GLENDALE—On the evening of July 13, Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter’s center was the scene of celebration and elation. It is not everyday Homenetmen Ararat hosts European champions, and is even more special when those champions hail from local Homenetmen chapters. That night, Ararat’s own Zareh Zargaryan- Captain, Andre Spight Mkrtchyan- MVP, as well as Massis chapter’s Mike Danielian were treated to a hero’s welcome by their teammates, coaches and Homenetmen brothers and sisters. The three athletes had just returned from Moldova where they helped Armenia win the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries.
Ararat’s foyer was packed, the atmosphere was electric, the guests were giddy and the catered food was delicious. Basketball fans from 7 to 77 years had gathered to celebrate the heroes of the hour.
Arick Gevorkian, Director of Communications at Homenetmen Ararat, emceed the proceedings with his usual wit and banter, creating a mood that was light and casual. After speeches from Ararat executive committee member Garen Moghoyan and his Massis counterpart Steve Sarkissian, Glendale Mayor Paula Devine congratulated the athletes and presented them with certificates of recognition from the city. Armella Sahakyan from the Consulate of Armenia in Los Angeles commended the athletes for their achievement, reminding everyone what an honor it is to represent Armenia. She presented certificates on behalf of the consulate.
A slideshow and speeches by Homenetmen Western USA Regional board member Maro Kechichian and Ararat’s A division committee chair Armen Zadourian concluded the official presentation.
Nonetheless, the crowd was there to hear from the champions and it wasn’t disappointing: anecdotes, memories, jokes and advice, the trio cheerfully remembered it all. From technical discussions about coaching, to proud feelings of wearing the Armenian flag on their chest; every topic was broached that night.
A cake the size of a basketball court ended the night on a sweet note and everyone went home proud and confident. “Elevate yourself and others with you;” Homenetmen’s legacy was alive and well, and the next generation of athletes to rise from its ranks was waiting in the shadows.