“Are you going to Seniors this year?” “Do you have your dresses picked out for Seniors?” “Am I going to see you at Olympics?”
I first had to learn what “Seniors” was and why everyone kept talking about it, but after this weekend, I will be asking every AYF member if I am going to see them at Olympics in Worcester next year.
I became a member of the AYF-YOARF Eastern Region on February 20, 2020. Olympics was my first in-person event as an AYF member after spending over a year and a half on Zoom. My expectations were high, considering every AYF member from across the country reminisces and looks forward to the weekend. Now, I can comfortably say Olympics 2021 exceeded my expectations.
I started off the weekend with the DC “Ani” chapter playing softball. From one corner of the field, you could hear traditional live Armenian music being played by my fellow ungers…from the other corner, the pride in my teammates’ voices as they chanted “DC, DC.”
Olympics dances are like no other. I finally saw Onnik Dinkjian perform, heard the folk songs of my ancestors and danced the shoorch bar with ungers near and far.
Although Olympics weekend is jam-packed with sporting events and dances, the mingling that happens on the field between softball games and track events has to be my favorite part. It’s what left a smile on my face the whole weekend. Having joined AYF right before COVID hit and everything went digital, I have been a Zoom AYF-er for most of my AYF career. It was beautiful and unreal to meet people face to face that I have only seen in a small box on my screen all year. I was also able to meet ungers from all over the US that share the same fire in their hearts, people whose eyes light up when they talk about AYF. It is something I am so grateful I can experience as an Armenian.
Here are a few things I learned at Olympics:
- If you see a shoorch bar, you join in – no questions asked
- It’s okay if you don’t know how to play softball, you can learn on the spot (somewhat)
- Running track after getting two hours of sleep is difficult but not impossible
- Never question why there is an opening ceremony on Sunday
- Cherish every moment you have with your ungers
Thank you to the Providence “Varantian” Chapter and to the AYF Eastern Region for an unforgettable first Olympics. Looking forward to Olympics 2022 in Worcester, and of course DC in 2023.