VAN NUYS—The Homenetmen’s 35th Annual Navasartian Athletic Games officially began on Saturday, May 8 at Birmingham High School with a series of basketball games.
Earlier that same day, the blessing of the Navasartian torch, now a customary event, was held at the Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. In attendance were Homenetmen Central Executive Vice-Chairperson Koko Balian; Honorary President of the 33rd Navasartian Games Vahagn Thomassian; previous “Exemplary Homenetmen Member” title bearers Zakar Chorbajian and Albert Ounjian; representatives of Homenetmen chapter executives; ARS “Anahid” chapter members; numerous parents, guests, and athletes.
Rev. Father Razmig Khatchadourian presided over the event and conveyed his blessing remarks, which entailed delivering a symbolic message for the torch light to represent a guiding light in the lives of each Armenian family and athlete. He also shared the blessings and congratulatory wishes of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
After attendees joined Rev. Father Khatchadourian in a collective prayer, the Navasartian torch was set aflame by a single candle, blessed beforehand. Regional Executive Chairperson Steve Artinian passed the torch to the athletes representing the region’s 17 chapters, who thereby delivered it to Birmingham High School and, in doing so, initiated the Opening Ceremony.
The ceremony commenced with Homenetmen San Fernando Valley “Massis” chapter scouts marching with the American, Armenian, Artsakh, State of California, Homenetmen, and Navasartian flags. Following this procession, the American and Armenian national anthems, as well as the Homenetmen anthem, played.
Then, Nyree Derderian delivered the Navasartian Committee’s message with great pride that the Navasartian Games have embarked on its 35th year and, at the same time, the opening ceremonies have coincided with two great events, including the anniversary of Shushi’s liberation and Mother’s Day weekend. She happily noted the reality that the youth participating in the games are products not only of Homenetmen but also the greater Armenian community, which will undeniably demonstrate their support of the athletes through their presence in the coming weekends.
Following Derderian, Chairperson Steve Artinian welcomed all guests and commended the thousands of people who, year after year, volunteer their time for the benefit of the coming generation’s future. He also announced the 2010 “Exemplary Homenetmen Member,” Berj Jamjian, outlining his great attributes. Jamjian expressed his thanks for having the title bestowed upon him and communicated the immense pride he feels for being a part of Homenetmen.
Artinian also presented the Honorary President of the 2010 Navasartian Athletic Games, George Abraham Jamgochian, citing his great character and mindfulness of his culture, community, the Armenian youth, and Homenetmen. Jamgochian thanked the Regional Executive for entrusting him as Honorary President. With a round of applause, Jamjian and Jamgochian received a warm response from the audience.
After the announcements, Ani Keshishian, an athlete of the Homenetmen “Massis” Chapter recited the athlete’s oath on behalf of the thousands of athletes who will be participating in the games.
In conclusion, Khachig Khalatian delivered the Regional Executive’s message, congratulating Berj Jamjian and George Jamgochian. He expressed confidence that all athletes participating in the Navasartian Games will assuredly adhere to the Homenetmen motto, “Elevate Yourself and Others With You.” The opening concluded with Steve Artinian and Jano Kahvedjian presenting certificates to delegates who attended the Pan-Homenetmen Athletic Games, which took place in the summer of 2009 for the first time in Armenia.
After an eventful and uplifting ceremony, the 35th Annual Navasartian Athletic Games officially kicked-off with Honorary President George A. Jamgochian performing the tip-off for the first of many basketball tournaments still to come.