And just like that it is over.
It feels like just a minute ago that my wife, her mother, and I were flying from Chicago to Philadelphia. As AYF alumni, it wasn’t clear who was more excited to go. It mattered not if we were in our sixties or just turned 90.
If you go to Olympics on Thursday and return on Monday, it comes to five days and four nights. The weekend is so packed full of activity and fun that it goes by so quickly. But then… it’s over. And the ending is always abrupt as we return to our “normal” lives. No one captures this better than the Kanarians.
Last year, Rich Kanarian posted this: “It’s that time of year again… Sleep deprived and having withdrawal pains after spending time with old and new friends.” This year our dear friend, ace Olympic photographer and Rich’s daughter, Tamar Kanarian, made a similar Tuesday morning post. In an almost haiku like simplicity and depth, she captures that day after feeling in a Facebook post:
Most miserable day of the year indeed. Hope you weren’t hurt badly and recover quickly Tamar.
In his famous quote on posters and plaques in almost every Armenian Church and home in the country, William Saroyan said of Armenians, “For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” Imagine when hundreds meet, like this past weekend.
Even though we have an independent vibrant Armenia that we can visit, get internships in, volunteer in, and even relocate to; for a vast majority of us, weekends like the AYF Olympics defines nation and the Armenian Spirit for us. We feel it to our very core.
For 85 years, the AYF has facilitated the prolific creation New Armenias at each and every Olympics. Even though we have an independent vibrant Armenia that we can visit, get internships in, volunteer in, and even relocate to; for a vast majority of us, weekends like the AYF Olympics defines nation and the Armenian Spirit for us. We feel it to our very core. And just like that, when it is over, we feel just like what Rich and Tamar expressed in their posts.
Most of us have returned to work or school today. We are probably sleep deprived. By tomorrow or the next day, the whir and hum of our daily grind will consume us and demand our full attention. Still then, the magic and memory of the AYF Olympics will linger and make us feel a happiness that is also tinged with sadness.
As conveyed in my recent coverage, the weekend was very well-organized. The Philadelphia Committee had everything well planned. (They started planning the day after the Milwaukee Olympics ended last year.) Chicago is following that same game plan already. We got the first social media messages this morning urging us to make our room reservations for next year now. The quality of planning these Olympics is a testimony to how well the Armenians have done in this country. The AYF members and alumni are well-educated and have responsible professional positions. All our skills and talents come together to organize Olympic Weekends at a world class event planning level.
Shant Aghajanian and Gevork Dramgotchian co-chaired a cadre of talented people that resulted in one of the largest Ad Books ever, spectacular entertainment, great facilities, and over 800 Hye-Passes pre-sold, to mention some of the highlights. The AYF Central Executive, the Olympic Governing Body, and other volunteers from all over worked all weekend in a labor of love to make this Olympic Weekend memorable for one and all.
We flew to Philadelphia on Thursday and we returned to Chicago on Monday. Chicago is excited to host next year. We will take the fine examples of the past few years in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and New Jersey and endeavor to maintain the excellence and maybe even raise the bar.
On behalf of one and all… Thank you Philadelphia! You all did a magnificent job.
See you in Chicago!