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Be The Best.

Nomenclature Culture

If you’ve read a blog post or two of mine you might pick up that I like words. I like word play and also the history of words. Scrabble was a family favourite and my Mom (Chris’ Grandma) loved to play although she was ‘creative’ with some words she would put down on the board. ‘I’m sure this is a word’, she would say with a devious twinkle in her eye. In the days before Google, that was an easier path! We had many laughs about those games and Chris, Max and other grandkids were learning all the while.

Nomenclature is a body of names in a particular field and really a systematic approach for definition and creation of terms. The fields of medicine and geography are some leading examples. In essence it allows a broad group of people to speak the same language even if they don’t speak the same language. This kind of systematic coding allows for quicker digestion and understanding which builds on communication.

I believe there is a lot of cross over from scientific thinking like this into the business/management world as well as personal and family development. For example, if an airline starts to refer to ‘passengers’ as ‘customers’, this can evoke an entirely different view of who and what that entity is. You can see in this simple example it FORCES the viewpoint of humanity into what previous nomenclature would have categorized as a more functional asset without evoking the same emotion.

The nomenclature of a family or business is the approach to the creation and use of language that builds culture over time.

Words have never been more powerful. Why? Words force you to associate meaning with that word and from that meaning comes emotion and from that emotion comes action. In these times of worldwide stress we may feel less than able to invoke change. That’s not true. With every ‘thank you’, quick reach out or touch base with a friend, support to a community group or other form of specifically chosen word and deed we are imposing a more positive nomenclature into the fabric of our network. That in turn creates a ripple effect.

I’ve been both on the receiving and giving end and it is powerful. When Chris passed there was an avalanche of support (words and actions) for our family. Words are powerful. The use of a specific body of words that are positive and thankful and sincere in intent, ignites understanding, emotion and action – and is the true power of communication – regardless of language.

Ok – way too deep. Probably too much coffee on a rainy Sunday morning. I’m going back to watching some NHL playoff hockey in August where key nomenclature includes PIM, Penalty Box (Sin Bin) and GAA. Have a great week.

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Be The Best.

Biking Birmingham (video)

A day does not go by without thinking of Chris that is for sure. Over ten years later – that does not change. For anyone going through loss – yes it stays with you but YES you can be happy again too. It is one of many paradoxes that are very real.

One thing you learn early on is that you gotta get up, make coffee and get rolling…some days more literally than others.

Birmingham, Michigan is a beautiful mini city and we took advantage today of the amazing weather. Hope you are enjoying your summer too – and for those in the Southern Hemisphere – your Winter days!

Of course Ingrid, always thinking, took some water in her Be The Best water bottle. If you want one of your own, you can choose from a variety of colours/colors with all proceeds going towards Chris’ fund. We have a bunch of stuff there paid for by the family so you can enjoy, remember Chris and have the money go directly to Chris’ fund with tremendous help and support of the crew at Martket Branding .

Have a great week.

Be The Best store link.

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Be The Best.

What I believe

I was sent a link to a letter written by the President of Harvard University. (Thanks Grant!)

Lawrence (Larry) S. Bacow wrote a poignant piece identifying what he believes. This was written May 30, 2020 in light of the recent protests and violence in the US following the death of George Floyd. For me currently living near Detroit, his words (he references Detroit from the 60’s) are profound as we are living through history repeating itself in 2020. If you have 5 min, read through his entire letter. Here are some key statements:

I believe in the goodness of the people of this country—and in their resilience.

I believe that America should be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.

I believe that our strength as a nation is due in no small measure to our tradition of welcoming those who come to our shores in search of freedom and opportunity, individuals who repay us multiple times over through their hard work, creativity, and devotion to their new home. 

I believe in the American Dream.

https://www.harvard.edu/president/news/2020/what-i-believe

It is the final paragraph, however, that is extremely important for all of us; Canadian, American or any other citizen of the world. It is a call to action.

What we believe is important. Acting on our beliefs is critical. ESPECIALLY when we must believe that there are many more people in this world who believe in equality, respect and fair treatment for all – regardless of race, gender or political leanings.

