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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.

CFMA Y2 2012

Acronyms¬†are so warm aren’t they?

Chris hoists BMS teammate Jamie Spagnuolo at Florida tournie.

Tonight is the 2nd annual Christian Friesen Memorial Award presentation.

As a family we are so proud to be associated with the BMS (Burnaby Mountain Selects) program and SFU (Simon Fraser University).

If you’ve read this blog over time you’ve seen many references to both of these organizations.

It’s worth mentioning again the MEGA MAJOR (MM) impact that the BMS camp had on Chris as a young teen.

He saw these university athletes and how hard they worked and it shaped his entire focus on eating habits, studying habits and work-out habits.

In so many ways, the Be The Best thinking started right there…and it didn’t stop.

SFU and the SFU Foundation office have been simply wonderful (understatement) to Ingrid, Max and I.

We are proud to have Chris’ memorial fund help push the dreams of a lacrosse athlete attending SFU.

So if you’ve just joined us, what is BTB (Be The Best)?

Be The Best is a way to live our lives.

It’s using Chris’ passion to fuel us.

It’s making positive decisions about fitness, education and life.

It’s not settling for second best.

To this year’s award winner (still a secret at the time of writing), this award goes way beyond the financial implications. ¬†It’s about carrying the Be The Best banner. ¬†It’s about being associated with a kid who would pound out 200 push-ups a day at 16. ¬†It’s about setting goals, breaking them down into measurable tasks and then working hard. ¬†It’s all of that and more.

We were so proud when Luke Genereaux won the award last year. ¬†He had coached Chris and was one of these young college-age guys that had helped shape Chris’ world.

btw, this is not a commercial for the BMS program, but I guess it might as well be! ¬†If your kid places lacrosse in British Columbia, it’s an amazing program that help takes kids and form them into young men. ¬†To see a number of these players now enter university at SFU and beyond, is super cool. ¬†Jamie, (in picture above) is a great example as he’s in his first of McGill University in Montreal.

You see, at that point it becomes way more than just lacrosse. ¬†This is really about changing lives in a positive way and continuing to make the world a better place…but I think you sort of got that already.

TWITA (That’s what I’m talking about)

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Be The Best.

Lamb lollipops and changing lives

Ever had one of those lamb lollipop things?  They are popular at networking events with the idea being that you can eat them standing up, maybe balance a glass of wine and still mingle with people.

I’m not that coordinated.

So, some context.

Ingrid and I were invited to the Simon Fraser University’s ‘President’s Reception’, because of our connection with Chris’ fund.¬† We weren’t able to attend the event last year so with a bit of apprehension of the unknown we headed to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Gastown.

I expected to hear a few words from the President.  I expected to perhaps eat some appetizer type foods.  I expected to hear a few speeches.  I did not expect to be so incredibly moved and inspired.

So…with my hands full, I spied a stand-up table at the edge of the room where one other couple was also doing the balancing act.¬† I made a simple comment asking if we might join them and a conversation ensued.

The people we met by ‘random circumstance’ (or not) were a Professor and his wife who is a retired Professor herself.

We talked about SFU and their relationship to the donor event.

They of course asked about our connection which led to a conversation about Chris.

The Professor (names protected) talked about a long time friend of his and how his friend’s memorial fund had built up over 20 years and was now helping students on a yearly basis, stating that every dollar counts.

We couldn’t agree more.¬† To see Chris’ fund payout for the first time last year was amazing and we’re very excited about challenging a young man once again in January when the 2nd gift will be ready for disbursement.

If the evening had ended there, that would already have been more than I expected, but it didn’t.

Our Professor couple went home, read some more about Chris and the next day connected themselves with the fund financially.

Are you kidding me?

You have to be in our situation to really understand what that means, but for a couple, on a completely random and chance meeting, to think enough about what Chris’ fund will mean to future SFU students and citizens was amazing and humbling for us.

I have left that experience again inspired about Being The Best.

Deep heartfelt kindness from total strangers.

A deep understanding of how small decisions have major impacts with time.

For me, it provided another dose of energy as we recognize how impactful our words and actions can be.

And the lamb lollipops….perfect…I went back for seconds.

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Be The Best.

But back to the quilt…

Ok, more stories from the quilt.

After the funeral, we had friends and family pack up all the display tables of Chris’ lacrosse stuff, pictures etc.

It was days later when we realized that many people had brought items with them and left them on the tables in memory and honour of Chris.

It was amazing.  Necklaces, pendants, quilting squares!, lacrosse balls, jerseys and more.

The Burnaby Mountain Selects program meant so much to Chris and many of the guys brought their jerseys to the funeral and left them there.  When we found jersey after jersey at first we were confused.  Then we realized what happened and were simply overwhelmed with the thought behind that action.

One entire side of the quilt is dedicated to the the BMS family which really symbolizes the entire lacrosse family as these players came from different towns and different teams.  Some of them had been big opponents, but were now brothers-in-arms.

This quilt and that gesture of support and recognition will never be forgotten.  Thanks to everyone who brought something with them, wrote a note for Chris or to Chris or said a prayer or had a thought of support for us that day and for all the days since.

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Be The Best.

#32 in Denver this weekend!

A picture is worth a thousand words. ¬†You’ve heard that before, right here in this blog. ¬†Well take a look at this 1,000 word picture.

Chris learned so much from the Burnaby Mountain Selects program.  Their coaching and admin staff have been incredibly supportive during this time and of course these are the folks (Brent and Jeff) who coach the SFU Lacrosse team.

The news tonight is that the Burnaby Mountain Selects summer program which has teams going all over the place (New York, California, Denver etc) will be wearing the helmet stickers that you see above.  (Thanks Steve Lacoursiere and Brad Haima for rockin the original design)

They are playing in Denver this weekend.  Chris will be with you all in spirit boys!!  Be The Best.

To Joyce, Brent and Jeff, we extend our thanks for the honour of having Chris remembered throughout this season with the Burnaby Mountains Select players.  Extremely cool!

I also want to thank the many players and parents of the BMS program that so generously not only purchased the Chris Friesen lacrosse stick, but made amazing contributions to the fund in his memory. ¬†We can’t thank you enough!!

Boys…go win some lacrosse games. ¬†Better yet, keep learning how you can get better and listen to those coaches ok? ¬†They are the real deal.