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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.

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Be The Best.

Snow way

I told you I was going to throw every pun I could into the 2020 version of the blog and combine with as many Dad jokes as possible.

April 17, 2020. Yup.

Snow in April? Snow way! Yup, it’s true. For those of you on the West Coast – yah, you are laughing as you read this, physical distancing your way around Vancouver’s Seawall. I get it. I used to snicker at the weather in the east as well. I’m paying a heavy price now for all those years of jokes. 😉

In all reality, snow is not that uncommon in April – it just doesn’t feel right. That said, it comes and goes and we know that warmer spring and summer weather will follow. In recent weeks, I’ve had a chance to reflect and discuss Jim Collin’s leadership concept of facing the brutal facts, using Winston Churchill as an epic example. If you have 3 minutes, read this excerpt. If we are overly optimistic and have our hearts set on a date or outcome we have a much higher probability of being highly disappointed or worse. From a leadership perspective this can be a bigger concern. Leadership by personality will generally not be as lasting as leadership by facing the facts with the team. If we force ourselves to face the BRUTAL FACTS, we are more likely to be able to address those issues and then find a way to win today and then again tomorrow. It is a strange combination (duality) of having a longer term positive outcome (ie, we’ll get out of COVID, we’ll be happy again after loss) with the immediacy of dealing with the facts of today, ie, my income is dropping by x and I need to do three things per day to push forward and see how I can address that…or, I will not see my son again in this lifetime – how am I going to live the rest of my life? I know that’s blunt, but that is the kind of thing we must do, in my opinion. (Remember, I ain’t a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV).

So, weather (see what I did there?) you are facing sun, cloud, rain or snow today, I trust you can face any brutal facts in your situation and then prepare an action plan for dealing with those things.

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Be The Best.

SFU, CFMA, NOT COVID

Ok, time for a COVID time-out. This post isn’t about COVID for a change. Nevertheless, stay safe, masked and gloved – ok, that doesn’t sound great. Moving on. (seriously…be safe!) 😉

SFU is Simon Fraser University and CFMA is the Christian Friesen Memorial Award. Read on.

Mason Hicks. Know the name? If you are familiar with lacrosse in British Columbia you might. For the wider circle around the globe, you may get to know Mason in the future. He is one of the recipients of the 2020 Chris Friesen Memorial Award. That means he’s a very hard worker, has a team first attitude and is the kind of guy that will continue to achieve goals and help others around him do the same.

Mr. Mason Hicks

He’s finishing up at Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Science as a chemistry major and is completing a forensics certificate as well.

He wrote me and stated, ‘I am very grateful to be awarded this memorial award again. Brent Hoskins  told me that I am the first ever two-time winner of this award while playing with SFU lacrosse which makes it even more special. I have had an amazing four years with SFU and am looking to finish off my final courses over this next year.  I just got drafted to the Senior A Burrards and am very excited to take this next step in my life. I hope to continue playing the game of lacrosse as long as I can and eventually give back to the game because it has done so much for me. Thank you again for all that you do for this program.’

I contacted Mason to see if he was ok for me to write about him a bit and he graciously agreed.

When I see how powerful sport and education is and the beauty of lacrosse in particular with an SFU education, we are delighted to have a small role in helping young men like Mason focus on their studies and take a little financial pressure off for a term as well as providing an opportunity for recognition of hard work and team play.

And of course when I say WE it’s the greater WE as so many of you have added to Chris’ memorial fund directly or through the store which will be active till the end of 2020. THANK YOU. Very cool that the fund will continue to provide financial awards forever and each year we’ll get to celebrate players who positively influence the circle around them and that reach will only grow over time.

Congrats Mason. Read more about Mason’s stats here.

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Be The Best.

Yesterday in 20/20

You know that famous song right? Yesterday by the Beatles. Yah – those guys. Just to remind you if you aren’t humming it already, here’s the first verse.

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

That could be our anthem in 2020. Given COVID-19, yesterday or yesteryear is looking pretty good right now.

There’s a funny letter circulating on social media currently about 2020 being cancelled and we’d be better off with 2016 which at the time looked horrible, but now looks amazing in retrospect. 20/20 vision is always available when looking at the past. It’s a little harder when you look forward.

Yesterday can always look good and that is a classic song and totally understandable lyric especially as it relates to lost love. It’s been covered over 2,200 times and is still popular in 2020. Want to know more, check out my crack source, Wikipedia.

It’s tougher looking to the future, especially when some yesterdays are looking so good at present.

When Chris passed away I would have given anything to have him back. It’s an anguish I would never wish on my worst enemy. I still feel the same today and especially this week as March 25, 2020 marked 10 years to the day. I truly long for yesterday but strangely am more possessed than ever about the future. It’s based on one fact that regardless of religious or political views we must all believe in. It’s irrefutable. That is, we can’t go back in time as much as that is appealing to think about.

So onward we go, propelled by decisions about how we are going to shape the future, help people as we go and hopefully provide a sense of future and purpose to ourselves and those in our circles.

Me and Mrs. Friesen online w friends for virtual happy hour during COVID. After work hours of course…

Stay safe. Hug (virtually) those around you. Tip: We had so many people approach us over the years and say, ‘I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say’. Just folks saying/typing/texting/posting ‘I’m not sure what to say but thinking of you’, meant a lot. If you are thinking about calling, emailing or facetiming someone today who has suffered loss or is going through a loss of job or is socially isolated with COVID-19 – just do it. Words and deeds have never been more powerful.

We can have 20/20 vision about yesterday, but here in 2020 we’ll step forward and shape our tomorrow even though we know it’s impossible to see everything ahead.

BONUS: You remember my sister, AC (Auntie Cathy to Chris and many of you). She’s doing an online event on Sunday, March 29. It will be an amazing way to connect for many. As it starts at 10:30 PM eastern, I’ll be sleeping cause I’m old, but they are going to record the event as well. Just another way to stay connected and uplifted in strange times.

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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? 😉 You get the guy thing about building something right? 😉

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.  😉

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.