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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Both Mom and Dad were very ill and ended up in different parts of the hospital at the same time.
Their recovery was equally amazing and although my Dad had a few more surgeries than expected and now lives with an ileostomy and Mom continues her chemo fight…you’d probably have a hard time figuring that out.
Well, Mom is walking around town to her appointments, hiking and volunteering at a local thrift store and Dad is speaking to groups of seniors and others about his experiences and oh yah, going skiing!
I didn’t hear this week’s report, but last Friday night after a layoff of over a year, the boards were slapped on as this soon to be 81 years young Great Grandfather hit the slopes.
Now that’s a ski lesson for all of us, whether we ski or not.
Mom and Dad, we wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
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.
One of the things I love about Saturday mornings is watching a little Premier League Soccer as the schedule permits. With games as early as 5 and 7am, the timing works well with the newspaper and a good cup of coffee.
I love the skill, the speed, the set-up and I love those British announcers use of the English language. Their phrasing and commentary adds a poetic quality to the experience.
We’ve played a lot of noon hour soccer with my work gang over the years.
It’s not quite at Premier League level…but you wouldn’t know it from the locker room stories told just after the match.
When you play sports and you are in the heat of the moment field-of-play one thing you’ll hear is players shouting to other players. Usually instructions come in bursts of 2 or 3 repeats. Move the ball, move the ball, MOVE THE BALL…all increasing in urgency.
Ok, that last one is what gets yelled at me a lot, so maybe I’m just sensitive. Joking aside, I’ve wondered about this form of communication and liken it to military instruction in the heat of the battle. You want to be clear about your communication and there’s no time to waste with niceties.
One of the most interesting lines I’ve heard a million times on the soccer pitch is, ‘the way you face’.
When you are playing soccer the objective is pretty clear. You need to score on the opponent’s goal. In order to do this you should be moving the ball forward toward the enemy’s net.
However, many times you don’t receive the ball in a position where going forward makes the most sense.
In other words, if you receive the ball and you happen to be turned towards your own goal, your natural instinct may be to make an immediate turn and try to push the ball forward.
That could be the worst move.
When you hear, ‘the way you face’, ‘the way you face’, ‘the way you face’, it’s a reminder from your teammate to gain control of the ball and move the ball in the direction you are facing at the time which may appear counterproductive but ultimately allows your team to go forward.
I’ve thought about that phrase a lot in the game of life.
Sometimes turning too quickly and trying to push forward to the opponent’s goal is not the right move.
Playing the way you face, ie passing the ball ‘backwards’ before your team moves the play forward again protects possession and ultimately provides a greater opportunity to score.
Too heavy on the soccer analogies?
I think I may get another Americano and watch game 2 of the Premier League.
Last year Ingrid picked out an ornament of a dove with a soft light that reminded us of Chris being with us.
We really liked it, but we thought Chris might have thought it was….well too dove-like with a soft light…
This year we wanted to get another ornament that reminds us that Chris is with us.
Yup, Adrian Peterson.
Now that’s what I’m talking about!
This is the first NFL ornament we’ve ever had.
It’s the first football ornament we’ve ever had.
So why Adrian?
For long time blog readers you will know.
Chris had a picture of Adrian Peterson from the Minnesota Vikings with BE THE BEST printed on top of it.
It was a home-made personalized poster that Chris used for motivation.
Adrian Peterson is not a tall guy, but he’s strong, fast and will never go down without a fight.
When we saw it at the local Hallmark store, it was obvious which ornament needed to be on the tree this year.
I think our tree ‘cool factor’ just climbed a little and we know Chris will be grinning about this one.
Be The Best.
We continue to be amazed at the power of those three words and how they push us and so many of you.
Although the pain of loss still pounds through our bones like a West Coast grey mist that never quite clears, the power to continue to fight and carry on is embodied in guys like Adrian Peterson who inspired Chris who inspires us to Be The Best every day…and when we’re not, we pick ourselves up, go back to the huddle, get a new play and push ahead for another first down.