BY PATTYL APOSHIAN KASPARIAN
What’s NOC, you ask? NOC is a nascent acronym that exemplifies a group of professional, experienced and passionate volunteers who dedicated hundreds of hours to make the 36th Annual Navasartian Games a huge success.
Congratulations to the Navasartian Organizing Committee (NOC) for showcasing Homenetmen’s talent and highlighting the pride of our nation.
This year, the Navasartian Games, also known as The Navs amongst the young participants drew in a crowd of nearly 30,000 attendees and members. And no, these aren’t exaggerated newspaper numbers! NOC’s Vice Chairman, Kouyr Salpi Jejeian reports, “We had record breaking attendance. 261 teams. 2,693 athletes. 630 games. 22,872 attendees, 4,763 members. 1,116 vendors and volunteers.”
My family and I enjoyed Navasartian on various levels. First to be noted is the structured and ample parking. Next, was the cleanliness of the entire facility. Tables were sanitized, trash was disposed and bathrooms were cleaned around the clock.
Excitement was everywhere. During any given hour, every inch of Birmingham High School was being utilized. From the use of the three full-size basketball courts to the soccer field to the track and field track, athletes were putting their best foot forward and learning the importance of sportsmanship and the value of team work.
I admire the NOC as well as every single volunteer who worked towards the success of the Navasartian Games. On behalf of all the attendees, I applaud you for your leadership and for your generous spirits. We should remember that the volunteers we see behind the ticket booths, making chicken press sandwiches or running around with a walkie talkie in hand are people like you and me. They have jobs. They have families. They have obligations.
Before signing up for full day shifts, our dedicated volunteers didn’t look at the size of their paychecks. They didn’t use their days off from work for a much needed mani, pedi and massage. They didn’t lounge poolside to escape the scorching heat.
Our volunteers worked tirelessly. They gave up their stiletto Jimmy Choos for Nike sneakers and worked 12 hours straight. They gave up their customary cigar night Wednesday to transform a homogeneous high school into a magical venue fit for our athletes and scouts.
And the fruits of their labor paid off. As 5,000 viewers watched our athletes, scouts and volunteers parade in the closing ceremonies, every single volunteer walked taller and prouder.
Every night was unique. The performers were top notch. Attendees were singing, dancing and celebrating with family and friends.
Vendors were networking and selling goods from tasty nuts to Armenian books to hand-made costume jewelry.
Yerevan Nights was conducting interviews and streaming live from Navasartian.
HTV was reporting every last detail–from an interview with an energetic 6-year old basketball player to seasoned Homenetmen supporters enjoying the festival.
Nav the Lion, the official Navasartian mascot was circling the festival and enjoying its superstar status as kids of all ages came to greet him and stand for pictures.
It’s ironic. Moments like this, the pain is forgotten. I’m confident that the volunteers forgot about the blisters under their feet, clipped nail polish or the glistening sweat on their forehead.
They just enjoyed the moment.
NOC Committee Members
Mher Tavitian- Chairman
Salpi Jejeian- Vice-Chairman/Public and Sponsor Relations
Cima Garabedian- Banquet
Karineh Avaness-Titizian- Closing Ceremonies
Ari Boyajian- Website/Advertising
Norayr Saghbazarian- Treasurer
Vahe Ohanesian- Festival
Sevag Garabedian- Facilities
Susie Ipekian-Minoyan- Entertainment
Hovsep Osik Movsessian- Entrance
Steve Artinian- Consultant
Dr. Sarkis Garabedian- Consultant
Raffi Khatchadourian- Consultant
Nareg Medzachian- Staff
Closing Ceremony Officials
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff
U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman
Assistant Chief Michael Moore
Captain Nick Zingo
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy
Homenetmen Central Committee Member Koko Balian
A.R.F. Committee Member Koko Topalian
Homenetmen Chairman Karnig Aprahamian
35th Navasartian President George Jamkotchian
2011 Exemplary Member Roupen Gourjian
Western Prelacy Executive Council Member George Chorbajian
Benefactor Mrs. Alice Andonian
Reverand Vazken Atmajian
Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian
Glendale School District Board Member Greg Krikorian
A.R.S. Regional Representative Arouse Melkonian
A.R.S. Regional Representative Carmen Libaridian