Thursday at the 80th Annual AYF Olympic Games

WASHINGTON (A.W.)–Thursday is a light day at the AYF Olympics. Most people arrive on Friday. Those who come on Thursday are often the golfers and tennis players and their families. Golf and tennis are the first events of the Olympics–and always take place on Friday morning. Let us not forget the alumni golfers who look forward to this yearly chance to play a round with old friends.

AYF-ers at the baseball game
AYF-ers at the baseball game

Thursday is a nice day to arrive. All the excitement of the weekend is in the air, but the crowds aren’t. It is a time when you can really visit with folks without having to arrange a dinner or breakfast to do so. No one is in a rush to do anything, because there is not much to do yet. The host committee though is busy tending to last-minute arrangements and manning the welcoming booth.

It is fun to see the families gather. For many of us, living in different parts of the country, the Olympics are an Armenian–and an AYF–ritual. But, more and more, the Olympics Weekend is also a family reunion for many families: Mom and dad live in Boston, daughter Sona lives in Detroit with her family, son Armen lives in LA, and the grandparents are in Florida. This is more the norm.

Missing this year is the stalwart and dedicated reporter of the Armenian Weekly, Tom Vartabedian. After 40 years of service, Tom has retired from reporting on the Olympics. Several people have commented on missing him. He has been grooming his replacements for the past year. We have a dedicated team on the job this year and it will take all of us working together to replace one very good fellow. There is a rumor afloat, however, that Tom is writing an article in absentia, so stay tuned.

Back row: Jack and Chris Mardoian. Front row: Onnik Dinkjian John and Barbara Berberian and Adam Berberian.
Back row: Jack and Chris Mardoian. Front row: Onnik Dinkjian John and Barbara Berberian and Adam Berberian.

The highlight of this first day of the Olympic Weekend was AYF Night at the Nationals Park. Two busloads of us went to see the Washington Nationals play the Florida Marlins. It was a perfect Armenian-American night for the great American pastime in our nation’s capital. Ara Sarajian, the Account Executive for Ticket Sales for the Nationals, made the arrangements. Ara’s very proud family was there. Razmig Darakjian and Varouj Mahdessian from Toronto attended and wore Blue Jays shirts. Mary Mardoian attended her first baseball game in over forty year! John and Barbara Berberian and their son Adam sat with Onnik Dinkjian watching the game. There was a rumor that John might have been throwing the first pitch and that Onnik was going to sing “Take me out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch… but they were just rumors. Steve and Jeff Hagopian were there as well. It was an excellent evening.

Upon returning to the hotel, the younger set freshened up and headed out to a dance club. This was also part of the Thursday festivities organized by the committee. There is no report on that, as this reporter knew a dance club was no place for him.

More to come…

Mark Gavoor is Associate Professor of Operations Management in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management at North Park University in Chicago. He is an avid blogger and oud player.

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