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Be The Best.

What’s the future?

December 2009.

I had been contacted by a writer to answer some questions for a profile on a blog/website.

I hadn’t reread this until last week when circumstances caused me to find it in my sent file.

This was only 3 months before we lost Chris.

Obviously there is some irony in the answers…looking forward to the future, kids in college etc.

However…and it’s a BIG HOWEVER, the core of these answers remains as true today as the 2009 December evening on which they were written

The questions are not mine.  The answers are…and I stand by each one even today as we journey forward.

We don’t know our exact futures, but I do believe we can know why we do what we do.

We can know what’s important to us.

Here’s an exact word for word excerpt with professional/education/work related questions and answers removed for the sake of brevity.

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What is your proudest accomplishment?
My family. Through the ups and downs of babies, young kids and now young men (18 and 16), my wife and I are seeing our boys begin their adult journeys that we believe will help change the world positively through their actions and relationships.  My family is truly my greatest accomplishment and everything else to me is icing on the cake!

What is your foremost passion?
Creating art with music, watercolour and people.  I used to think my passions and hobbies were very diverse and perhaps they are, but the core is very similar.  I find myself again and again playing the role of a conductor, arranger, or producer.  With music and art, I mix music tracks or colours…each on their own telling only part of the story, but absolutely integral to the story.  The same is true for my management style, I believe.  Each person and relationship is integral to the overall success of the department, division or organization.  When you have the different components working together, that is when you have achieved a song, painting or highly functional working environment.

What are three random things no one knows about you?
That I have a music album on jamendo.com
I used to clean carpets for a living
I will squash you at ping pong

What do you want people to know about you that they don’t already?
My masters thesis centered on the topic of the interplay between change management and knowledge management. What? Yah, I didn’t understand it much either.  I’ve worked a lot in the area of change in my career.  I’ve found that we (managers, business owners) often underestimate the human element and the human power when change is present.  Relationships are the key to everything.  You can systemize, model, and even lead, but ultimately if the people are not ready and willing to come with you, change will be short lived or non-existent.  I believe we all have a HUGE impact on people’s lives.  Simple words and actions followed with consistent behaviour over time are the real ingredients to successful change.

Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
5 years – BCIT classrooms overflowing with students, my clients prospering, my kids solidly in college.
10 years – Readying for early ‘retirement’ from day job to concentrate on writing, teaching, speaking and the arts….oh and wife says we have to go to Europe for 6 months
20 years – 4 months in Hawaii, 8 months in Canada – changing the world, one relationship at a time.

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Be The Best.

On my mind

AC, my sister Cathy, aka Auntie Cathy to Chris and many others wrote a very cool post on her blog today.

She has experienced the loss of a young teen-aged nephew on both sides of her family.  You can read the full post, but here’s an excerpt.

The question has come to me – how will you then live?  How will we all live?
There is a quote by St. Irenaeus that has come to reside deep within me –

‘The glory of God is a human being fully alive’

To be fully alive is perhaps the best answer I can give….to choose to be present, to choose life, to choose gratefulness, to choose to take risks in following dreams and passions…to fully live….is how I can say to these two boys I love…….Trevor & Chris…..you are on my mind

I love that concept of being fully alive.

People ask us how we carry on.  How can you deal with this kind of tragedy?

I tell them that first you choose to live and live with purpose.

We’ve said that Chris’ passion will fuel us.

I’m still discovering what that means, but living with purpose and being fully alive is certainly part of that equation.

I can’t believe it’s 11 months.

I simply can’t tell you what an aching heart feels like, but I know many of you also have known the pain of loss.

The thought that is continually in our minds and hearts is the knowledge that a pain so deep only exists because of a love so deep.  And because of that love, we will live our lives with purpose using Chris’ passion and others to fuel our journeys.

Have a Be The Best weekend…oh and Go Canucks Go against Boston tomorrow.

I’m allowed to say that right?  Oh yah, it’s my blog.

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Be The Best.

16 year-old Langley player makes National U19 team.

Once you get involved with any kind of serious lacrosse in the Valley, you’ll soon learn that the Bull family is very well represented and have deep roots in the community and a passion and skill for the game that is in the blood.

Chris played with Brandon Bull, Ashley’s brother, Riley Brown, Ashley’s cousin, and was coached by Dennis Bull (dad) and Harvey Bull (grandpa).  See what I mean?  We saw Ashley at the rink all the time with stick in hand.

To be named to the National Team for Canada at the U19 level is unbelievable enough. To do it when you’re two and three years younger than most of the players is simply incredible.

It’s completely BE THE BEST!!!

There is a great story about Ashley in the Langley Times which is worth the read.

Here’s an excerpt:

The characteristics some of her coaches used to describe her — tenacious, fearless, determined and not afraid to mix it up — are fitting of her surname.

Coaches were describing Ashley Bull, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Walnut Grove Secondary.

“She is best described as fearless,” said former coach Sean Beasley. “Not too many girls find themselves on the lacrosse floor with male players, but she had no fear.”

I love the passion, dedication and focus that Ashley embodied as she pushed towards her dreams.

The Team Canada coaches called her a sponge.

