many of you leave minor lacrosse and move forward with the next exciting stages of life.

This was a MEGA accomplishment and I know Chris will be beaming for a long time about this one.

You can read the full story in the Langley Times here. 

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Be The Best.

Chris’ new pet.

My little niece Emily (3) had a pet gerbil, or hamster or something like that.

I should really have more details on these things.

All I know is that it was fluffy and sat around in the cage a lot.

As things go, her little pet passed away.

Was she sad?

No, she said, ‘Fluffy’ (not his or her real name, not to protect the hamster/gerbil, but because I just forget what the name was) would be with Chris.

Now that’s beautiful, cute and sort of funny too.

I can image Chris and Dylan up there working hard and then chatting up some young angels when this gerbil thing just sort of appears.¬† ‘What the whip?’, Chris would say.

And then the head Pet Angel would inform Chris that Emily had made the request.

Chris and his new pet hamster thing. 

Love it.

Do you really have to still clean the cages up in heaven?  Are there cages?

Anyhoo Chris, be good to Emily’s pet…I know you will!

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Be The Best.

Let’s play lacrosse already!

English: Flag of the Iroquois Confederacy, Hia...

When Chris played for Team BC in the Box National tournament in Ontario as a 14 year-old, we witnessed some amazing lacrosse.

Of particular note was team Iroquois.  They were small, but fast and they never ever gave up.

I’ve written about them before but was reminded of them again this week when a video link was sent my way.

Johnny Powless played at that tournment and was a lacrosse wonderkid.  Sort of Gretzky-like.

Amazing with the ball, without the ball and knowing where the play was going at all times.

This video link shows Powless scoring a goal in the NLL a few weeks back.¬† He’s just 18.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Chris is still watching this kid go.

At the tournment back a few years ago, BC won the Bronze in an epic battle with Alberta.¬† We all stayed to watch Iroquois Nation go against Ontario.¬† Truly David vs Goliath.¬† I’m literally getting goose bumps as I type this remembering the game.

The Ontario team was HUGE.¬† They have a massive population and they could have had 3 or 4 top teams and still been competitive.¬† The Iroquois team was small.¬† But they didn’t give up.

I know they made a big impact on the BC boys watching.  In many ways it was the early days of Be The Best.

Yes, Iroquois did prevail to win the gold in one of the most fantastic lacrosse games I’ve ever seen.

Here’s Johnny doing his thing today.¬† I’m wearing my purple Iroquois t-shirt with pride today and still have the hand- made wooden lacrosse sticks dangling from the rear view mirror of our car.

Watch a little Be The Best in action…and this kid is only beginning.