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Be The Best.

Maxing out a Sprint Triathlon

My personal lexicon was increased by a new phrase just a few weeks ago.

Sprint Triathlon.

I think that’s basically an oxymoron to start with.

Ok young readers.  This is probably the highest number of big words used in the opening of this blog ever…but in celebration of back to school just 4 weeks away, we’ll continue.

A sprint triathlon is a swim, bike and running race…except the distances are shorter than a full length event.

These are perfect events for those wanting a triathlon experience and are trying something new or simply want a shorter distance.

Don’t be fooled.  This is still an extreme sport!  750m in the pool.  That is a lot of lengths.  18k on the bike.  I get tired driving that far and usually would require 2 Starbucks stops.  5k running after all that? Yah right.

So…my son Max had a goal.  He was going to do this thing.  The Walnut Grove Triathlon.

Cool.  Except he didn’t really have a bike, didn’t have any specific training and didn’t know a soul who was going in this event.

I’m super proud of the kid.  He approached this like he was trying something new and what he didn’t know wasn’t going to stop him from trying. For example, he knew he didn’t have all the specialized gear but that didn’t get in his way.  He finished in 90 minutes exactly and was right in the middle of the pack.  That is an incredible result for trying an event for the first time without coaching or training with a team or the superior clothing and equipment of most racers.

It’s really Be The Best principle personified.

What I mean by that is Be The Best is about so much more than winning.  It’s about competing.  It’s about trying something new.  It’s about not letting the fear of the unknown get in your way.

IT’S ABOUT NOT KNOWING EXACTLY HOW YOU’RE GOING TO REACH A GOAL, BUT SETTING THE GOAL AND THEN STARTING FORWARD ANYWAYS!

Nice job Max.  We are very proud of ya!!

Here’s a little video proof.  Note: (Time clock on picture is not official for each racer because of a graduated start in the pool for the swim portion of the race. Max’s official time was 1:30:00 on the nose)

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Be The Best.

Germany, #2, Lacrosse and why you need to know.

Flag of British Columbia
Image via Wikipedia

The #2 is being proudly worn on a field lacrosse pitch in Germany this week and next.

Better yet, it’s representing Canada.

Even better yet, it’s a shout out to Chris on the back of Ashley Bull who at the age of 16 made the U19 National Field Lacrosse team for Canada.  She is the only player from British Columbia and very close to the youngest on the squad.

Her Grandfather, the legendary lacrosse figure Harvey Bull, told me the story of her getting #2 this past weekend at the boys Intermediate Box Lacrosse Provincial championships.

Team Canada players were assigned numbers, but before they went to Germany to represent our country, they were allowed to select the jersey numbers to wear.  Ashley has not traditionally chosen #2, but wanted to do it for Chris.  What that means to me and our family I cannot properly express.  As the story went, another girl also wanted #2.  Ashley told her the story of Chris and what he meant as an inspiration to her and her teammate kindly, graciously and wonderfully allowed Ashley to wear #2.

Is that Be The Best or WHAT???

You can read more of Ashley’s story here from a previous blog.

I understand from Ashley’s family that the flu is going through the team and knocked her out of at least the first game of the tournie.  Some things are in your control and some aren’t.  As the team heads into the second week of competition, we wish Ashley and all of our fellow Canadians the best of luck as they represent for Canada.

Although there is no TV or webfeed, you can connect on-line with scoring and the most up-to-date info is via Twitter.

I will be thinking of that #2 flying around the field and I know that the same ‘cloud box seats’ Chris had for the boys Provincial final will again be used by Chris and friends cheering on Team Canada in Germany.

GO CANADA GO!!

Ashley…thanks for doing Chris, Langley, British Columbia and Canada so very very proud!!

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Christian Friesen

From Be The Worst, to Be The Best!

Chris’ buds were battling it out on the lacrosse floor this weekend.

Of course they were!  The first weekend of real summer weather and all the lacrosse guys are inside in a sweaty arena.  As soon as the rain starts to fall, they’ll be back outside for field lacrosse.  And that’s how it goes!

Langley has battled to become a member of the lacrosse elite and this weekend having their Intermediate A (ages 17-18) team challenging for a provincial medal was a very good thing.

