CHICAGO, Ill.—The Homenetmen Eastern Region USA’s 26th annual Navasartian Games took place July 1-4, in Chicago. The games were organized by the Homenetmen Chicago chapter, and hosted by the Regional Executive, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. Homenetmen Central Executive member and Eastern Region USA liaison Yeghpair Hratch Mesrobian was also in attendance at the games.
The Homenetmen Navasartian games portray the meaningful purpose of the Homenetmen in the Armenian community. Athletes, members, volunteers, families, and other community members gather to compete and enjoy the Armenian spirit and the Homenetmen camaraderie under the Homenetmen motto of “Rise and Raise/Elevate Yourself and Others with You.” Although there are many winners of the athletic competitions, the Homenetmen family and its many members are always the champions.
During the four-day event, Homenetmen athletes competed with friends and fellow members from all ten Eastern Region chapters: Albany, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Washington DC. Toronto represented the Canadian Region with two basketball teams.
The host Chicago chapter organized a great weekend of nightly events at the beautiful Westin Chicago Northwest hotel. The games were played at the Wheaton Academy and Prairie Stone Athletic Center.
The athletes, scouts, members, and families embarked to Chicago on June 30. In the evening, a short meeting was held with all the chapter supervisors to outline the game schedules, guidelines, and high level of sportsmanship expected from the athletes.
This year’s Navasartian games began the morning of July 1 and ended July 3 with peewee (12 and under), midget (13-15), junior (16-18), senior (19+), and veteran (35+) men’s and women’s team and individual sports competitions.ut
Friends and family were found at all fields and courts cheering on their local Homenetmen chapters. These family members and friends might have been cheering on their favorite teams, but they were part of a greater showing of love for the Homenetmen and the Armenian spirit.
On the evening of Sun., July 3, the weekend was celebrated with the annual Victory Gala Banquet and Dance. The event began with the Chicago scouts marching band and flag bearers escorting the night’s honorary guests into a room of 300 Homenetmen members and supporters.
The evening’s celebration started with the singing of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems, followed by the blessing of the table by His Eminence Archbishop Choloyan. The evening’s program continued with a welcoming message from Homenetmen of Chicago’s games steering committee member Yeghpair Mike Demirjian. He continued by thanking the Chicago Chapter Executive, all Chicago members, volunteers, and sister organizations for volunteering their time to make the weekend a success.
Homenetmen of Chicago Executive Chair Yeghpair Varouj Kokuzian also thanked the games steering committee, volunteers, and community members.
- Varouj was followed by U.S. Eastern Region Executive Chair Yeghpair Vahe Tanashian who thanked the Regional Athletic Committee members, Chicago’s chapter executives and steering committee, members, athletes, sister organization members, and all volunteers who spent months planning and working diligently towards the success of the weekend.
- Vahe reminded the gathered guests that the Homenetmen always finishes the Navasartian Games weekends as winners, not due to a soccer, basketball or volleyball team championship; rather, the weekend proves that the Homenetmen is an organization that promotes a proud Armenian spirit in its members. Thus not only making it a victory for the Homenetmen, but a victory for all Armenians.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) U.S. Eastern Region representative Unger Vazken Ayvazian confirmed the importance of the Homenetmen in the region. Unger Vazken reiterated the ARF’s support of the Homenetmen as for the 26th time the ARF has been a part of the Navasartian games. He continued, “On all the world’s continents where Armenians are found, this organization has a special purpose. The proof is seen once again here, in Chicago, where through the work of the local chapter we celebrate yet another successful Navasartian game. You can search here for the command ‘Elevate Yourself and Others with You’ and find that the Homenetmen is always ready to fulfil its duty, always following that motto, respecting the purpose, and a prepared, volunteer army.”
