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Be The Best.

Lions, Eskimos and Fathers…V2

I wrote a post in June 2010 after Max took me to the opening of Empire Field for a BC Lions football game vs the Edmonton EskimosHere’s a link to that story.

Fast forward 16 months and we did it again.

Not Empire, but we went to the opening of the new BC Place on Friday with 50,000 of our closest friends and saw those same BC Lions beat the Eskimos in a great match at a fantastic new facility.

New building aside, the best aspect of the evening was another experience shared and added to the memory banks for life.

Those are gold and worth every cent of admission…and then some.  (just don’t tell the Lions that…I don’t want them to raise their ticket prices)

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Canada going for Bronze

There is a tough saying in sport…you win to get Bronze, you lose to get Silver.  Yah, I know, tough saying.

That being said, Canada’s U19 Women’s lacrosse team is fighting for the Bronze medal on Saturday in Germany vs. England.

Having beat England in a close game earlier in the tournament, it should be a great battle.

We wish Ashley and all the other team members a great game and win or lose, we’re all very proud!

13. August 45 (7/8 Place Game) 11:00 Japan Haudenosaunee
46 (5/6 Place Game) 9:00 Scotland Wales
47 (Bronze Medal Game) 12:30 England Canada
48 (Gold Medal Game) 15:30 USA Australia  
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Be The Best.

Germany, #2, Lacrosse and why you need to know.

Flag of British Columbia
Image via Wikipedia

The #2 is being proudly worn on a field lacrosse pitch in Germany this week and next.

Better yet, it’s representing Canada.

Even better yet, it’s a shout out to Chris on the back of Ashley Bull who at the age of 16 made the U19 National Field Lacrosse team for Canada.  She is the only player from British Columbia and very close to the youngest on the squad.

Her Grandfather, the legendary lacrosse figure Harvey Bull, told me the story of her getting #2 this past weekend at the boys Intermediate Box Lacrosse Provincial championships.

Team Canada players were assigned numbers, but before they went to Germany to represent our country, they were allowed to select the jersey numbers to wear.  Ashley has not traditionally chosen #2, but wanted to do it for Chris.  What that means to me and our family I cannot properly express.  As the story went, another girl also wanted #2.  Ashley told her the story of Chris and what he meant as an inspiration to her and her teammate kindly, graciously and wonderfully allowed Ashley to wear #2.

Is that Be The Best or WHAT???

You can read more of Ashley’s story here from a previous blog.

I understand from Ashley’s family that the flu is going through the team and knocked her out of at least the first game of the tournie.  Some things are in your control and some aren’t.  As the team heads into the second week of competition, we wish Ashley and all of our fellow Canadians the best of luck as they represent for Canada.

Although there is no TV or webfeed, you can connect on-line with scoring and the most up-to-date info is via Twitter.

I will be thinking of that #2 flying around the field and I know that the same ‘cloud box seats’ Chris had for the boys Provincial final will again be used by Chris and friends cheering on Team Canada in Germany.

GO CANADA GO!!

Ashley…thanks for doing Chris, Langley, British Columbia and Canada so very very proud!!

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Be The Best.

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cake.  Chris loved it.

It was his one food indulgence, but only then it was reserved for birthdays.

I heard the term the other day and it stopped me in my tracks with the clicker frozen on the TV news.

Surrey parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kaulius, were helping out the RCMP on a road check campaign specifically targeting drinking and driving.

Their own daughter was killed in May of 2011 by a drunk driver (suspected and in the courts).

That is a sad enough story and one that should cause us all pause in this summer season.

The fact that these parents were out there trying to raise awareness just months into their journey was amazing enough.

I felt the pain however when the Dad mentioned that they still had their daughter Kassandra’s ice cream birthday cake in the freezer, these months later.  His voice broke as he told how they just couldn’t part with it yet.  They had planned to celebrate but instead had a funeral.

It is something that you must know to know if that makes any sense.

I felt the pain instantly for this family as they are just at the beginning of the journey.  I salute all they are doing in memory of their daughter and the impact of her legacy.

As I reflect on our journey it is now been almost 16 months.

This past June has been one of the toughest so far.

The knowledge of a high-school graduation that didn’t happen.

The knowledge of a college education and lacrosse scholarships that we were not able to see finalized.