Fast forward.  After an excellent tournament, the Thunder are in the Bronze medal game.  They lose, they get nothing.  Near the beginning of the game the Richmond team calls for an equipment check on one of Langley’s top players, James Rahe.  They toss him out of the game for illegal equipment.  Guess what was illegal?  He was wearing one of Chris’ memorial wristbands!!

I simply couldn’t write this blog yesterday.

The words would have been much sharper.

At this point I’m not going to spend too much time on the decision, who made it and what their motivation was.   That call took a star player off the floor and ruined his chance to play in this Provincial bronze medal final.

That’s a Be The Worst moment.

Now…this story has a Be The Best moment too.

Langley was down by a goal with 30 seconds to go in the game.

A certain Mr. Danny Spady, a defensive specialist and one year younger than Chris, had the ball.  Chris loved playing with Danny.  He is a tenacious, aggressive, hard-working, never-quit kid….and he doesn’t score that much!  As was relayed to me he drove down the floor with the passion and aggression that only comes from playing for a cause.

Yes…the decision by the opposing coaching staff and the officials gave the boys just the extra cause they needed yesterday.

You take a guy off the floor for wearing Chris’ wristband…look out…the motivation just got cranked.

Danny’s goal pushed the game into overtime and Brett Dobray displayed his amazing hands and touch with I believe both goals which pushed Langley into the overtime lead (2-1) and sealed the deal for the Bronze Medal.

What a story.

Now…for the boys on Richmond, it was obviously not their call.  That responsibility lies directly with their coach and the officials and for the love of the game, I hope that kind of decision making is reviewed by the league.  For the boys themselves, Richmond had a great season and I wish them all the best with their next steps in lacrosse and life.

In life we know we can’t change what happened.  But what do we know? WE ARE IN CHARGE OF OUR NEXT DECISION!!  We can be in charge of our next shift.  Our next shot.  Our next thought process.

As I texted one of Langley’s players when I heard this news, I’m sure Chris had a few things to say about the incident yesterday from his ‘season ticket cloud seats’ and I know that he is with you all….always!!

Great job Langley.

Way to turn a negative into an amazing BE THE BEST moment.

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Be The Best.

Skiing in June?

A closeup of the Grouse Mountain skyride
Image via Wikipedia

Max heard Grouse Mountain was still open for skiing and boarding.

Really?

In June?

Max came up with the crazy plan of hitting the slopes on his birthday (or 1 day before)…something never before attempted.

Sure enough, with an enormous base, Grouse is aiming to remain open on weekends till July 1.  Judging by the snow conditions today, they’ll be pushing it, but skiing on local mountains in June?  Are you kidding me?  What an experience.

So with my Canadian Hockey jersey given to me by Chris on the Christmas just before the Olympics, I joined Max and Kiera as we avoided a few rocks and a bunch of grass and had a great day.

Of course we had to shoot a little vid for proof!

We ended the day with dinner at the beach.

Only in Vancouver!

Happy 20th Max.  Hopefully the Nux will bring home the Cup for your birthday tomorrow.

I know your brother gives you the biggest virtual hug possible…and maybe a punch or two on the arm…you are brothers after all.

 

 

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Be The Best.

Getting the exposure right.

We’re spending more time at Chris’ wall than we thought we might.

We know his spirit is with us every day and everywhere, but there is something about that place.

We love the trees.

Something about these silent, magnificent soldiers that don’t say much, but quietly breathe oxygen into the atmosphere as the wind brushes through.

They stand guard through sun, wind, snow and rain.

I finally brought my decent camera and have a few photos here.

If you ever go, we want you to think about Chris’ amazing life, his passion and commitment to Being the Best and as you reflect…think about how you’ll be the best too.

It’s a never-ending challenge in the best of ways!

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Be The Best.

The ABC’s of Family

Went for breakfast this morning at ABC.

Reasonable food, reasonable service…but I’ll save the eatery critique for my other blog…’Eating Your Way Through the Fraser Valley’, coming in 2014.  Wait for it.

The purpose for the breakfast was to see if my vision of Mom and Dad on Friday night was simply a dream sequence or actually real.

I took a camera along to be sure.

I remember just a couple of months back when Dad was so sick, thinking of our mountain biking experience last summer and simply making the schedule work to make that connection work.

