News & Updates
July 21st, 2012 / Volunteer prep for the upcoming AGBU World Games 2012 - Los Angeles
As the AGBU World Games quickly approach, volunteers are working ever harder to ensure this year's event not only runs smoothly, but churns out memories that will last a lifetime, for both athletes and those working behind the scenes. To ensure the latter are on track, a volunteer workshop was hosted at the AGBU center in Pasadena on July 21. Once the volunteers found their seats amid ebullient greetings and cheery conversations (impressive energy considering it was before 10 am on a Saturday), order was more or less attained and the expectant audience was introduced to the sub-committee chairpersons. In the organized chaos that ensued, volunteers found their sub-committee (or decided on the spot where they would be most useful) and soon groups were meeting all over the hall, gathering contact information, talking logistics. As these informal meetings ended, volunteers gravitated towards the table stuffing athletes' bags with towels and the necessary paperwork. An assembly line was established, and I couldn't help but feel this clockwork in working together will be what makes the 2012 AGBU World Games the kind of week that will sit deep in everyone's hearts for a long while. - Astghik Hairapetian
July 27th - First Arrival of Guests / Athletes - Thursday Eve.
These last few days have been a very exciting time for the AGBU chapters across the world. On Thursday the Pasadena chapter greeted fellow AGBU members from Egypt, France, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, and Nicosia. As the athletes arrived, volunteers checked them in at the Universal Hilton and gave them their official World Games badges. There was a very exciting atmosphere as we all got to meet our Armenian brothers and sisters from across the world. The anticipation was certainly a long awaited one. Although our athletes are competitors in the coming games, everyone was welcoming and made friends instantly. It will certainly be a memorable experience. The festivities have only just begun! - Sareen Habeshian
July 27th/ 28th, 2012 / Arrival of Athletes & Guests at the AGBU World Games Los Angeles, 2012
We Armenians just do not seem to be able to stay away from one another for to long. We always find an excuse to gather together from all corners of the world, a bit like a large family who has not seen their cousins in years. The AGBU World Games is a perfect example of how, should we feel the need to, will go out of our way to plan an exciting event that will serve as a prime reason for us to get to know one another. As our guests arrived from Paris, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Toronto, and Cairo, they were met with a dynamic welcoming committee never missing a chance to celebrate as fellow AGBU athletes walked in from their tiring journey to the United States. With laughs and stories, the registration room was filled with not only a vibe of excitement as the games were close at hand, but also with the feeling that, somehow, we had been reunited to a family that we had not seen. Of course this is going to make it a bit difficult to bid adieu to our new friends in a week once they must head back home, but there are four words which seem to be playing the role of a savior for us all as we wish to keep in contact together and make sure that no one is saying goodbye forever: “Add me on Facebook!”. As I’ve spent the last two days at the Universal City Hilton Hotel registering our international AGBU guests, I have, inevitably, befriended many and have gotten a bit of insight as to how they live and how our countries differ. I can safely say that the World Games will be a learning experience as to how similar and yet slightly different Armenians of the Diaspora can be! While we may come from different parts of the world and speak many different languages, we are all united when we share our mother tongue of Armenian, our motherland Armenia, and, of course, we are all members of a hundred year old organization whose main aim is the entire plan of the World Games: to keep one another connected as Armenians. Hoping all of our new friends enjoy America as much as we enjoy having them here! - Deeown Shaverdian
July 28th, 2012 / Kickoff of the Futsal Tournament
The AGBU-AYA World Games started off Saturday morning at 9:00 AM July 28 with two futsal games at AGBU valley’s indoor gym. The first game was Pasadena vs AGBU Iran. Each game consisted of two twenty-minute halves, and spectators were fully engaged for every minute of them. Both teams had impressive footwork and endurance, but AGBU Iran took the win 12-3. The next game started at 10:00 AM with AGBU Iraq vs AGBU valley. AGBU valley quickly took the lead with their assists, natural teamwork, and game-winning shots. The game ended 10-1 with AGBU valley in the lead. It was a great start to get everyone ready and excited for the coming games and events this week! - Natalie Baghdassarian
July 28th, 2012 / AGBU Impact Photo Exhibit