All of that was extremely painful.

However…I love the article written in the Langley times about Kassandra Kaulius and her family.  Turning Grief into Action.  THAT is what it’s all about.  Action for your loved one of course.  But I believe, action for yourself as well.  Where are you going to go?  What are you going to do?  How are you going to keep on living a life that will positively affect others?

Giving is a part of Grieving.  Remember that one?

There have been many days where I’ve add to sip some of my own medicine from blogs of the past year and more.

That’s a good tonic.

Have a great week!

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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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When the wind kicks up, you’re bound to get a few Whitecaps

250
Image via Wikipedia

Sports has been a big part of our family.

Whether coaching the boys soccer teams, Max playing basketball and Chris lacrosse.

Then there was the fan part of sports.

Tonight Ingrid and I ventured out to our first Whitecaps soccer game.

It was a fantastic experience…aside from the referee who felt he should be the center of attention, but alas before this becomes a sports rant, I’ll stop.  (cause if I don’t I’ll probably get a red card seeing as they were being handed out like candy tonight) ((ok, I’ll really stop now))

The crowd was great.  The game was great.  The atmosphere was great.  The company was great.

One of the first things Ingrid said to me as we sat down was what do you think Chris would think of the soccer team, MLS in Vancouver etc.  I said I knew he would love it and given the open air atmosphere of Empire Field, he probably had the best seats in the house tonight.

I will never forget the Canucks playoff run and disappointment last year and the anticipation of a BIG run this year.

It was riveting and was a great distraction in very tough times.  I think though, it was more than just a distraction.  It reminded me of the passion that only comes from sports.  The kind of passion that Chris lived with.  I think that’s the true attraction.

When the winds kick up and the storm is blowin, there are bound to be a few whitecaps on the water.  We’ve seen a few of those in our family this past year!

However, it was the Whitecaps tonight, that offered that wonderful first-hand look into the purity and passion of sport and remind us both of another amazing athlete and son we know, love and remember with every heartbeat.

yfrog Photo : http://yfrog.com/gyuyzlrj Shared by randy_friesen.

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Be The Best.

2, 32, 41

No, those are not a sequence of numbers uttered by a football quarterback.

Those are jersey numbers Chris wore and was known for.

#2 in Langley.

#32 for Burnaby Mountain Selects

#41 proudly representing the great province of British Columbia

Tomorrow, March 25, is quite a day.

One year ago we lost our son.

Not a day or hour goes by without a thought of him.  Most hours the thoughts continue minute by minute.

We have found a place for people to come and remember Chris.

His ashes will remain forever at the Langley Lawn Cemetery at 208 and 44th.

It’s a beautiful place with 6 granite memorial walls in a stand of trees near 208th avenue.

When we went to view the walls, we found that two of the six walls were dedicated to individuals and four to couples.

One was called Maple and one was called Dogwood.

Wouldn’t you know it, Maple 32 was available as was Dogwood 41.

Maple 32 is amazing because the BMS logo is a Maple Leaf.

Dogwood 41 is amazing because Dogwood is the provincial flower and 41 was the number Chris wore for the province when he played at the Nationals in 2009.

Because of a few logistical reasons, we’ve chosen Dogwood 41 as the final resting place.

It’s a beautiful place to go.

Our family will be there tomorrow, joined a bit later by a few of Chris’ friends.  We wanted to show them personally where they can go to remember Chris so that they in turn can show others.

The journey continues, but this is a huge step for us.

I know my Dad in the ICU in Vernon is with us in spirit as is my Mom from Vernon and other family that can’t be with us personally. (health update: Dad is inching forward…very slow, but steady right now which is good)

Although tomorrow is a day for family and Chris’ close friends, we welcome anyone over the next weeks and months to stop by and spend a few minutes in thought about how passionately Chris lived his life and how he was determined to Be The Best.

I’ll never forget him writing down the goal of making the A1 Langley Thunder Lacrosse team.

I’ve never seen a kid so driven to achieve that goal.  He made it.  It was amazing.

Thanks for your continued support and all the thoughts and prayers coming our way this week.

We feel it!

PS

At 2:32 and 41 seconds, we will be looking up at the sky and saying hi to Chris.

