By: ANCA-WR Summer Intern Anoush Djrbashian
I’ve never played a team sport. An eight year old could easily wipe the floor in a game of one-on-one basketball with me. So it was much to my surprise when I found myself at the 38th Annual Homenetmen Navasartian Games for the very first time because of the ANCA-WR Internship Program. Luckily, I wasn’t shooting hoops. Instead, I was doing the much more exciting task of registering people to vote.
After two weeks of office work, it was exciting to get out in public and really get my hands dirty. The other interns and I bravely ventured out in the heat, passing out Grassroots Conference flyers and registering voters. Unfortunately, sometimes our efforts were not met with enthusiasm. A lot of people were reluctant to give out their information, and others just didn’t want to bother. Admittedly, if someone walked up to me with a voter registration form while I was trying to enjoy my kebab, I’d probably turn them away too. Nonetheless, the other interns and I kept trying, and by the end of the weekend we had registered a respectable amount of people. After facing a lot of voter apathy, it was nice to know that some people do care about getting involved. The Navs experience also gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of other young Armenians who were interested in the political process and happy to be able to vote for the very first time.
It was a weekend of firsts for me: first experience registering voters and first Navasartian experience. I had heard a lot about “Navs,” from the sweltering heat, the delicious food and the loud music. Indeed, it was extremely hot, the shawarma was obscenely good and the music was deafeningly loud. But above all, Navs is an important way to keep our culture alive and thriving. Many Armenian organizations, from Homenetmen to the AYF and ARS to the ANCA, took part in making the Games an enjoyable experience for everyone attending. It was nice to see such a large number of Armenians, young and old, athletes or not come together from all over in one place. Whether you went there for the games, the scenery or Harout, you felt an overwhelming sense of togetherness and community. Call it Armenian-ness, if you will. And besides, where else in the world can you buy both a Harout Pamboukjian shirt and a plot of land at Forest Lawn?