Breakfast today was simply another opportunity to make the schedule work so we could connect, share some stories, have a few laughs and maybe a few sad stories too.

All part of being a family.

I guess the moral of the story is that any time and any experience can be a good one and continue to renew and deepen the bond.  Even a simple breakfast.

Here’s the pictorial evidence.

A respectful pose with Randy, Dad, Mom and sister Val.
The funny thing about this pic is that it looks like Mom is giving Dad the 'rabbit ears'...or maybe she actually is!
Max, Dad and Mom.
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Be The Best.

When the wind kicks up, you’re bound to get a few Whitecaps

250
Image via Wikipedia

Sports has been a big part of our family.

Whether coaching the boys soccer teams, Max playing basketball and Chris lacrosse.

Then there was the fan part of sports.

Tonight Ingrid and I ventured out to our first Whitecaps soccer game.

It was a fantastic experience…aside from the referee who felt he should be the center of attention, but alas before this becomes a sports rant, I’ll stop.  (cause if I don’t I’ll probably get a red card seeing as they were being handed out like candy tonight) ((ok, I’ll really stop now))

The crowd was great.  The game was great.  The atmosphere was great.  The company was great.

One of the first things Ingrid said to me as we sat down was what do you think Chris would think of the soccer team, MLS in Vancouver etc.  I said I knew he would love it and given the open air atmosphere of Empire Field, he probably had the best seats in the house tonight.

I will never forget the Canucks playoff run and disappointment last year and the anticipation of a BIG run this year.

It was riveting and was a great distraction in very tough times.  I think though, it was more than just a distraction.  It reminded me of the passion that only comes from sports.  The kind of passion that Chris lived with.  I think that’s the true attraction.

When the winds kick up and the storm is blowin, there are bound to be a few whitecaps on the water.  We’ve seen a few of those in our family this past year!

However, it was the Whitecaps tonight, that offered that wonderful first-hand look into the purity and passion of sport and remind us both of another amazing athlete and son we know, love and remember with every heartbeat.

yfrog Photo : http://yfrog.com/gyuyzlrj Shared by randy_friesen.

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Be The Best.

Where to start.

Yah, that’s right.

I said where to start.  It’s been a second but it’s been a year all at the same time.

I thought I might end this blog today, but I think I have about 365 blog posts after yesterday and today alone, so we’ll just get to them one by one!

Laying Chris’ ashes to rest inside the heavy granite chamber of the cemetery niche wall had a sense of finality to it, but also an amazing sense of peace.  It was simply the right thing to do.  Not only will we have a place to go and stand in the middle of these huge trees, but so will others.

This is truly a place that anyone of you can go and think and talk to Chris or remember.  We just love seeing Chris’ friends.  They are changing so much.  Getting so mature as they move towards their graduation milestones.  But more on that later.

The emotion sort of flowed a little for me at that moment of release.  I realized that I had personally watched over my son from the hospital to the funeral home, the service at the church, and then back to the funeral home and then every day for the last year.

On March 25, 2011 it was time to let go a little.

Not let go of Chris.  He is more part of me than ever before.

Simply, it was time to let go and let others also have a more physical connection to his memory.

Something that will live forever.

The bronze name plate is on its way, so you’ll see a simple laminated paper scan of the work for the next few weeks.

You are welcome anytime….between 9 and dusk that is!

Dogwood 41.

AC was there and sang Love Shines in the middle of those amazing trees.  It was awesome.  Not only that, she had set her sights on completing her new CD on March 25 and wouldn’t you know it, she picked up 2,000 copies that morning.  We’ve played it all weekend.  Love it Cath.

I want to invite you all to her gala concert at the wonderfully acoustic Matsqui Auditorium in Clearbrook on Sat, April 16.  (Yes, that is on the VALLEY side of the Port Mann Bridge for my Vancouver readers…(just a little running joke with some of you!))

I’m pretty proud of that girl.  You can read a great newspaper story on her music here.

Here’s a few pics from the cemetery so you get a sense.

At 2:32:41 we released some balloons and looked up and said hi to Chris.

I know many of you did too.

Love it.