If you want to take a quick look up at the sky at any time tomorrow and say hi to Chris, please do!  I know he would love it.  Dad…that’s you too!!  I know you can see the sky from your hospital bed!!

PPS

This blog has never been about money and never will be, but some people have asked what else they can do.  We will continue to give to Chris’ fund every year via Simon Fraser University’s giving program.  It’s a way to remember Chris and also challenge a new athlete every year to Be The Best.  The University has just set up a direct link for Chris’ fund.  They handle all donation receipts etc directly.  Here’s the link.

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Be The Best.

Hope is an action word.

What is hope?

It’s a noun.

It’s a verb.

It’s actually both.

That being said, any way you use it, I’ll argue that hope is an action word.

What do I mean?

Hope may be a state of mind or the expression of a state of being but when hope is combined with action…it truly is an action word.  I hope for a great future.  How am I making that future happen?

This past weekend, a trail on private land was dedicated to Chris’ memory.

The name of the trail…Hope Trail.

Totally love it.

Chris’ story is one of sadness sure…but it is also oozing with hope.

This trail leading down from a beautiful Valley property to the river below is not for the timid.  It’s a tough trail fit for a hard training athlete doing the equivalent of bleacher runs as Chris would do many times.

What is hope?  Hope is a massive tree crashing down in a windstorm and then the thought, desire and action to cut the barrier in pieces to get the trail through.  Hope is not seeing a cliff, but seeing a trail…

Steve addresses the assembled at the trail dedication...(ok, I think he was telling a joke)

Hope Trail.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Many thanks to Steve and Evy Klassen (Steve spoke at Chris’ funeral) and their family for this amazing remembrance for Chris.

Be The Best!

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The best day ever.

There has been an ongoing little joke in our family for years.

My Dad is a pretty positive guy especially when it comes to stuff like ping-pong, tennis and skiing.

The joke is that if you’d ask him how his day was on the slopes for example, he would always say…GREAT, the best ever.

Each trip, it seems, would outdo the previous.

Now where it got funny was we knew some of the days weren’t that great.  If you’ve skied in a minus 20 degree day of an Okanagan winter or the liquid snow of Hemlock Valley or the driving sleet of a December day on Mt. Baker you know what I mean.

On those days if you asked him how his day had been he’d say…GREAT, one of the best ever!

Notice the subtle difference?

On this Saturday, having survived a very tough Thursday night and sensitive emergency surgery, he noted to my sisters Grace and Val that this was one of his BEST WEEKENDS EVER.  He was indeed very alive and got to spend it with his bride…and of course a couple of his kids.

Interesting perspective…and I love it.

That’s a hospital bed BE THE BEST moment direct from the ICU.

Nice work Dad.  We’ll call that your living sermon for this week and give you the day off tomorrow!

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A whole lot of holes.

I wrote about circles the other day.

Interestingly enough I’ve been thinking about holes too.

I didn’t think they were connected.  But now I know they are.  I’ll aim to explain.

One of the most painful things you must do when you lose a child is go on the ‘cancellation tour’.

This includes driver’s licences, passports, etc.  It’s something you don’t think about and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Have you ever kept your old passport?  That’s allowed and the passport office will cut the corners of your passport so that it is visibly defective and relegated as non conforming.

With Chris’ passport they punched 2 holes into it and gave it back to me.  The staff member was very kind, but here I was in the office trying to keep my composure as these holes were pounded through his passport.  You may have just pounded those through my chest.

I left the building and joined Ingrid in the car where I had refused her strong willingness to come with me.  I simply did not want her to have to deal with that.

For months and months I’ve looked at those holes.  I’ve felt the pain of loss.  It is as evident today as a year ago.

But… what about circles?  That’s where this gets interesting.

In thinking and writing about circles I realized that the holes in Chris’ passport are perfect circles.

The pain that those holes represent could only exist because of the circle of love we have for each other and how that long will NEVER EVER END.

In other words, deep loss is purely symptom of strong love.  Without the deepness of connection there would be no feeling of loss.

That makes looking at those holes feel better, makes us stronger…and turns the holes into feelings of wholeness.

A whole lot of holes.  From empty space to the realization of the circle that fills those holes in a figurative sense is infinite.

And yes, this will make even more sense when you read the circles blog.

Have  Be The Best weekend!