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Be The Best.

The Beginning’s the End

Well – this is it.

The last blog post for now.

What does ‘now’ mean? 1 month, 1 year or another decade?

Not sure. That’s the thing about the future.

My favourite quote this year – Plans are worthless. Planning is everything. (President Eisenhower) Having lived through 2020 with all of you and the entire planet, I think we can all relate. Pandemics and lockdowns weren’t part of anyone’s plans. I hope.

The big ‘take away’ however, is by having had a plan, the very act of planning puts you in the right mindset to review, PIVOT (2020 mega word) and then move forward.

As I’ve put in probably 100 blog posts over the years, DECISIONS propel us forward. If a decision I make doesn’t get me closer to my goal, I am fully empowered to make another one. And again and again.

Chris passed away March 25, 2010. We think of him and miss him every single day. Holidays like Christmas only emphasize that. We’ve thought about the thousands across the world who have experienced their first Christmas without parents, grandparents and yes even children this week because of COVID. If you are reading this blog and that is your situation, we empathize and know how tough all those ‘firsts’ are. (continued below pics)

I will not try to candy coat things and say that ‘time heals all’ which is a phrase I disagree with having lived without my son for over 10 years. Time doesn’t heal. Time allows you perspective and gives you the amazingly wonderful opportunity to make choices. In the next 24 hours of my life, I will be able to make dozens of choices that can propel me forward or send me backward. Be The Best was what Chris was aiming to achieve. Aiming to be. His vision. His body of work showed us that the mix of vision and hard work paved that road. Although his journey was cut way too short, we’ll aim to live with that same thinking. That won’t bring Chris back. That won’t make us miss him less or wonder every day where life would have taken him. It will, however, propel us forward with purpose and encouragement to make choices that propel us forward and hopefully those around us as well.

All the very best to you until the next post – whenever that may be. πŸ˜‰ This end is simply another beginning. And so it goes! Decision made.

Chris’ is remembered forever with a memorial fund at Simon Fraser University that provides lacrosse playing student athletes a monetary award each year. The fund itself will live in perpetuity. Donations are tax deductible and can be made direct through SFU. The family has also pre-purchased Be The Best merch that allows all moneys raised to go directly to the SFU fund (minus handling expenses)

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Be The Best.

The Path Forward

The hills of Michigan. Nov 2020.

On a hike this weekend I was reminded of advice we use a lot in business circles – but is equally applicable to every day life. Think about where you’ve been (the past) 10% of the time and where you’re going 90%. As the November leaves covered much of the trail, going downhill could be a little slippery. I thought of a modification to that thinking.

Understanding where you’ve been is important. But don’t spend a lot of time there. 10% is good. 90% looking forward is also good, but the breakdown that hit me is that I needed to look down at my immediate next step about 45% of the time and look forward and around 45% of the time. Ok, that is probably too much math in a 10 year retrospective blog, but bear with me. If I don’t keep looking at my immediate future, I’ll lose my footing or not see an immediate danger and could fall. Then I’m out. That means the immediate is important. However, if I spend all my time on the immediate, I’ll never truly understand where I’m going. I need to see the fork in the road, the signs up ahead, the traffic coming towards me. This thought, like many things in life, seems contradictory but the paradox is powerful.

To see where you are going, you need to understand where you've been, pay close attention to your next step and lift your head constantly to see the path forward. 
This is the original ‘Be The Best’ picture and Chris was not happy I wanted him to pose for it after coming home from a lacrosse game. I like silhouettes however and I’m so happy he complied…under duress.

Chris would be 27 years old this year. Of course we think about that and where he would have gone to University, played lacrosse and what his career would be. Would he be married? Have a girlfriend? Ten years since his passing, he is in our thoughts every single day and probably 100 times per day. I don’t think that ever changes. We can’t bring him back to life here on earth and that is the 10% that we need to acknowledge but not stay there. Our decisions that we make day after day represents the present and immediate steps. The review of the future and making plans for the future, even though never forgetting, is the part that connects with lifting our heads and looking forward.

Who knew a hike through the woods could be so philosophical. Have a good week. πŸ˜‰

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2020 - 10 years later Be The Best.

