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Be The Best.

The Elephant.

You know that expression, the elephant in the room?

Today is sort of one of those days.

Many people close to us know that today is 3 months since Chris’ passing.

Many have expressed their awareness and support and many have silently acknowledged that they know.

Yes, it is 3 months to the day.  That’s the elephant.  It’s ok to say.

In three short months we’ve (that’s all of us) built a fund at SFU that will live forever in Chris’ name.

In three short months we’ve all aimed to Be The Best! in some personal endevour.

In three short months we’ve all questioned why, but have learned to look forward by proceeding with one decision at a time.

In three short months, the new normal is slowly forming.

In three short months our worlds have changed forever.

In three short months we have identified with William Ernest Henley in his poem, Invictus.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

In three short months, we’ve learned that CHOICE is the secret weapon to our amazing futures!

In three short months, we’ve learned how much we still love Chris and miss Chris and wish he was here.

We know that won’t change, but we’ve learned that we will honour him and his memory forever by our actions, choices and how we treat people.

That’s a lot to learn in three short months.

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Be The Best.

Chris Friesen Inspirational Award

Chaz Williams is a student from Brookswood Secondary.

He was the very first recipient of the Chris Friesen Inspirational Award given out by the School last week.

With permission, this is from a message that Chaz sent me.

Chaz…this is awesome.  This is Be The Best!  This is inspirational.  Great work.  We are all proud of you!!

—————

Chaz – I was the first recipient of this award given out from Brookswood. This was the speech. He says many great things about Chris so I thought you would like to hear it. It was written by our weight training teacher.

Teacher – I feel privileged to be able to give out the Chris Friesen Inspirational Award because we get to remember a student who was an inspiration to students, teachers and his community. As well, we get to recognize the recipient who demonstrates many of the same qualities that Chris showed. As a PE student Chris was one of the best. He arrived to class with a smile on his face, and he had a laugh that was contagious.

When it came time to get down to business, his commitment to fitness was second to none. Chris always worked to achieve excellence in athletics and academics. If he missed a class due to his Lacrosse schedule he would take the initiative to find out what he had missed so he could get it done and keep his “A” average. What I most admired about Chris was how he carried himself amongst his peers often joking but also knowing when the joke was over. He was very outgoing in the hallways and was well respected by the entire school.
Much like Chris, the recipient of this award has demonstrated the following characterisitcs:

-a dedication to fitness

-a drive for high academics

-kindness and compassion

-a sense of social responsibility

– accepting others as equals

The recipient of this award was not a hard person to find. He is the guy walking down the hallway with a smile on his face stopping to talk to someone before making his way on to another friend. His commitment to fitness has allowed him to be one of the most well conditioned students in the school.

This year he made up his own workout program which included 20 mins of continuous skipping and 40 mins of core strengthening. I asked him what his goals were in fitness and he said that it just makes him feel good. This past Friday at 4:00, I saw him as he was doing extra credit work to try and get an “A” in his English class. This student is truly a great inspiration to all of us.

Please join me in congratulating the winner of the Chris Friesen Inspirational Award, Chaz Williams!

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Be The Best.

Be The Best. Next Generation.

Ethanator’s Mom (Selena, Frank’s wife, Frank is Ingrid’s brother, Selena is my sister-in-law…got it?) sent me this pic a few days back.

Now that is what I’m talking about!!  Great job Ethan….doing the victory pose.

My father was a speed reader.  I remember him trying to teach us the techniques he had learned at the speed reading course.  One of the first exercises was to turn pages quickly…without even reading them.  Why?  It was part of training your brain to take in info quicker than you thought possible.  In essence you were training your brain to behave in a position of success as it pertains to speed reading.  (btw, my Dad at 79 can still outread anyone in my opinion.  Call him up in Vernon if you want a race…my money will be on him!)

Remember playing road hockey as kids?  What did you always do?  Lift your hockey stick in victory for scoring the big goal…even if you hadn’t scored yet.

It’s all part of practicing to be successful.

That’s why I love this picture so much.  Sure, Ethan is imitating the lacrosse silhouette Be The Best pose from his big cousin Chris, but he is also (whether he consciously knows it or not) training his brain to be a champion.

Now that’s BE THE BEST!

Rock your week.

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Be The Best.

Invictus

We recently watched the movie Invictus.

Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela and team captain François Pienaar, is played by Matt Damon.

What an stunning movie about change and choice in South Africa.  Mandela’s ability to forgive after 27 years in prison was amazing.  And not just forgive, but move to unite a country.  Quite an incredible story with the game of rugby serving as the stage.  The poem Invictus was used as inspiration several times…especially the last few lines:

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

If that is not about the ability to choose…the ability we all have to decide how we will determine the future, I don’t know what is.

We can’t change the past, but we can change the future; one decision at a time.

Here’s the poem in it’s entirety.  For more info on the author, Henley, click this link. He knew a few things about adversity.

Invictus
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley

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Be The Best.

Lions, Eskimos and Fathers

Ok, perhaps a weird combination but I can explain.

Max took me to the BC Lions home opener today against the Edmonton Eskimos.

It was a big deal for a few reasons.  First, anytime Max and I can hang out together is cool.  It was also great to see so many father and son and father and daughter combos at the game today.  Great stuff for creating those memories!  Additionally, this was the first game at Empire Field, the new temporary home of the Lions and the home of old Empire Stadium which had so much history.  It was great to share some memories and build some new ones with Max today.

Thanks Bud!

Here’s a quick vid from our adventure.  The Lions have done a great job with the PNE folks.  The stadium puts you right on top of the action.  Make sure you check it out this summer!

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Be The Best.

U is for underwear

I knew a month ago I would be writing this post.

I knew what I was going to write about.

I knew what I was going to show you.

I love being a father.  I was 25 when Max came along, perhaps young by today’s averages but I was ready.  Chris joined the family 19 months later.  It was Ingrid, Randy, Max and Chris for 17 glorious  years.  I loved every Father’s Day, but especially loved the handmade cards, breakfasts and little gifts.  Of course that changes as your kids grow, but there is one gift that has stayed in my bedside table drawer all these years.  An alphabet book from Chris (age 6ish), called Dad’s Alphabet Book.  Each letter included a priceless connection between father and son and we shared many laughs over the years at the pictures and the captions.  (You see a few of the pages below)  We would always come back to the letter ‘u’.

U – underwear is what you sleep in.

I don’t know why that was so funny…but it was and it is still is.

Chris knew how much this little book had meant and he had actually began a draft of a new alphabet book at my urging.  Yah, I know, with him being 17, I could only guess the ‘Family Guy’ type humour that would be utilized, but I guess I’m going to have to wait to see that finished product.

Now I must say that Max was exceptionally thoughtful and surprised me earlier this week with tickets for the 2 of us to see the BC Lions play on Sunday at the old Empire Stadium site which will be great.  Thanks MAX!! I’m looking forward to it!

Tonight though, on the eve of  Father’s Day, I wanted to share with you this alphabet book to help us all to remember that it is the smallest of things that can mean the most.  This gift did not cost any money, but it was and is PRICELESS.

Chris, I LOVE YOU.

Your Dad forever.

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Be The Best.

Water and life.

Guichon Creek on the BCIT campus. May 17, 2010.

At lunch today I decided to take a short walk only minutes from my Burnaby office.  Just behind the hum and drone of Willingdon Ave, there is a magical little path that takes you along Guichon Creek which flows through the BCIT property.  That creek has been amazingly restored by Mark Angelo, BCIT colleagues and students.  Mark is the Chair of the Rivers Institute at BCIT and Founder of World Rivers Day.  In any event, hearing that water today and being transported into that natural setting just steps from the urban sprawl was energy needed at the right time.

Chris turns 16. Jan 14, 2009.

I was going to do something different tonight for the blog, but I came across this picture of Chris when he turned 16 on January 14, 2009.  I couldn’t stop looking at it.  I miss him so much.   Here’s the most bizarre thing.  It hadn’t rained here all night and just as I was staring at the picture, a rain shower pounded down for a couple of minutes and then was gone.  Now I realize it rains all the time here in the Vancouver area!  I get it.  But that burst of rain tonight brought the same feeling that the sound of the stream brought today at lunchtime.  Water is so integral to our lives and for whatever reason we’ve always loved the sound of water from the waves of Hawaii to the surf of Oregon and California or the gentle tides of White Rock.

Water brings life.  When I hear it, I think of Chris and the amazing life he lived.  Love ya kid.