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Be The Best.

Good Grief – v2

One of the most read blog posts over the years was about Charlie Brown and that other Charlie, Charles Dickens. I reread that blog post recently almost 10 years to the day it was written. All of it true in 2020. The massive UPS and DOWNS we are all feeling through COVID are very similar to the feelings of loss. Is grief good? No – it sucks, just to be clear. However grief doesn’t exist if a deep love didn’t exist first. Here’s a reproduction of that post:

I was thinking about Charlie Brown today.  Not really about Snoopy or Lucy or that piano dude…remember?  Schroeder. I was remembering one of Charlie Brown’s catch phrases….’good grief’.  After my extensive (4 minute) search on the history of ‘good grief’ I found….not much.  A euphemism for “Good God”, dating back to the 1900’s and of course an ‘Arrested Development’ TV episode from 2004?

I also thought about this quote…ok, you Grade 11 and 12’s…you should know this one.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way..

Got it?  Yes, that Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities.  Sure, that was written in the 1800’s, but it is a pretty accurate description of grief I think.  I’ve seen a lot about stages of grief and I’m sure that is probably true, but right now it is more like a pretty big yo-yo.  You go up and down between the extremes of the ‘best of times’ remembering, laughing, joking, smiling and dive down to the ‘worst of times’, missing, aching, dreaming of the missed future etc.

Good Grief? Maybe that Charlie Brown was a lot smarter than I ever thought…but I think Lucy knew that all along.

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Be The Best.

Snow way

I told you I was going to throw every pun I could into the 2020 version of the blog and combine with as many Dad jokes as possible.

April 17, 2020. Yup.

Snow in April? Snow way! Yup, it’s true. For those of you on the West Coast – yah, you are laughing as you read this, physical distancing your way around Vancouver’s Seawall. I get it. I used to snicker at the weather in the east as well. I’m paying a heavy price now for all those years of jokes. 😉

In all reality, snow is not that uncommon in April – it just doesn’t feel right. That said, it comes and goes and we know that warmer spring and summer weather will follow. In recent weeks, I’ve had a chance to reflect and discuss Jim Collin’s leadership concept of facing the brutal facts, using Winston Churchill as an epic example. If you have 3 minutes, read this excerpt. If we are overly optimistic and have our hearts set on a date or outcome we have a much higher probability of being highly disappointed or worse. From a leadership perspective this can be a bigger concern. Leadership by personality will generally not be as lasting as leadership by facing the facts with the team. If we force ourselves to face the BRUTAL FACTS, we are more likely to be able to address those issues and then find a way to win today and then again tomorrow. It is a strange combination (duality) of having a longer term positive outcome (ie, we’ll get out of COVID, we’ll be happy again after loss) with the immediacy of dealing with the facts of today, ie, my income is dropping by x and I need to do three things per day to push forward and see how I can address that…or, I will not see my son again in this lifetime – how am I going to live the rest of my life? I know that’s blunt, but that is the kind of thing we must do, in my opinion. (Remember, I ain’t a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV).

So, weather (see what I did there?) you are facing sun, cloud, rain or snow today, I trust you can face any brutal facts in your situation and then prepare an action plan for dealing with those things.

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Be The Best.

Yesterday in 20/20

You know that famous song right? Yesterday by the Beatles. Yah – those guys. Just to remind you if you aren’t humming it already, here’s the first verse.

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

That could be our anthem in 2020. Given COVID-19, yesterday or yesteryear is looking pretty good right now.

There’s a funny letter circulating on social media currently about 2020 being cancelled and we’d be better off with 2016 which at the time looked horrible, but now looks amazing in retrospect. 20/20 vision is always available when looking at the past. It’s a little harder when you look forward.

Yesterday can always look good and that is a classic song and totally understandable lyric especially as it relates to lost love. It’s been covered over 2,200 times and is still popular in 2020. Want to know more, check out my crack source, Wikipedia.

It’s tougher looking to the future, especially when some yesterdays are looking so good at present.