With the start of these 19th AGBU-AYA World Games comes the continuation of a great legacy, one nearly sixty years in the making. It was this legacy that was celebrated as the newly established youth group, AGBU Impact, set off to create a photo gallery detailing the evolution of these games and the individuals who have been a part of it throughout the years. The exhibit itself consists of forty or so different images and keepsakes taken from various sources, each representing a different stage in the development of the games to what they are today. Images from the 1960’s up to the most recent games in 2008 stand side by side, as visitors of the gallery are swept both back in time and off to faraway lands such as Lebanon, Syria, Canada, Argentina, and even the motherland in Armenia, as they are given the opportunity to relive previous incarnations of the games in the sites where they once took place. Through the combined efforts of AGBU Impact and its dedicated members, (many of which are also athletes, scouts, and volunteers for the games), this exhibit came into fruition through weeks of hard work. These images now adorn the AGBU Pasadena Center’s Boyadjian Hall, alongside a number of banners and old jerseys that showcase the rich history of AGBU-AYA and its many members which span across the globe. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this entire project is the number of familiar faces that can be spotted as one traverses throughout the gallery, hopping from picture to picture and taking in the immense history that surrounds the World Games. Young athletes can spot their parents and grandparents, standing proud in their basketball jerseys and uniforms alongside former teammates. Even current committee members and volunteers can see images of themselves and their families, reliving the glory days as they continue to be an essential part of the Games. Maybe someday the young athletes and volunteers, such as those of AGBU Impact, will be in the shoes of these veteran AGBU members, as the legacy and history of the AGBU-AYA and its World Games will continue to live on and inspire new generations of members to act, get involved, and leave a mark in this organization’s prestigious history. – Katherine Tabakian
July 28th, 2012 - Meet & Greet
On Saturday, July 28, the AGBU center in Pasadena, CA was the center of excitement as the AGBU-AYA World Games Meet and Greet took place, and the occasion’s over 600 athletes and supporters from all four corners of the globe gathered to celebrate the festivities to come. It was truly a sight to see so many countries being represented in the small facility as athletes mingled and introduced one another, sharing their traditions and cultures in the process. Maneuvering oneself through the sea of both familiar and new faces, one could easily make out the utterings and sounds of a variety of languages: English, Spanish, French, and most importantly, Armenian. Guests danced the night away, explored the history of previous games through AGBU Impact’s photo gallery, and made new friends, as well as bountiful memories to take home with them, once this week comes to its close. Of course, going back home is the last thing on anyone’s mind at the moment as things are just getting started! - Katherine Tabakian
July 29, 2012 - AGBU World Games Opening Ceremony
The audience was still clamoring for shady seats when the distant drumming began. The drummers – AGBU scouts mostly – made their way around the track, allowing those who were fashionably late, a large fraction of the unabashedly Armenian crowd, to join the spectators, eagerly anticipating the festivities to follow. These began with an operatic rendition of both the American and Armenian anthems, reminding us of the constant duality that exists for Armenians of the diaspora. This was followed by another set of drumming, this time by the John Muir High School drum line. The energy built as the Vartan and Siranoush Kevorkian Dance Academy stormed the stage with enthusiastic group dances This delightful opening soon made way for the most anticipated part of the evening: the parade of AGBU delegations from all over the world. Headed off by Alexandria and followed by dozens more, Buenos Aires, Paris, and Baghdad among them, there was no mistaking the sheer joy of the crowd as they cheered on the foreign delegations and the open-eyed wonderment of the athletes as they waved at their avid supporters in the stands, many of whom they had never met before. “Foreign” began to fade away.Once the delegations were situated on the field, various speakers, including the Archbishop and Shahe Seuylemezian, chairman of the World Games, offered words of encouragement and support. And soon after that: the music began. Athlete, scout, supporter, and the various members of the Ardavazt Theatre Co. stood side by side as they partook in the great Armenian tradition of having a good time.As Element Band played, followed by David Foster himself, the AGBU family danced, sang, or simply chatted, and we saw borders fall by the same force that eliminated language barriers: being Armenian - Astghik Hairapetian
July 29th, 2012 - Opening Ceremony of the 19th AGBU World Games
