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Be The Best.

Leaf it to me.

Inspiration: (kind of) https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/leaves/process

I have never read a more scientific document on how and why leaves change color. Completely non-emotional. Just the facts.

Take this nugget. “All leaves gradually lose chlorophyll during the growing season, and this loss accelerates before leaf fall. Under optimal conditions this process of chlorophyll loss is very orderly and allows the plants to resorb much of the nitrogen in the structure of the pigment molecule. Carotenoid pigments are also lost from the plastids during aging, but some of them are retained in the plastids after the chlorophyll is removed; this produces autumn leaves with yellow colors.”

Does this inspire you with amazing thoughts of color and nature’s beauty? Didn’t think so. How about the picture of the red maple? The maple leaf? Hopefully a bit better. Yah, I know I’ve probably written way too many blog posts about the Fall but it’s my favourite season. Part of it is the color of the season but a growing fascination with Fall is the science behind the season. The loss of leaves is a part of nature’s way of readying the tree for the winter and preparing to grow again in the spring. The act of dormancy and shedding of the very things that symbolize life in the shape of leaves, is part of the longer term vision of healthy growth over time.

To gain further insight, I needed something much simpler, so I watched this video aimed at 8 year old kids. The key take away – trees shut down the food factory going into Winter. Ok, that’s a great way to see it. A season is over and the tree must get ready for winter and hunker down.

Whether you are experiencing loss or like all of us, preparing for a COVID inspired winter season ahead, I wish you well in the preparations. Strangely, even in loss and working through tough transitions, there can be beautiful moments as the colored leaves remind us each year.

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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. ūüėČ
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. ūüėČ

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:

‚ÄúPlans are worthless, but planning is everything.‚ÄĚ

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!) ūüėČ

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? ūüėČ You get the guy thing about building something right? ūüėČ

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.

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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Be The Best.

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.

Let’s play lacrosse already!

English: Flag of the Iroquois Confederacy, Hia...

When Chris played for Team BC in the Box National tournament in Ontario as a 14 year-old, we witnessed some amazing lacrosse.

Of particular note was team Iroquois.  They were small, but fast and they never ever gave up.

I’ve written about them before but was reminded of them again this week when a video link was sent my way.

Johnny Powless played at that tournment and was a lacrosse wonderkid.  Sort of Gretzky-like.

Amazing with the ball, without the ball and knowing where the play was going at all times.

This video link shows Powless scoring a goal in the NLL a few weeks back.¬† He’s just 18.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Chris is still watching this kid go.

At the tournment back a few years ago, BC won the Bronze in an epic battle with Alberta.¬† We all stayed to watch Iroquois Nation go against Ontario.¬† Truly David vs Goliath.¬† I’m literally getting goose bumps as I type this remembering the game.

The Ontario team was HUGE.¬† They have a massive population and they could have had 3 or 4 top teams and still been competitive.¬† The Iroquois team was small.¬† But they didn’t give up.

I know they made a big impact on the BC boys watching.  In many ways it was the early days of Be The Best.

Yes, Iroquois did prevail to win the gold in one of the most fantastic lacrosse games I’ve ever seen.

Here’s Johnny doing his thing today.¬† I’m wearing my purple Iroquois t-shirt with pride today and still have the hand- made wooden lacrosse sticks dangling from the rear view mirror of our car.

Watch a little Be The Best in action…and this kid is only beginning.