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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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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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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.

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.

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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Emily in prime time.

If you haven’t picked up on it, I’m trying to use the word prime or prime rib in every Holiday post this year…

So….you may have seen the video of the prime rib from Christmas Eve and my little niece Emily munching away.

She taught me a few more things.  Just before we sat down you can hear her saying, ‘I want to see, I want to see’, as her Mom was filming on the iPad with the big visible screen.  You can see as the height of the camera drops, revealing a different perspective…a different viewpoint.

Emily’s Mom Selena, told me a very cool story about just that; perspective and the ‘view’ of a child.

The name Chris (not our Chris) had come up in a conversation and Emily had piped up quite matter-of-factly stating, ‘My Chris is in heaven’.

Yes he is Emily…yes he is.

And then she went on playing.

I love the eyes of a child both literally and how they ‘see’ what many of us miss.

It’s a different perspective on many levels.

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No one loses today.

Blue Bombers Logo used from 1963-1994
Image via Wikipedia

Now that statement is wrong on a number of levels.

One team will win the Grey Cup and one team will not.

There has been loss for both football teams and that’s where it gets tricky.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost an assistant coach, Mr. Richard Harris earlier this season (July 2011).  By all counts he could be tough as a coach but a gentle giant…a father figure of sorts for the players. (newstory here)

The Lions of course lost Dylan Reichelt longtime game day assistant and son of Bill Reichelt, trainer extraordinaire.  Many Lions’ helmets will have DR stickers on them today.

So how does this all work?

Here’s what I’m thinking.

With Mr. Harris already up in heaven I think he has given a big welcoming bear hug to Dylan.  He may have asked Dylan who that guy was with him and why he’s carrying around a funny looking stick.  Oh that’s Chris, Dylan would say, my good bud from Langley…plays that strange field lacrosse game.  That would of course get Chris fired up and a good natured broohaha would occur, which is probably what we’re seeing/hearing with the current wind and rain storm outside my window at 5am this morning.

Anyhoo…I could see Richard giving Chris a big bear hug too and then deciding where they were going to watch the game.  Richard and Dylan, a little newer to the experience, may be concerned about the roof on BC Place and not seeing that well.  Chris, with now 20 months of experience would show them where to sit and how to see everything.

They’ll see two football teams playing for the Grey Cup.

They’ll see two football teams playing for people they loved.

They’ll see two football teams both winning, because no one loses today.

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Be The Best.

Who makes us what we are?

Now there’s a heavy question for your weekend.

If you haven’t read the latest few comments on this blog, take a look.  They are both from teachers of Dylan and Chris.

Our families have a huge influence on who we are.  How we’re raised, the home culture, values etc.

When I think of Chris, I can’t help but think of all the amazing influence outside the home that helped to shape him.  Teachers, coaches, trainers.

I was reading Dylan’s obituary today…(hard to even type that).  There are a few lines that so accurately describe him.

Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

Yes.  That is exactly Dylan.

Dylan comes from a great family and has been shaped by them of course, with the continual positive influence of teachers, coaches and mentors over time.

For all teachers and coaches…please know that your legacy reaches far beyond the achievement of a grade or success at a sport.  It shapes young men and women who in turn provide positive influence in their circles and beyond.  We continue to see that in Chris’ legacy as people all over are aiming to Be The Best.  We love it.

As we grieve for Dylan and his family, we know that the legacy of laughter, caring, acceptance, kindness and excellence will live forever.

Here is Dylan’s obituary in full with a link to the memorial site.

REICHELT, Dylan James February 4, 1993 – November 12, 2011

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our son Dylan James Reichelt, who died in a car accident on Saturday, November 12th, 2011. Dylan is survived by his parents, Bill and Cathy, sisters, Keri and Keira, twin brother, Jesse, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Born and raised in Langley, Dylan had a passion for golf, hockey, Iron Maiden, Manchester City FC, working out, refereeing, fishing, boating, video games, wakeboarding, wake surfing, steak, and Caesar salad.

He attended Murrayville Elementary, graduated from Brookswood Secondary in June 2011 and was in his first year of a business degree at Kwantlen University. Dylan enjoyed all forms of athletics, playing baseball, golf, soccer, ice hockey, street hockey with the boys, tennis in the park and he was always game to go to the gym. He enjoyed being a referee for Langley Minor Hockey and “”Gatorade”” boy for the BC Lions Home Games.

He was ranked #1 in points with the Maple leaf golf tour in BC and had been invited to the MJT National Tour Championships in Orlando, Florida, along with his best friend and brother, Jesse. Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

A celebration of Dylan’s life will be held on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 11:00 am at the Christian Life Assembly, 21277 – 56th Avenue, Langley. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to RBC, account #00608-003-5018650 in support of the Dylan Reichelt Memorial Fund.

Condolences may be offered at www.hendersonslangleyfunerals.com

Arrangements under the direction of Henderson’s Langley Funeral Home, Langley, BC.

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You gotta hear this one…

Ok, you gotta read this one, but you get the point.

I talked to a someone today who is leaving for a new job, a new adventure…following dreams, but very concrete dreams.

In our conversation it came out that I had said something about writing goals down a few years ago that caused some reflection.

That reflection became thoughts which became action in the form of goals being written down.

Those goals turned into visible reminders and invisible ones too that propelled further action in terms of a definable action plan which is really a series of small decisions that push one forward creating energy and momentum as you go.

We never know the impact our words and actions have on others.  Ever.

I saw what happened when we wrote goals down as a family…yes, every New Year’s Eve.  It was a tradition, but a very important one.

I saw how those goals helped each of us focus and achieve.

I used the question, ‘Are we doers or viewers?’ many times with the boys.

ie, Are we going to watch life go by or be actively engaged and help others along the way.

Seeing the impact Chris continues to have shows how much you can influence…even in a short 17 years.

We still see a stream of comments on his Facebook page and we know his words and actions are still inspiring many today, young and old….er.

I know it’s not quite New Year’s…but if you have goals that you’ve thought about in your head for a long time but that’s where they’ve stayed, I’d challenge you to write them down.

You’ll be amazed at the results.

Be The Best.