They say that the five “S’s” of sports are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit. If that is the case, then “spirit” was definitely the word one would use to describe the scene of the AGBU-AYA World Games’ Opening Ceremony that took place Sunday, July 29 in the Pasadena Community College Stadium. The event started around seven o’clock as the AGBU-AYA Scouts’ marching band entered the scene, followed shortly by the event’s guests of honor -the athletes. Each nation marched in proudly following their announcement, as the grand football field slowly filled up, from Argentina to the United States. It became very clear as these young men and women stood side by side one another that the day’s celebration was going to be one to remember. The ceremony began with the anthems of both the AGBU and AYA being sung, followed by a series of speeches and a special address from a veteran AYA athlete to the new generation that stood before him. The real fun began after this however, with the start of the musical portion of the program as the Element Band started the show with their unique blend of modern instrumentation and old, traditional Armenian folk music. Next, the legendary music producer and songwriter David Foster lit up the stage with his guests, exciting the audience and even inviting a few spectators to come up and sing with his accompaniment. Finally, Hovhannes Shahbazyan closed the ceremony with more Armenian dance music as his audience partied and “shoorchbar”ed throughout the field.One cannot deny that the event was a huge success, but more than that, it was a night like no other as it was an opportunity to celebrate life. Halfway through the setlist, the violinist of Element Band paused to address his audience, reveling in the fact that no matter where you look in the world, there is an Armenian to be found and on this day in particular, all of those Armenians had come together, gathered in one place to celebrate, united around one singular cause. It is very clear that despite how these games turn out in the coming days, the true winners will always be the Armenian nation and diaspora as a whole. No matter who will be traveling home with the gold medals and trophies come next Saturday, the fact remains that in the end, we are the true champions! Best of luck to all of our young athletes in the upcoming games! - Katherine Tabakian
July 31st, 2012 / Pasadena High school- Women’s and Men’s’ basketball saw its share of nail bitter and lopsided wins as the competition wrapped its third day of completion.
In Men’s basketball, Pasadena defeated Toronto for the first match of the day. Pasadena opened a 19- lead on layup by Nareg and it never looked back. Pasadena’s stifling defense and teamwork paid off as they went on an 8-1 run to take a commanding, 27-10 lead going into halftime. In the second half, Pasadena continued the onslaught as Nashan stole the ball for a breakaway layup extending the lead to 29-10. Toronto couldn’t get closer than 15 as they plated catch up, losing it 57-36 at the end of regulation. The second match had a similar fate as Cairo dismantled Paris. At the start both teams played good defense as no team scored until the five minute mark. Afterwards, Cairo caught fire and scored 11 points in a row to close the half, 11-0 on a pair of free throws and offensive rebounding. After halftime, Cairo kept pushing and scored three more baskets for a17-0 lead as Paris struggled scoring. However, they got a consolation basket as they scored with seven minutes remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, it didn’t make a dent as Cairo scored again ending it by the score of 1 9- 2 at the end of buzzer. However, the third one witnessed the closest match of the day as Valley 2 beat Toronto. Toronto got off to a 12- 6 lead on a three pointer by Emma Hagopian. They scored two more baskets as Natalie Hagopian made two free throws and a layup for a 16-7 lead going into halftime. Toronto extended the lead to 20-9 on another 3-pt. Undeterred, Valley fought back and went on an 11-1 run to close the gap, 21-19. Furthermore, Karin and Linda made both made 1-2 free throws to tie the game at 21. The teams exchanged leads before Toronto claimed a five point lead with the match nearing its conclusion. Unfortunately, Linda drained a three pointer and made two free-throws. Therefore both teams were tied at 30 after the end of regulation. In overtime, Linda continued to shine as she found Karin under the basket for a layup. Next, Brenda Zatterrik nailed a jumper for a 34-30 lead. However, Toronto made one last push as N. Hagopian made two free throws. Unfortunately, she made 1-2 on the following free throws as they couldn’t believe the match slipped away from them, 34-33. The other Valley team fed off the success of the first one to beat Sydney. Valley got off to a 7-0 lead on a three pointer by Atin assisted by Michelle. They scored two more baskets including two jumpers for an 11-2 lead at halftime. Sydney couldn’t get closer than 10 points for the rest of the match as they lost 25-13. Pasadena’s Men’s’ basketball team, continued its winning ways as they destroyed Montreal. They got off to an early 10-0 lead on a pair of three pointers. They extended the lead by 22 points as they went into halftime holding a 44-22 lead. Montreal couldn’t control the match at all as they played from behind for the rest of the match losing it, 71-48. - Alan Der Ohanessian
August 3rd, 2012 -Two lopsided wins along with a close ending match described men’s and women’s’ basketball.