As we watch balloons go up, you see the walls in the background guarded by the trees.
Balloons released. Nice shot Max!
Temporary marker...you get a sense of how it will look.
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Be The Best.

How to make today great.

Chris and Max jump the California surf (summer 2009)

I slept pretty well, but woke up early…like 4am early.

Is that an oxymoronish statement?  Maybe…but it’s an interesting insight into our world.

I did sleep well, just not all that long.

Today is not necessarily a great day…or is it?

Obviously as we mark one year to the day that we lost Chris there are a lot of emotions flowing through our minds and bodies.  We wish so deeply we could give him a real hug and see him again here on earth.  But we can’t.

But we can continue to make choices.  We can continue to live with a strong purpose.  We can use Chris’ passion to fuel us on our journeys.  We can continue to strive to Be The Best in everything we do.

Here’s three things that can help make today great.

1. Hug someone you love today.  (if you’re at work, make sure this isn’t an awkward moment..!!) 😉

2. Give something away. (not money…I’m talking about a smile, your expertise, a compliment, word of encouragement)

3. Live on purpose with purpose. This is the core of the Be The Best thinking.

Is today going to be hard? Probably…they all are.

Is today going to be great? With every ‘I’m the Captain of my Soul’ ounce of energy I have, I will keep making decisions all day long to make this day as great as possible.  One of the ‘greatest ever’.

(To understand that last paragraph you need to reference the Invictus blogs and The Best Day Ever blog)

Sort of makes saying, ‘Have a Great Day!’ a little deeper doesn’t it?

I THANK all of you for your support reading this blog and your thoughts and prayers throughout this year.

Be The Best.

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Be The Best.

2, 32, 41

No, those are not a sequence of numbers uttered by a football quarterback.

Those are jersey numbers Chris wore and was known for.

#2 in Langley.

#32 for Burnaby Mountain Selects

#41 proudly representing the great province of British Columbia

Tomorrow, March 25, is quite a day.

One year ago we lost our son.

Not a day or hour goes by without a thought of him.  Most hours the thoughts continue minute by minute.

We have found a place for people to come and remember Chris.

His ashes will remain forever at the Langley Lawn Cemetery at 208 and 44th.

It’s a beautiful place with 6 granite memorial walls in a stand of trees near 208th avenue.

When we went to view the walls, we found that two of the six walls were dedicated to individuals and four to couples.

One was called Maple and one was called Dogwood.

Wouldn’t you know it, Maple 32 was available as was Dogwood 41.

Maple 32 is amazing because the BMS logo is a Maple Leaf.

Dogwood 41 is amazing because Dogwood is the provincial flower and 41 was the number Chris wore for the province when he played at the Nationals in 2009.

Because of a few logistical reasons, we’ve chosen Dogwood 41 as the final resting place.

It’s a beautiful place to go.

Our family will be there tomorrow, joined a bit later by a few of Chris’ friends.  We wanted to show them personally where they can go to remember Chris so that they in turn can show others.

The journey continues, but this is a huge step for us.

I know my Dad in the ICU in Vernon is with us in spirit as is my Mom from Vernon and other family that can’t be with us personally. (health update: Dad is inching forward…very slow, but steady right now which is good)

Although tomorrow is a day for family and Chris’ close friends, we welcome anyone over the next weeks and months to stop by and spend a few minutes in thought about how passionately Chris lived his life and how he was determined to Be The Best.

I’ll never forget him writing down the goal of making the A1 Langley Thunder Lacrosse team.

I’ve never seen a kid so driven to achieve that goal.  He made it.  It was amazing.

Thanks for your continued support and all the thoughts and prayers coming our way this week.

We feel it!

PS

At 2:32 and 41 seconds, we will be looking up at the sky and saying hi to Chris.

If you want to take a quick look up at the sky at any time tomorrow and say hi to Chris, please do!  I know he would love it.  Dad…that’s you too!!  I know you can see the sky from your hospital bed!!

PPS

This blog has never been about money and never will be, but some people have asked what else they can do.  We will continue to give to Chris’ fund every year via Simon Fraser University’s giving program.  It’s a way to remember Chris and also challenge a new athlete every year to Be The Best.  The University has just set up a direct link for Chris’ fund.  They handle all donation receipts etc directly.  Here’s the link.