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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.

Chris Friesen Alumni Cup – August 2014

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

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.

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.

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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.

Dan Cloutier, Chris and Be The Best

Goaltender Dan Cloutier with the Vancouver Can...
Image via Wikipedia

I was doing some filing today.

Yah, I know.  Great times.

In any event, I stumbled across a file that had some drawings from Max and Chris.

I just had to share this one.¬† Dan Cloutier and Be The Best maybe don’t sound like they fit anymore, but he had his very best years as a Canuck goalie and the kids loved him.

Max and Chris spent hours drawing these guys.  I think Chris was 9 or 10 when he drew this one.

Notice Pronger taking a slapshot and Cloutier flashing the leather for a great save…(even if it looks like the puck is going wide…)

But then I saw the title, ‘The Best in The Business’.¬† This wasn’t something we talked about.

He was already relating the success of Cloutier as an NHL goalie to being the Best in the Business.

Not quite, Be The Best…but some early signs of what was to come as he strove to realize his own goals.

Notice the artist’s signature in the lower right corner.

The Best in the Business.

Be The Best.

Love it.

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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.

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Be The Best.

Terry Fox Rocks

Today many thousands of people will be in downtown Vancouver.

The Canucks play the Washington Capitals for the only time this season and then steps away the BC Lions battle Edmonton for first place in the Western Division of the CFL.  (I hope you feel all caught up on the sports scene now)

So as the estimated crowd of 60,000+ rushes to both venues at the same time tonight many thousands will pause at the new Terry Fox plaza, see the new statues and many will even stop to take a picture.

There is a hidden gem however at the plaza that many will miss.

Along the wall, just across from the mega outdoor screen at BC Place, are two plaques.  I had a chance to read them a few weeks ago and they really had an impact.

The first plaque provides some great background on Terry.¬† You have to remember, this young man was only a month away from 23 years old when he died.¬† Very young…but what an impact he had and continues to have.

What I loved about the first plaque was the story of Terry’s simple and focused goal.¬† To raise one dollar for every Canadian…24 million at that time.¬† Clear, concise and measurable.¬† We can all learn from that whether it is business or personal.¬† Loved it.

It was the second plaque however that really got me thinking and it hasn’t stopped.

The wording, written by the artist who designed the new statues, starts:

On a fundamental level, Terry’s life makes us ask, ‘What if?’….if he’d changed his mind and never run, he might have wondered ‘what if’ for the rest of his life. The world would have continued spinning, the weather would be the same. Everything would be the same, yet nothing would be the same.¬† The way we view life and death and courage and strength wouldn’t be the same.

Sometimes we feel like we’re just one more person here on earth.¬† Why does anything matter?¬† Why do any of us bother going on?¬† But the fact is we do go on and all of us matter, and maybe just maybe, if we follow Terry’s example of choosing the more difficult choice our lives take on meaning greater than we might ever have dared hope.

Douglas Coupland, September 2011

The last paragraph really struck me.

If we’ve learned one lesson again and again these past 19 months is that we only control our next decision…our next choice.

I believe that’s how Terry lived his life.

Deciding each day, one day at a time, to run.

And when he couldn’t run…to fight.

And when he could no longer fight…to inspire.

And now Terry’s dream is lived in millions.

It’s incredibly inspiring and it all comes down to a goal and choices…and as Mr. Coupland has so eloquently stated, ‘…and maybe just maybe, if we follow Terry’s example of choosing the more difficult choice our lives take on meaning greater than we might ever have dared hope.’

If you take in the games today or are downtown anytime, you’ll want to take 5 extra minutes to learn more about this BC legend and get inspired.¬† It’s truly amazing.

Talk about Be The Best!

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Be The Best.

The bar is set high!

The first Christian Friesen Memorial award went to an outstanding young man, Luke Genereux, just a few months ago in January.  You can see that post here.

Luke has now made the President’s Honour Roll at Simon Fraser University which is an outstanding achievement.

He’s set that bar pretty high!¬† A huge congratuations are in order for this amazing accomplishment.¬† You can read the details from the SFU press release below.

SFU Senior Captain Luke Genereux named to President’s Honour Roll

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

By William Howard,

 

SFU Lacrosse Media Relations

 

Simon Fraser University Men’s Lacrosse

BURNABY, BC (June 17, 2011) ‚Äď Andrew Petter, President and Vice Chancellor of Simon

Fraser University has awarded men’s lacrosse graduating senior Luke Genereux (Port

Coquitlam, BC / Terry Fox Secondary) standing on the President’s Honour Roll. This award

is for students who have completed at least 30 units at SFU, and have achieved a term

GPA of 4.0 or above while taking at least 12 units of classes. The prestigious award for

outstanding academic achievement is permanently noted on a student’s transcript.

Genereux, who is expected to be named a MCLA Scholar Athlete later this summer, was

named an MCLA All-American for the second straight year in 2011 after receiving

honorable mention status last season. A senior captain for the Clan, he was also named a

PNCLL First Team All-Conference selection for the third and final time in his collegiate

career, after earning the same honor in both his freshman and junior year.

Genereux played four seasons for Simon Fraser from 2007-2011 at close defense and

LSM, helping to lead the Clan to a PNCLL Conference Championship and an appearance

in the MCLA National Championship Quarterfinals in 2009 and a run to the MCLA National

Championship Semi-Finals in 2010. SFU also finished as PNCLL Conference runners-up in

2007, 2010 and 2011.

Simon Fraser University is an academics first institution and Genereux’s award reflects a strong emphasis placed on

academics by SFU Co-Head Coaches Jeff Cathrea and Brent Hoskins. In seven seasons under Cathrea and Hoskins’

leadership, their players have excelled in the classroom producing the programs first eleven (11) MCLA Scholar Athletes

(Academic All-Americans) and maintaining the programs best academic record.

ABOUT SIMON FRASER MEN’S LACROSSE

Simon Fraser University men’s lacrosse will compete in its seventeenth season in 2012 and competes in the Men’s

Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA). The Clan have captured a record eight PNCLL Conference Titles (1997, 1998,

1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008 and 2009) and rank sixth all-time with ten MCLA National Championship tournament

appearances, placing 2nd in 1999 and playing in the 2010 MCLA Semi-Finals after reaching the Quarterfinals in 2008 and

2009. The Clan proudly wear equipment and apparel by Harrow Sports and Cascade helmets.

For further information on Simon Fraser men’s lacrosse please visit sfulacrosse.com or follow the Clan on Twitter at

twitter.com/fraserlacrosse.

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Be The Best.

Sunsets in a different place.

You know I love sunrises and especially sunsets.

This is a bit of a different one.  This is taken with a lousy Blackberry phone, but I loved the sun screaming across the field and shining on a wall.

The field is a cemetery and the wall is Chris’ wall.¬† Dogwood #41.

Every time we go to the cemetery it is a special moment for lack of a better word.

We get that Chris’ spirit doesn’t live there.

But that being said, it’s becoming a very cool place to connect with Chris and all the love, emotions, hopes, desires, proud moments, sad moments, lost future, and hope of a future to come.

Here’s a little peek at that world.

View from Chris' wall looking out across the cemetery field at the setting sun.

View of Chris' wall with his white rose (from his Mom) and paper marker as we await his brass name plate. Love the sun hitting the wall in the latter part of the day.