Youth Advisors, Coaches and Athletes
By Revekka Papadopoulou
Over 1,100 GOYA and JOY athletes participate in the Junior Olympics with the spirit of friendship, unity and fair play. “The philosophy behind the Games has always been that every athlete turns out a winner”, as are most of the people who are involved in the event. The Junior Olympics are a way of promoting friendship, respect for other people, and is fun for the participants. They can develop values and co-operation with others; as most of the young participants think.
“It is a real celebration for the Olympics. Olympics is a fun day, a very active day; it’s a day when all the churches in the tri-state area get together and get to know one another, compete one another with fun, having competition to keep up the momentum,” notes Lucille Savva – the Youth Advisor for St. Nicholas West Babylon. “We are keeping the youth of the Greek Orthodox community together. You never know in the future what it holds,” she adds, saying that she is very proud of being involved with the organization.
“It is something, I think, we should do twice a year because it brings all the kids together in the church; it brings the community, the church together, makes them stronger and having something to look forward to.
It is a lot of fun. It is competitive, but is a fun competitive. It is something that keeps them stronger and something that would never let them break apart”, says Panayiotis Tryfas, the coach of St. Demetrios Merrick.
“It is a good experience for all”, says Elias Lymberakakis –coach of Holy Trinity Hicksville volleyball team. “Our team shows respect, not so much about competing other teams as a Church vs. a Church, to win or lose, as it is mostly for everyone to compete and enjoy themselves and I guess, to pass on their Christian beliefs along with other Greeks and Greek-American Orthodox. By doing so, they can relate their situation with other schools, other churches, other people from other areas”, he notes.
For Despina Kaneris, who will take part in the 25th Olympics for one more year playing volleyball for St. Demetrios Merrick team, it is an opportunity to represent her community, her church and culture. “I like the Junior Olympics because it brings Greeks closer together, more Greek people competing not so much for a medal, as for the experience”.
“Is good, because a bunch of Greek kids get together and they make new gnorimies and they get to know each other more and meet new people and have fun. It is a unforgettable experience”, notes Markella Sizaklis, from the Hicksville volleyball team.
“Olympics are good because they make you more involved with your church and also you get to meet new people”, says Sofia Thomopoulos, also from Hicksville.