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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
SFU portal will open this coming week (I’ll post when it’s live)
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!!
For those that give, you’ll get an email from Martket (Brent’s company and yes that is the correct spelling!)
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.
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.
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.