As we welcome the month of May and the flowers that bloom under its gaze, a hype of sorts begins to develop in the Armenian Community in the shape of, “The Navasartian Games.” It begins with a hush and is quickly replaced by a loudness that causes the hype to escalate in anticipation to the kick-off of, the grandest and most successful tournament on offer to the Armenian community stateside. A tournament, which routinely and traditionally repeats itself year in and year out until its conclusion at a feverish pace on the Fourth of July weekend. The organizers of this event, and under the stewardship of Homenetmen’s Western United States Regional Executive Committee, are a group of esteemed volunteers who have vast experience in putting together a tournament that runs uninterrupted for two months, all the while planning and executing several other events during this period of time that take us right up to the closing ceremonies weekend.
The list of details to putting together a tournament of the size and magnitude of the Navasartian Games are, simply, endless. The organizers will tell you that this year’s games will irrefutably be the biggest yet. The biggest in terms of athlete participation, the number of sports and teams that enter, organizers, volunteers, sponsors, sporting venues, committees, and details too numerous to mention. No one would attempt to doubt the enormity of this year’s games because if the past is any indicator of how well the tournament fared, then the previous 35 tournaments should’ve served as a litmus test to the level of success Homenetmen will enjoy this year. You see, each Navasartian Games did better than the one before in terms of record participation and attendance, and this should serve as a warning that the outcome of this year’s games will be no different success-wise, once again upholding the tradition that the 36th. Navasartian Games will match and surpass last year’s record breaking tournament.
Once the games are afoot, we’ll invariably witness the tournament take on a life of its own in the form of the largest gathering of athletes and volunteers witnessed in the Armenian community. As a matter of pride recited for the past several years, it is by and large, the biggest amateur tournament in the state of California. An accolade previously held by the Inner City Youth Games. To achieve an honor as distinguished as this did not come without a price. The sheer increase in the number of teams that have been participating to reach this plateau is amplified, only, by the utter dedication of the hordes of volunteers that steer this huge ship that we so affectionately call, Homenetmen.
It is these volunteers that bring about the kind of sustained success that the Navasartian Games have enjoyed for close to four decades. The litany of information, protocols and logistics that go into the Navasartian Games from start to finish is staggering, and is largely carried out by this army of volunteer workers. The fact that this has been at all possible is a testament to those whose heritage means so much that, non, give a second thought of not putting up with the physically and mentally exhausting, but fruitful work that goes into the tournament. Homenetmen has been able to evoke an ethos in the Armenian Community that has given a fundamental character to our culture. The volunteers that walk through its doors are encouraged to exude their best, and by incessantly challenging its members and volunteers to look ahead and evolve, Homenetmen has, thus, been able to constantly reinvent itself. As a result, it is a certainty that the youth of today and the future generations would enjoy the offerings of this truly esteemed organization.
Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the times, considering there’s no one out there to motivate you to become better than you already are. I am by no means writing these words to bestow superlatives at Homenetmen, nor by any means an attempt at casting aspersions in anyone’s way, but the simple truth that no one in the largest Armenian Community in the diaspora today stands shoulder to shoulder with Homenetmen, is a crying shame, while at the same time a testament to Homenetmen’s self-preserving formula that has given it the kind of self-belief, growth and longevity that has lasted unfettered for decades on end, and, the subject of envy from similar organizations looking from the outside in. The fact that the competition is severely lacking, or, dare I say, non-existent, lessens the variety of programs that would otherwise have been available to the youth who are not members of Homenetmen. Evidently, competition would’ve added additional creativity, and that would only have benefited the youngsters of today and at the same time contributed to the “greater good” of the community. I suppose we can safely ascertain that, any other organization’s loss is Homenetmen’s gain.
On the forefront of gain, Homenetmen has gained the ability to run the Navasartian Games with a gamut of sports which will be taking place at its customary venue at Birmingham High School, in Van Nuys, California. With roughly 6,000 athletes participating and competing in many different sporting activities, the games are scheduled to open on Sunday, May 15th 2011, with plenty of culinary fare and competitions all day. The various sports and numerous events are to be scheduled and posted at the tournament’s own dedicated website www.navasartiangames.com . For an in-depth look at everything that’s the Navasartian Games, the Navasartian Committee which comprises of 10 individuals whose cumulative experience in Homenetmen would add up to several hundred years, has prepared a website whose task is to keep the community literally informed on a daily basis. The site is currently active with a plethora of information for your viewing and reading pleasure. Once the games begin in earnest on May 15th, and until the conclusion of the games on the Fourth of July weekend, the site will be updated constantly as the days and weeks wear on. The diligent work of the committee will not go unnoticed, since they are the heartbeat of what is and what isn’t at the Navasartian Games. The 10 members of the Navasartian Games Committee are:
Mher Tavidian – Chairman
Salpi Jejeian – Vice-Chair / Public Relations
Karineh Titizian –Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Ari Boyajian –Advertising
Cima Garabetian –Banquet
Vahe Ohanessian –Festival
Norayr Saghbazarian –Treasurer
Sevag Garabetian –Facilities
Ossig Movsessian –Door
Fred Babajanians – Athletic Representative
The above mentioned committee members will be orchestrating the Navasartian Games from start to finish.
Opening Day: May 15, 2011.
Location: Birmingham High School, 17000 Haynes St., Van Nuys, CA. 91406.
Come and join us at Homenetmen for food, fun and competitive games.
Kick-Off Party: The Games are not considered open without the kick-off banquet which will take place on Thursday, May 19th., at the Glendale Hilton.
Victory Ball: No Navasartian Games will ever be deemed complete without the hip and customary Victory Ball. This year the Ball will revert back to the much praised CBS Studios and will take place on June 25th.
Navasartian Closing Weekend Schedule:
Thursday, June 30, 4 p.m. to Midnight.
Friday, July 1, 4 p.m. to Midnight
Saturday, July 2, 8 a.m. – Midnight
Sunday, July 3, 8 a.m. – Midnight
Karnig Sarkissian : Thursday, June 30 and Saturday, July 2.
Harout Pamboukjian: Sunday, July 3.
In addition, there will be a host of singers and entertainers whose names and appearance dates will be announced in the coming days and weeks.
As a conclusion to the 36th Navasartian Games, the 35,000 or so guests and attendees are treated to the traditional and spectacular Fourth of July Fireworks, which have been a mainstay of these splendid games, and will feature this year again during the Festival Weekend.
For everything that’s the Navasartian Games visit here.