Homenetmen Central Executive representative Yeghpair Hratch Mesrobian stressed the importance of Homenetmen members continuing to give their time and energy to organize such first class events. He reiterated in his speech that the Homenetmen from its inception strives to prepare respectful and pure people, Armenians, athletes, and scouts. He continued that with ever changing times, Homenetmen members today are asked to give more of themselves to the organization. With this involvement the Homenetmen will continue to raise future generations, but not without the greater Armenian community’s help, work, and support.
The final remarks were given by His Eminence Archbishop Choloyan. His Eminence began by congratulating the success of the 26th Navasartian games and the continued success of the “98 years young” Homenetmen organization. He spoke about how the organization instills in the youth Armenian self-realization and a belief in our values, while from a young age teaching respect and rules. His Eminence continued that it is our responsibility to strive for unity, to own our entire Armenian heritage, to promote the Homenetmen in every way possible, and, most importantly, to keep our youth in its ranks so that they will grow to be defenders of our faith, culture, and Armenian existence. The Archbishop reminded the crowd that many organizations have come and gone, but the Homenetmen always stays youthful and gives saintly breath and blood to the Armenian people.
After the formal ceremony was completed, the crowd danced and celebrated until the early morning hours to the wonderful singing and music of Yeghpair Kevork Artinian from Philadelphia and his band.
During a break from the music and dancing, the Regional Athletic Committee awarded the championship teams their trophies:
Jr. Men’s Basketball : New York
Sr. Men’s Basketball: New York
Midget Boys’ Basketball: Toronto
Midget Boys’ Soccer: Chicago
PW Basketball: Chicago
Sr. Men’s Volleyball: Washington DC
Sr. Women’s Volleyball: New Jersey
Sr. Women’s Basketball: Boston
Sr. Men’s Soccer: Boston
The closing ceremonies were held on Mon., July 4. Yeghpair Koko Papazian emceed the closing ceremonies; he introduced the honorary guests, the Homenetmen scouts, and athletes.
After the athletes entered, the following honored guests shared a few remarks, reflecting on the games and the future of the organization:
- Homenetmen of Chicago’s games steering committee member Yeghpair Koko Papazian
- Homenetmen of Chicago Executive Chair Yeghpair Varouj Kokuzian
- ARS Eastern U.S. Regional executive representative Ungerouhi Silva Sagherian
- Homenetmen Eastern U.S. Regional Executive Chair Yeghpair Vahe Tanashian
- ARF U.S. Eastern Region representative Unger Vazken Ayvazian
- Homenetmen Central Executive representative Yeghpair Hratch Mesrobian
The speakers stressed to the athletes the importance of continuing their great work for the Homenetmen and the Armenian cause.
His Eminence once again spoke eloquently and told the youth they are the keepers of the Armenian homeland, the church, and culture. He finished by turning to the gathered youth and proclaiming, “Ararat is awaiting you, march victorious and always forward, you are the keepers of our taken lands.”
The ceremonies ended with the distribution of trophies, awards, and souvenirs. Regional Athletic Committee member Yeghpair Hagop Soulakian presented the following trophies:
Swimming Overall Co-Champions: Detroit and Washington D.C.
Track Overall Champions: Chicago
Best Sportsmanship: Philadelphia
Most Improved Chapter: Chicago
Overall Champions: Chicago
The final results:
Thus ended the Navasartian 26th Games, with a victory for the entire Homenetmen. All athletes returned home in anticipation of the 27th Annual Navasartian Games in Providence, in 2017.
Team sports first and second place teams.
|Jr. Men’s Basketball||New York||Chicago|
|Sr. Men’s Basketball||New York||Boston|
|Midget Boys’ Basketball||Toronto||Chicago|
|Midget Boys’ Soccer||Chicago||Washington DC|
|PW Basketball||Chicago||New Jersey|
|Sr. Men’s Volleyball||Washington DC||Providence|
|Sr. Women’s Volleyball||New Jersey||Chicago|
|Sr. Women’s Basketball||Boston||Chicago|
|Sr. Men’s Soccer||Boston||Chicago|
|Veterans’ Basketball *||Boston||Chicago|
* This was played as a friendly match and did not affect the scoring for the games.