This is how it feels.

As the Vancouver Canucks are on an epic playoff run unseen since 2011, bear with me as the topic of hockey continues to weave into this 2020 blog experience!

I remember so distinctly sitting with Max and Chris watching the Canucks getting eliminated by the BlackHawks in May of 2009. That happened again in 2010 a few months after Chris’ passing. It felt even worse. Back in 2009 as this despondent fan sat with two teenagers ready for glory and excitement but being exposed to the opposite, it was a key moment. In that snapshot of sadness I stated, ‘Boys, you now know how it feels to be a Canucks fan’.

Chris at Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto repping our home province of BC at a national lacrosse tournie.

Of course things stated at low moments don’t reflect the entire body of work or the overarching thinking because as soon as the puck dropped for the next season we were cheering as loud as ever only to have Chicago bounce the Nux again. That ended in 2011 with the historic run to the Stanley Cup Finals that I wrote about last week with Max and I present for Game 7 to watch the Canucks slay the dragon and move forward.

The point today, aside from being able to write about hockey, is that at the moment of loss in 2009 the boys understood what loss felt like, even though it is ultimately just sport. However, for those who have lost a child, you know that deep feeling of loss on an entirely different level. Something we would never wish on anyone. 10 years later, that feeling is still very present and can be brought back in an instant. I personally don’t believe in ‘recovery’ from grief or loss. It is part of our history, part of the present and helps shape the future although it doesn’t need to define the future. We don’t ‘move on’, but you move FORWARD, one decision at a time, building for the future but never forgetting the past.

Have a good week and GO CANUCKS GO!!!! As a public service, I’ve included all game times below. πŸ˜‰

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Be The Best.

Biking Birmingham (video)

A day does not go by without thinking of Chris that is for sure. Over ten years later – that does not change. For anyone going through loss – yes it stays with you but YES you can be happy again too. It is one of many paradoxes that are very real.

One thing you learn early on is that you gotta get up, make coffee and get rolling…some days more literally than others.

Birmingham, Michigan is a beautiful mini city and we took advantage today of the amazing weather. Hope you are enjoying your summer too – and for those in the Southern Hemisphere – your Winter days!

Of course Ingrid, always thinking, took some water in her Be The Best water bottle. If you want one of your own, you can choose from a variety of colours/colors with all proceeds going towards Chris’ fund. We have a bunch of stuff there paid for by the family so you can enjoy, remember Chris and have the money go directly to Chris’ fund with tremendous help and support of the crew at Martket Branding .

Have a great week.

Be The Best store link.

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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. πŸ˜‰
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. πŸ˜‰

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:

β€œPlans 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.

Chris and Physical Distancing?

Chris’ former lacrosse coach, Brent Hoskins, suggested (tongue in cheek) this week that Chris may have not done too well with physical distancing as it related to sport. Exactly right. Chris found a home playing defense in field and box lacrosse. Even his teammates didn’t like playing against him during drills because he took it seriously and when he had a chance to use that stick or physical strength he would…most usually inside the rules!

Chris (grey and black) playing for Langley Thunder. That poor number 7 dude was going down. Good for him for taking a hit cause the bulldozer was going to leave a mark.
Playing box lacrosse for Team BC. Chris (2), is ready to take a hit, make a hit but you’re not getting by him. Not this time.

Aside from getting bruised up themselves, that is exactly why Chris’ teammates loved him and he became an incredible leader. He was work first. Practice, games, whatever. He spoke to me a number of times post practices and games where he felt guys didn’t take things seriously enough on that night or period or shift.

So in this new world of physical distancing as we miss sport (and YES I MISS SPORTS VERY MUCH!!), Chris would have had an interesting time. But like all of us he would adapt, find new ways of doing things and move forward using a work ethic that became his brand.

Work first. Hit it hard and THEN coast. More on that later.

Miss ya Dude.

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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!) πŸ˜‰

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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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? πŸ˜‰ You get the guy thing about building something right? πŸ˜‰

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.Β  πŸ˜‰

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.Β  THANK YOU.

We’ve had the privilege to hand out four awards so far and number five will be handed out Feb 2015.Β  (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!