In men’s’ second semifinal basketball match, Valley 1 beat Montreal. It’s a déjà vu experience as they’ve have beaten them in the preliminary group matches. Valley 1 got off to an 8-0 lead, before being halted by Andrew Garabed on a 3-pt. Montreal fought hard and went on a 7-2 run including a jumper by Danny Ghougassian along with a give and go between Rami Bou- Mehri and Mathew Garabed to tie the game at 10. Both teams battled it out for the rest of the half with Pasadena holding to a four point, 20-16 lead at intermission. Afterwards, Valley 1 extended their lead to 15 points on a jumper and two free throws by Nashen. Montreal couldn’t get closer than seven points for the rest of the match, winning it 41-29. Valley 1 will meet Valley 2 in the final as they beat Pasadena, 33-31. In a fight for the third and four places for women’s’ basketball, Valley 3 beat Cairo but not without hard work. They beat Cairo, 33-26. Valley 3 got to an 8-2 lead on consecutive three pointers. Undeterred, Cairo made it a 4 pt. game on a bank shot by Marina Simonian, 11-7. Valley returned the favor mounting another rally to extend the lead back to eight, with Cairo pushing back as Valley had only a four pt. lead at halftime. In the second half, Valley started to get away with lead, extending it to 15 points on a breakaway basket making it, 30-15. Cairo wouldn’t quit, resorting to half- court trap to put pressure on the opposition from the get go. The plan paid off as they made an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 30-26. However, they struggled with scoring in the dying minutes as Valley made free throws in the most important moments. However, it’s Pasadena not Montreal who got the worst defeat as they got destroyed by Valley 1 in the semifinal. Valley 1 got to a commanding 13-0 lead on consecutive baskets by Romina. Pasadena couldn’t get closer than 13 points as Valley held a 17 point lead at halftime. The trend continued as Valley made one three point after the other along with a stifling defense, causing Pasadena to have numerous turnovers. The score couldn’t be more one-sided, 52-19. - Alan Der Ohanessian
August 4th, 2012 -Tehran beats Montevideo for Men’s Futsal final, in a game mired by tension.
