BY DONIG L. DONABEDIAN
Amid the fanfare, fireworks, singers, entertainers, athletes, assortment of tasty edibles and vendors, it was a spectacle to behold. The Navasartian Games are indisputably the largest amateur athletic and sports games in the Great State of California.
With an army of several hundred volunteers, the Homenetmen Western United States Regional Executive Committee hosted a magical tournament and a four-day festival at the close of the games at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, to rival and surpass any other in the state. For two months, beginning in May, The Navasartian Games have been underway with a bevy of sports competitions, and concluded with a festival where 35,000 people attended the four-day spectacle which began on July 3rd and ended on July 6th.
What would the Navasartian Games be like without its traditional closing ceremony and parade? Soulless, I would surmise. Well, this year’s conclusion to the games did not disappoint. There was a fantastic parade, entertainment of the highest caliber, dignitaries, VIP’s and avid Homenetmen followers galore. Dignitaries who were present at the closing ceremony include Archbishop Mardirossian, Council General of the Republic of Armenia Ardag Kaloustian, Council General of Lebanon Johnny Abrahim, 38th Navasartian Games and Festival Honorary Presidents Sarkis and Alin Nourian, 2013 Homentemen Exemplary Member Zareh Ekmekjian, Homenetmen C.E Representatives Viggen Davidian and Hagop Tufenkjian, ARF Central Representative Viken Yacoubian, Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman, City of Los Angeles Council Member Paul Kirkorian, Sheriff Lee Baca, Chief Gary Nalbandian, Glendale Unified School District Board Member Greg Krikorian, West Valley Patrol Commanding Officier Captain David Grimes, LAPD West Valley Division Area Captain John Egan and LAPD N. Hollywood Division Commanding Officer Captain Stephan Carmona. This year saw 3,300 athletes participate in the tournament, many of whom took part in the parade, each athlete representing one of 18 chapters in the region.
The organizational nous it took to host an event of this enormity is nothing short of superb. Homenetmen’s savvy shone through as the leading scout and athletic organization in the Armenian American Community in the Western United States. The games’ respectability and reach was huge and compelling enough that, for the first time ever, due to audience demand, the closing ceremonies and some of the final games were televised LIVE on U.S. Armenia TV.
Homenetmen is an organization that encourages people of all ages to partake in it in one capacity or another, from the very young to whatever age one may be. Therein is the source of the pull power that the organization enjoys as a volunteer based entity. In an effort to accommodate the really young, one of the main attractions at the 38th Navasartian Games was the Children’s Carnival, where hundreds of children enjoyed fun games and rides.
As for those who competed in soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, swimming, tennis, table tennis, chess, and eating contests, the four-day festival witnessed the incredible competitive spirit of the games come to the fore. The athletes pushed harder than ever before to reach the finishing line or win a championship. They did it all with solid determination. The games come around once a year and every athlete’s goal is to make the best of it. They will be back next year to exert every effort to elevate themselves and their chapters to the high standards that the Navasartian Games has always set.
The Homenetmen Western U.S. Regional Executive Committee would like to extend its gratitude to the sponsors that made the Navasartian Games possible.
Special gratitude goes to the Navasartian Organizing Committee (N.O.C.) for the monumental task that they managed to perform, the Festival Committee, the Public Relations Team, the Regional Athletic Committee (R.E.C.), and the countless volunteers and supporters without whom the tournament this year would have been inconceivable.
Below are this year’s final standings. Congratulations to all the winners!
|Basketball Event Trophy|
|3rd Place||Los Angeles|
|Soccer Event Trophy|
|1st Place||Los Angeles|
|Volleybal Event Trophy|
|Track & Field Event Trophy|
|Swimming Event Trophy|
|Table Tennis Event Trophy|
|Tennis Event Trophy|