When Chris passed away I would have given anything to have him back. It’s an anguish I would never wish on my worst enemy. I still feel the same today and especially this week as March 25, 2020 marked 10 years to the day. I truly long for yesterday but strangely am more possessed than ever about the future. It’s based on one fact that regardless of religious or political views we must all believe in. It’s irrefutable. That is, we can’t go back in time as much as that is appealing to think about.

So onward we go, propelled by decisions about how we are going to shape the future, help people as we go and hopefully provide a sense of future and purpose to ourselves and those in our circles.

Me and Mrs. Friesen online w friends for virtual happy hour during COVID. After work hours of course…

Stay safe. Hug (virtually) those around you. Tip: We had so many people approach us over the years and say, ‘I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say’. Just folks saying/typing/texting/posting ‘I’m not sure what to say but thinking of you’, meant a lot. If you are thinking about calling, emailing or facetiming someone today who has suffered loss or is going through a loss of job or is socially isolated with COVID-19 – just do it. Words and deeds have never been more powerful.

We can have 20/20 vision about yesterday, but here in 2020 we’ll step forward and shape our tomorrow even though we know it’s impossible to see everything ahead.

BONUS: You remember my sister, AC (Auntie Cathy to Chris and many of you). She’s doing an online event on Sunday, March 29. It will be an amazing way to connect for many. As it starts at 10:30 PM eastern, I’ll be sleeping cause I’m old, but they are going to record the event as well. Just another way to stay connected and uplifted in strange times.

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Be The Best.

Emily in prime time.

If you haven’t picked up on it, I’m trying to use the word prime or prime rib in every Holiday post this year…

So….you may have seen the video of the prime rib from Christmas Eve and my little niece Emily munching away.

She taught me a few more things.  Just before we sat down you can hear her saying, ‘I want to see, I want to see’, as her Mom was filming on the iPad with the big visible screen.  You can see as the height of the camera drops, revealing a different perspective…a different viewpoint.

Emily’s Mom Selena, told me a very cool story about just that; perspective and the ‘view’ of a child.

The name Chris (not our Chris) had come up in a conversation and Emily had piped up quite matter-of-factly stating, ‘My Chris is in heaven’.

Yes he is Emily…yes he is.

And then she went on playing.

I love the eyes of a child both literally and how they ‘see’ what many of us miss.

It’s a different perspective on many levels.

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Be The Best.

No one loses today.

Blue Bombers Logo used from 1963-1994
Image via Wikipedia

Now that statement is wrong on a number of levels.

One team will win the Grey Cup and one team will not.

There has been loss for both football teams and that’s where it gets tricky.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost an assistant coach, Mr. Richard Harris earlier this season (July 2011).  By all counts he could be tough as a coach but a gentle giant…a father figure of sorts for the players. (newstory here)

The Lions of course lost Dylan Reichelt longtime game day assistant and son of Bill Reichelt, trainer extraordinaire.  Many Lions’ helmets will have DR stickers on them today.

So how does this all work?

Here’s what I’m thinking.

With Mr. Harris already up in heaven I think he has given a big welcoming bear hug to Dylan.  He may have asked Dylan who that guy was with him and why he’s carrying around a funny looking stick.  Oh that’s Chris, Dylan would say, my good bud from Langley…plays that strange field lacrosse game.  That would of course get Chris fired up and a good natured broohaha would occur, which is probably what we’re seeing/hearing with the current wind and rain storm outside my window at 5am this morning.

Anyhoo…I could see Richard giving Chris a big bear hug too and then deciding where they were going to watch the game.  Richard and Dylan, a little newer to the experience, may be concerned about the roof on BC Place and not seeing that well.  Chris, with now 20 months of experience would show them where to sit and how to see everything.

They’ll see two football teams playing for the Grey Cup.

They’ll see two football teams playing for people they loved.

They’ll see two football teams both winning, because no one loses today.

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Be The Best.

Who makes us what we are?

Now there’s a heavy question for your weekend.

If you haven’t read the latest few comments on this blog, take a look.  They are both from teachers of Dylan and Chris.

Our families have a huge influence on who we are.  How we’re raised, the home culture, values etc.

When I think of Chris, I can’t help but think of all the amazing influence outside the home that helped to shape him.  Teachers, coaches, trainers.