Tehran got on the attacking side early as goalkeeper Favio Boghossian was tested from the onset of the match. The attacks kept coming. Arman Boghossyan was in a scoring position; however his shot hit the post. However, it’s Montevideo who got on the scoring board first. Fabian Keymet’s free kick caught the goalkeeper by surprise for a 1-0 lead. They had another opportunity but they missed it as the defense covered for the goalkeeper’s mistake to avert another goal. The two opportunities for Montevideo fueled Tehran’s drive to score even more. Boghossyan had to dive to save a shot by Harout Baltayah. Eventually, the inevitable happened as Tehran leveled the game. After getting a pass from a teammate, Nareg Navasaryan shot the ball on the fly to score Tehran’s first goal. Minutes later, Tehran had a 2 on 1 opportunity and didn’t miss it, taking a 2-1 lead. In a similar situation, Tehran had a 1on 1 opportunity and put it past Boghossyan to his right for a commanding 3-1 lead. Undeterred, Montevideo kept things close as Juan M. Chanikian scored before intermission to cut lead, 3-2. In the second half, Chanikian got past defender Kirakossyan but the goalkeeper saved it. Nevertheless, Tehran hung tough and scored again. They stole the ball and scored from behind midfield on a powerful shot, extending the lead to three goals. Montevideo kept within a striking distance with another goal on a deflection by Keymet, cutting the lead to two goals, 5-3. Unfortunately for Montevideo, Sargis Agaronian scored another goal for a 6-3 lead with 0:45 remaining. In the dying seconds, Montevideo scored a consolation goal but it was too late as the celebrations had started for team Tehran.- Alan Der Ohanessian
August 4th, 2012 - AGBU 19th World Games Victory Ball
In a blink of an eye, or so it seemed, the AGBU World Games 2012 came to a closing end on the eve of August 4th. As we made our way, both volunteers and athletes, AGBU members and supporters, foreigners and locals, to the Universal Studios backlot where our extravagant party would take place, almost all of us had the same thought in our head: It just seemed to have ended all too soon. We had made friends that would forever stay in our hearts and memories and with whom we had established hopes and promises of reuniting once again, perhaps in their own countries one day. The night began with a cocktail hour, where everyone was given a chance to mingle and find relatives and friends, to perhaps enjoy a drink with or have something to eat. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as they spoke, had laughs, and shared their once in a lifetime experiences throughout these World Games. At around eight o’clock in the evening, we made our way to our tables and eagerly awaited the start of our joyous night. Our special guest from the United Kingdom, Kev Orkian, began the event introducing all the nations present and sharing a few jokes. After that, the dance floor was broken into by a dynamic dance group which soon got everyone on their feet as the Armenian music, no doubt, made its way through our blood stream and left us no choice but to get up there and begin to dance! As the Hollywood night air was filled with laughter, cheers, and dancing, it is safe to say that everyone enjoyed their time. As hard as it was, we attempted to temporarily disregard the fact that most of our guests would be leaving soon. Truly, we Armenians are a people who knows how to have a good time and we definitely upheld that title at the Victory Ball. Although most of us had only known one another for a short week, we spoke, laughed, and danced as though we had known each other for many years and had only just been separated temporarily. Towards the end of the event, which lasted well past midnight, we said our “see you later!”s. I emphasize this, because it was not a good-bye. True friends and, even more so, true Armenians, never say good-bye. - Deeown Shaverdian
August 4th, 2012 Finals and Trophy Ceremony
After a long week filled with nail biting games and sporting events the AGBU World Games finally came to an end. The last game putting a close to the World Games was the men’s basketball final game with AGBU Valley against Pasadena. The game was intense, and both teams were neck and neck throughout the first and second quarter, however toward the end the Valley team stepped up their game and took the win putting Pasadena in second place and taking the gold. Shortly after the game pedestals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as tables decorated with trophies and medals for all the athletes were brought into Pasadena High Schools Boy’s GYM where the Trophy Ceremony took place. One by one each sport was presented by a former champion, and medals and trophies were handed to individual athletes and entire sports teams. Valley’s basketball teams took the gold in every category while Pasadena women and men’s basketball placed second. Iran was first place in Futsal while Montevideo took second. There was a wide array of winners in the individual sports categories, and the turnout was spectacular! Every country took pride in having at least one first, second or third place medal or trophy taken back home and every athlete received a medal for their participation in the 19th AGBU World Games. However, no matter where each country placed we were all winners this week despite our performance in the competitions. This was a truly a great experience for everyone who participated and took part whether it was in one or many sports and an event that will not be forgotten as many of the athletes go back to their home countries and begin their training for the next AGBU World Games in 2016. - Mireille Keuroghlian