As I continue to remember Chris in a more direct and public way throughout this year, I am thinking continually of what Be The Best really means. If I believe that, what are the actions that bring that belief to life? One simple one is to follow through on acts of kindness – not just think about them. Could be a spending time as a mentor, writing a note of support, or simply saying thank-you. Ok – and doing push-ups. That was a big part of the Be The Best thinking that Chris worked on. Those are the simple things that can bring beliefs to life. I’ll leave the closing to President Bacow. He’s stated it perfectly below.

I hope you will pause during these troubled times to ask what you believe. Even more importantly, I hope you will find the strength and determination to act on your beliefs—to repair and perfect this imperfect world.

This tribute video for Chris was put together for the Langley Thunder Lacrosse team and played in Chris’ honor. At about 1 minute 29 seconds you see a few seconds of an interview I did with Chris in prepping for college recruitment activity. If you want to see what he believed, have a view. Have a good week.

Originally put together April 2010.
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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. 😉
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.

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!) 😉

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

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.

Chris Friesen Alumni Cup – August 2014

Ok, it’s been a few weeks, ok months, ok maybe a year since the last post.  😉

Umm…the dog ate my password or something.

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been over 4 years since Chris passed.

If you’ve ever wondered…yes, we still think of Chris every day if not every hour and minute.

I know many of you do too.

His legacy lives on and will live forever in the form of an award fund at SFU which many of you are aware of and have supported.  THANK YOU.

We’ve had the privilege to hand out four awards so far and number five will be handed out Feb 2015.  (The awards are interest only…the base fund continues to grow)

The Burnaby Mountain Select program and SFU (Simon Fraser University) have been phenomenal supporters of the fund and more importantly Chris’ legacy and honoring how he lived his life.

The BMS group are holding the first ever Chris Friesen Alumni Cup for field lacrosse up at SFU on Aug 16 at 2pm.

It was announced this afternoon and has 50% sold out in about 4 hours.

If you’ve played with BMS or played with Chris, grab a spot quick!!

http://www.selectslacrosse.com/

We thought the Aug 16 afternoon would also give us a chance to say hi to Chris’ buddies and those who didn’t play lacrosse but just want to drop by for a bbq or maybe pick up a pair of Chris lacrosse socks (great as slippers) which are now available after some serious and persistent demand!

The info on the socks is also available through the link above.

Have a great summer!

 

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Be The Best.

CFMA Y2 2012

Acronyms are so warm aren’t they?

Chris hoists BMS teammate Jamie Spagnuolo at Florida tournie.

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.

TWITA (That’s what I’m talking about)

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Be The Best.

Lamb lollipops and changing lives

Ever had one of those lamb lollipop things?  They are popular at networking events with the idea being that you can eat them standing up, maybe balance a glass of wine and still mingle with people.

I’m not that coordinated.

So, some context.

Ingrid and I were invited to the Simon Fraser University’s ‘President’s Reception’, because of our connection with Chris’ fund.  We weren’t able to attend the event last year so with a bit of apprehension of the unknown we headed to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Gastown.

I expected to hear a few words from the President.  I expected to perhaps eat some appetizer type foods.  I expected to hear a few speeches.  I did not expect to be so incredibly moved and inspired.

So…with my hands full, I spied a stand-up table at the edge of the room where one other couple was also doing the balancing act.  I made a simple comment asking if we might join them and a conversation ensued.

The people we met by ‘random circumstance’ (or not) were a Professor and his wife who is a retired Professor herself.

We talked about SFU and their relationship to the donor event.

They of course asked about our connection which led to a conversation about Chris.

The Professor (names protected) talked about a long time friend of his and how his friend’s memorial fund had built up over 20 years and was now helping students on a yearly basis, stating that every dollar counts.

We couldn’t agree more.  To see Chris’ fund payout for the first time last year was amazing and we’re very excited about challenging a young man once again in January when the 2nd gift will be ready for disbursement.

If the evening had ended there, that would already have been more than I expected, but it didn’t.

Our Professor couple went home, read some more about Chris and the next day connected themselves with the fund financially.

Are you kidding me?

You have to be in our situation to really understand what that means, but for a couple, on a completely random and chance meeting, to think enough about what Chris’ fund will mean to future SFU students and citizens was amazing and humbling for us.

I have left that experience again inspired about Being The Best.

Deep heartfelt kindness from total strangers.

A deep understanding of how small decisions have major impacts with time.

For me, it provided another dose of energy as we recognize how impactful our words and actions can be.

And the lamb lollipops….perfect…I went back for seconds.