I was reading Dylan’s obituary today…(hard to even type that).  There are a few lines that so accurately describe him.

Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

Yes.  That is exactly Dylan.

Dylan comes from a great family and has been shaped by them of course, with the continual positive influence of teachers, coaches and mentors over time.

For all teachers and coaches…please know that your legacy reaches far beyond the achievement of a grade or success at a sport.  It shapes young men and women who in turn provide positive influence in their circles and beyond.  We continue to see that in Chris’ legacy as people all over are aiming to Be The Best.  We love it.

As we grieve for Dylan and his family, we know that the legacy of laughter, caring, acceptance, kindness and excellence will live forever.

Here is Dylan’s obituary in full with a link to the memorial site.

REICHELT, Dylan James February 4, 1993 – November 12, 2011

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our son Dylan James Reichelt, who died in a car accident on Saturday, November 12th, 2011. Dylan is survived by his parents, Bill and Cathy, sisters, Keri and Keira, twin brother, Jesse, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Born and raised in Langley, Dylan had a passion for golf, hockey, Iron Maiden, Manchester City FC, working out, refereeing, fishing, boating, video games, wakeboarding, wake surfing, steak, and Caesar salad.

He attended Murrayville Elementary, graduated from Brookswood Secondary in June 2011 and was in his first year of a business degree at Kwantlen University. Dylan enjoyed all forms of athletics, playing baseball, golf, soccer, ice hockey, street hockey with the boys, tennis in the park and he was always game to go to the gym. He enjoyed being a referee for Langley Minor Hockey and “”Gatorade”” boy for the BC Lions Home Games.

He was ranked #1 in points with the Maple leaf golf tour in BC and had been invited to the MJT National Tour Championships in Orlando, Florida, along with his best friend and brother, Jesse. Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

A celebration of Dylan’s life will be held on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 11:00 am at the Christian Life Assembly, 21277 – 56th Avenue, Langley. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to RBC, account #00608-003-5018650 in support of the Dylan Reichelt Memorial Fund.

Condolences may be offered at www.hendersonslangleyfunerals.com

Arrangements under the direction of Henderson’s Langley Funeral Home, Langley, BC.

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Be The Best.

I Remember

i remember

 

i remember each september

when the summer sun still glows;

i remember each october

when the winds begin to blow;

i remember each november

when the leafs are painted red;

i remember each december

when through the snow we tread;

whatever the month

whatever the day

whatever we’re doing

wherever we stay

you are loved loved loved

forever and always

 

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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.

Father’s Day – the lighter side

Watch as I totally dominate Max in both cycling and then basketball.

(and if you believe that…)

Finally pieced a few bits of vid together from a great afternoon with the kid.

Of course we reminisced and laughed about the times Chris would join us on the bball court at home.  Chris played basketball like he was playing lacrosse, complete with full-on body checks and intense (if not mostly illegal) defence.

After that I showed Max a thing or two about shooting and took him to the hoop a few more times before we biked home.  (cough)

Although not on the vid, I had the chance to play ping pong with my Dad just a few days after Father’s Day itself.

We had a great time.  I’m trying to remember the score, but I just can’t right now….

(When you’re 80 year old Dad beats you in ping pong after recovering from a 2 month hospital stay and 4 surgeries…you’d try to forget the score too…!)

Hey, this sports blog post ain’t going too well for me today.

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Be The Best.

It’s Friday

Tony Campolo: Author and speaker on political ...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s Friday.

But Sunday’s coming.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Dr. Tony Campolo speak.  An amazing orator, social activist and sometimes preacher.

If you’ve got 6 minutes, watch this video and listen to him go.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.

Even before we lost Chris I always wondered about Good Friday.

What’s good about the cross and the suffering surrounding that event?

Not much.

The ‘good’ in Friday is the knowledge that Sunday is coming.

For Christians this is the core of the faith.  There is resurrection.  There is hope.  Sunday is coming.

For us as we long to see Chris again, we also recognize that it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.

You can call Friday good, but nothing really good happened on that day, but in context, Sunday was coming and things got really good.

So today we’ll say, “It’s Friday….but SUNDAY’S COMING!!”