The strength of friends

by Greg Lincoln

Chevak’s Edward Atcherian kicks high in the boys 1-foot high kick event at the State NYO meet last weekend. photo by Greg Lincoln

This past weekend we were happy to attend the 2019 Native Youth Olympics State championship event in Anchorage. The atmosphere at any NYO event is always very comfortable, respectful and notably absent are any selfish-natured attitudes or negative vibes.

Everyone is for everyone and encouragement and support are the backbones and core values of these events.

Each athlete is inspired to do their personal best and winning isn’t really everything. What matters is that you do your best while cheering on your fellow athletes to give it their all and that is what the spirit of the NYO games are built upon.

And watching is something else. It is fun. These athletes are your kids, our kids, and when they reach up soaring as high as they can it does something to your heart, and you burst with quiet pride. The applause is always so respectful, and sometimes there is a hush that takes over in anticipation of that record-setting goal.

And so importantly, lifelong friendships are forged at NYO, building a network of supporters that reaches statewide. We relish seeing our old friends from years past that we only get to see once in a great while, such as at the state NYO venue. It is always nice to catch up and to hear about what they have been up to since the last time we saw them.

Thank you for prayers. You who have always remembered us and lifted us up in your most quiet and deep moments with the Lord, quyana. Thank you.

Watching our own children participate in the games are some of our most unforgettable and cherished memories that we hold close to our hearts. And throughout the years we have watched youngsters growing up in NYO, participating and having fun. And the heights and distances keep getting higher and higher, and further and further.

It is all so inspiring.

Everyone has their favorite NYO event, and you can make that game your very own. What is yours? There’s laughter you can share while practicing something that you love to do with others that share your interest.

It reminds us that there are things that we can enjoy even in the midst of sorrow and grief. At one point it was difficult, even impossible to share in the joy of others’ accomplishments at the onset. If you can imagine, it is like an emptiness where you are unable to give anything or offer anything. And the numbness, you cannot feel emotion for others who are suffering. Forgive us!

We hope that you will find your own NYO, something that you love to do or have loved in the past and are now finding fulfilment in remembering the things you love about it.