They weren’t saying that because she’s soft…she’s one of the toughest players around and played with all-boys teams for many years holding her own and more often than not being one of the top players on the floor regardless of gender.

No, the coaches called her a sponge because of her desire and willingness to soak up information, to get better, to continually learn to BE THE BEST.

Congrats Ashley.

You’ve made your family, your town, your province and the lacrosse community very proud.  We know you’ll make Canada proud too.  Go get em!

Go Canada Go!

LINK: Langley Times article (includes great pic)

LINK: Official announcement from Team Canada

Ashley hams it up a few years ago at a lacrosse tourney.
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Be The Best.

And the award goes to…

The cool thing about the Chris Friesen Memorial Award is that you don’t ‘win’ it by necessarily scoring the most goals.  It’s about what happens on the field for sure…but it’s also about what happens off the field.  It’s about someone who is making a difference, changing lives and living with Chris’ passion to BE THE BEST.

Here are some details from the official terms of reference that Simon Fraser University has on this fund.  This is significant because these words will stay forever linked to this award.  We think that’s very cool.

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The Christian Friesen Memorial Endowment Fund was established in 2010 in memory of Christian Friesen. Funds for the endowment fund were donated by friends and family. The endowment fund supports the Christian Friesen Memorial Award.

Christian (Chris) Douglas Friesen was born on January 14, 1993.  He passed away on March 25, 2010.

Chris’ passion was lacrosse.  He represented his hometown of Langley on many occasions and represented his Province of British Columbia on the national stage in both box lacrosse and field lacrosse.  One of his crowning achievements was to be named to the All-star Team at the National Field Championship in Winnipeg, September 2009.

Letters of interest from multiple universities in the United States had been received, but Simon Fraser was still very much at the top of Chris’ list for consideration.

Chris had a strong affiliation with the Burnaby Mountain Selects program run by the SFU lacrosse coaches.  The involvement in this program pushed him academically and athletically. Chris was determined to Be The Best.

Chris’ passion for life and his incredible smile, personality, kindness and compassion was echoed by over 2,800 people who joined his Facebook remembrance page within days of his passing.

The recipients of this award are encouraged to Be The Best and to change the world.

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When Brent (one of SFU’s head coaches) whispered the name of the recepient to me just before the dinner on Saturday, I loved the choice the Coaches had made.

The inaugural winner of the Chris Friesen Memorial award is Luke Genereux.  Luke was one of a number of assistant coaches who were usually college players themselves and were like older brothers to the boys in the BMS program.  Luke played with Chris.  Taught Chris.  Chris really looked up to Luke as a role model, superb lacrosse player and as a person.  You can see Luke’s profile here.

As parents and for Max too, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick this award train off!  Congratulations Luke.  You are hereby challenged to BE THE BEST as you explore the future and build your career and life experiences.  As we told you personally on Saturday night, we are very proud of you.  Great stuff!!

Here’s a pic of Ingrid and I with Luke.

This night had been circled on our calendar for many months.

It has come and it has gone…and it’s sort of cool to think that in another 363 days or so, another young man will be challenged to BE THE BEST and continue to live with focus, kindness, desire, passion, drive and intensity.

Chris…your passion will fuel us all.

Congrats Luke!!

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Be The Best.

Everyone wins in Sin City

What?

Everyone wins in Las Vegas right?

Of course not.

You’ve heard the other name for the town…Lost Wages.

What better place to take a bunch of underage kids for a lacrosse tournament!  Joking aside, the supervision for Burnaby Mountain Selects is always awesome and last time I checked, the fields weren’t right on the strip.

Guess what.  One of the squads…the U12 (so these are young men 12 years of age and under) won their entire division securing the victory with a come from behind win just hours ago.

That is fantastic and for all the teams, win or lose on the scoreboard, these tournaments just make you better.  The competition makes you stronger.  It’s all good.  Everyone wins.

And now for the completely unexpected.

The winners of this tournie get a cheque for $250.  I can think of a lot of things a team could buy.  All deserved.  Dinner, snacks, souvenirs, lacrosse gear, odor-be-gone for lacrosse bags, etc 🙂

Guess what they just did?

Donated the whole thing to Chris’ fund.

Here’s the pic to prove it just an hour or so ago. (see link below)

I’ve talked a lot about giving and grieving and how those go together.  This gift to us is so amazing beyond any dollar amount.  What an amazing gift.

THANK YOU boys.  THANK YOU Joyce, Brent and Jeff and the entire BMS gang.

Be The Best!

We are humbled, proud and grateful.

I think Chris might just bodycheck someone up in heaven tonight in your honour…if that’s allowed…wait, I’ll check with Rev. Jake (Chris’ Grandpa) cause I’m pretty sure there’s a lacrosse section up there!  In fact I know there is…I just wasn’t sure on the bodychecking rule…

Here’s the link to the pic: http://yfrog.com/h23kqupj

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Be The Best.

Don’t Moc the Bulldog.

There’s a kid that Chris played lacrosse with for years here  in Langley.

His name is Bulldog.  His given name is Brendan, but I didn’t know that for about 4 years.

