No not those Olympics, but games that are just as important to the athletes that are competing in the ones that I will be addressing. Years ago I belonged to the Armenian Youth Federation, which was an organization designed to keep the Armenian Heritage alive, and to form friendships and bonds among the young Armenians, and it has worked over the years that I can account for, as well as the years that preceded me, and I will presume for the years following. These are an actual set of games and meets, the venues change each year, and different hosting chapters of the club handle all of the needs. There is a hotel that houses everyone, and there are locations that are required for track and field, swimming and other events. It is a grand time for all the youths that attend the weekend and participate in the games. I was not a jock then, and I am still not, but I appreciate the concept and I attended AYF Olympics in Boston, Toronto and Detroit.
I recently attended the latest Olympics that were held in Detroit again, and I took my Bride, and I am sure that she enjoyed the time, though there was a whirlwind of people and introductions for her, and she was not quizzed at the end of the evening. The only difference is that this time, due to prior commitments we only attended the Friday night “Hook-up,” at least that was the name we used back in the day, now it is the Alumni Dance, and I and everyone that I grew up with are part of the Alumni. I have a nickname that my Grandfather bestowed upon me at birth, and that name has stuck through out the years, especially for those that grew up with me back in the neighborhood or from the Armenian Church and the AYF. It was rather refreshing to hear that nickname bandied about towards me, some contemporaries of mine object that nicknames are still used, but I don’t have a problem, especially if they are used with fondness and nostalgia for times since gone.
The hotel being used was the Adoba Hotel, which for years was the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan. It brought back a flood of memories to me, as my Bride and I wandered the halls to where the Alumni Dance was being held. I remember in the old days, when all the young men and the “Alumni” back then were all enjoying cigars as a right of passage, though this is neither prevalent today, nor politically correct or for that matter even healthy. As we were walking the halls I already started to see friends from days gone by, that have moved away, but returned for this event. I saw even more friends as we got to the admission table, as we purchased our tickets, and then I was even more surprised, but I guess in today’s litigious climate, not unexpected my Bride and I had to show that we were of legal age to partake of alcoholic beverages. I laughed and told the hotel security agent that he is probably younger then my children, but I acquiesced to the formality.
Once inside, we found a table, and others came and went and it was a wonderful time. I even got a chance to dance a few Armenian dances with my Bride, after I let her rehearse the simple steps before we got on the floor. A couple of people even referred to her as my Bride, so she was known through Social Media even before introductions. I thought back to years earlier, when Canadian Club or Crown Royal Whisky ruled the roost. When I looked at the stock of liquors at one of the bar set-ups, I realized that those more simple days where far behind us, and rightfully so, as society has evolved and so have the drinks of choice. I was a little disappointed looking at the array of liquors that the choice of wines was rather rudimentary, but then I guess they were not after “raconteurs” and were trying to please a wider swathe of wine drinkers. The wines being offered were from the Canyon Road Winery of Modesto, California. We decided on the Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 which carried the California appellation. The wines were chosen to be drinkable for immediate consumption, with mild tannins and a fruit forward taste. I am sure that if I had been consulted this would have been the type of wine that I would have suggested as well for a party of this size. The evening was fun for us, and it made me think that I must go and look for tokens of other AYF events for visual aids for future stories, as I have only wrote about the Toronto event as of yet.