He’s graduating from Brookswood Secondary this coming June.

His parents, Kevin and Nauja, are TIRELESS supporters of minor lacrosse.  Managing teams, arranging officials, getting parents to volunteer (THE toughest job in the league :)) and being there rain or shine to not only support their son, but support the team which many times included Chris and Bulldog playing on the same squad.

Kevin phoned me up on Saturday.

He talked to Ingrid first as I was driving and what I could overhear sounded good.  I parked and she handed the phone over.  Great news.  Brendan the Bulldog is the first Langley student that I’m aware of from this year’s crop to be accepted and signed (it’s called a National Letter of Intent) with an American College.

Florida Sourthern Mocs

He’ll be playing and studying in Southern Florida at Florida Southern College and the teams are called, the Moccasins, or the Mocs for short.

This is cool on many levels.  Firstly, it’s a BE THE BEST moment at the highest level.  To have a goal and to see it fulfilled like this is amazing.  GREAT JOB BULLDOG!

Secondly, just the drive to be in a position to take things to a new level is life changing.  That takes focus and is something we can all learn from.

That phone call was more emotional for me than expected as of course we think of Chris and the opportunities we would have been exploring at this time.  Would it be the US?  SFU? Other Canadian Universities?  We’ll never know, but there is a few things that we do know.

We know that when anyone has a Be The Best moment whether it’s a daily push-up routine or a college scholarship, it’s another victory and another way to honour Chris’ memory.

Be The Best has become much more than a phrase or slogan.  It’s a lifestyle and a way to continue to honour Chris as we journey forward.

Bulldog, this news is awesome.  We are extremely proud of your accomplishments and wish you every success on your collegiate journey at Florida Southern starting September 2011!!

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Be The Best.

Chris scores a goal!

During last week’s Midget Lacrosse Nationals it reminded me of Chris at the 2007 Bantam Box Lacrosse Nationals in Ontario.

btw, Team BC lost in their bronze medal bid this past Friday night.  A tough way to end after that epic battle with Ontario to beat them in the tournament round.  From Ontario’s perspective, I’m betting they had a little payback on their minds and with BC having to play an extra game Friday morning, they took advantage.  All that being said, some great lacrosse by all and some great development as players and young men going through all of those emotions and experiences.

Back to 2007.

In order to help with the trip expenses to Ontario, the players were allowed to raise private funds to help make the trip a reality.  I recently uncovered the one-pager that described the program and gave potential donors an idea of who Chris was.

Here is how it opened:

Know many teenagers who write down their goals?

Know many teenagers who then break down their goals into actionable work plans and don’t quit until they’ve made it?

Meet Chris Friesen.

Along with excellent grades, this 14-year-old wrote down a goal of making the top-tier lacrosse team (A1) in Langley.

He served as team captain and the team completed an amazing season in first place heading into the Provincial championships in mid July.

In addition to league play, he was selected to Team Fraser Vally and then to Team BC.   He will be representing our province in Ontario this August.

Chris and buddy Brett celebrate BC’s bronze medal at Nationals in August 2007.
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Specifically, I will always be thankful to my Wardell clients and friends at Mainland Machinery and Sitelines Architecture respectfully, for their major support of Chris during that program.

I’ll never forget Chris writing down that goal (a practice we’ve done as a family at New Years each year).

It was achievable, but a stretch goal for sure.

  1. Goal.
  2. Action plan.
  3. Don’t quit.

I got it son.

I’m listening.

BONUS:

There are over 300 photos on-line of that 2007 trip.  Click here to view.

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Be The Best.

Team BC and Be The Best.

Team BC played Ontario on Thursday evening at the Midget Box Lacrosse Nationals.

Just another lacrosse game? Nope.

Firstly, Ontario is always favoured.  Consider this.  Based on population alone, Ontario (at 13 million+) could have three lacrosse teams for every one from BC (population 4.5 million).

Do I want some cheese with this ‘whine’?

The point is Ontario is always big, strong, tough, confident and ready to win.

The Iroquois had just beaten Alberta in the late afternoon game setting the stage for BC to get into serious medal contention and relegating Ontario to a bronze finish at best.  That alone provided a huge motivation factor for the Ontario team, but it was BC who seemed inspired.

BC hit hard, but weren’t stupid.

BC played strong defence which leads to goals.

BC scored when they had chances to score.

BC played like a team!

In the end, BC won the game 7-4, pulling away in the 3rd period.

FANTASTIC.  That’s Be The Best!

I think of Chris often when I watch.  He LOVED this game.  He loved the passion that it evoked.  He loved playing for his local team and club teams, but there was always something special about representing your Province.

As the boys get ready for a showdown at 11:30 this morning (Aug 20), I will be thinking of them.

Depending on the outcome of the late morning game against Alberta, BC will go for gold or bronze later tonight.

The bronze and gold medal games are at 6pm and 8pm.

Have a great day.

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2pm update! Team BC lost a close one with Alberta so they play Ontario for Bronze at 6pm.

Team BC player (Chris Nasato) in blue BC jersey with gold trim breaks away from the Red and Black Ontario squad.