Brandon Marinkovich ‘22, Sport Editor
With 2021 drawing to an end, it is important to reflect on the major events that took place. With many hoping to go back to a sense of normalcy after 2020 , it seems as if 2021 was a continuation of a post-pandemic life. Fortunately, there were moments that gave us hope. It is important to look backwards, and see both the good and the bad of the year, in order to learn from mistakes and celebrate successes of ourselves and others.
On Jan. 6, Americans stormed the U.S. Capitol building, inciting panic all throughout the nation. The people who broke into the building were supporters of former President Donald Trump, in an attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 election, where Former Vice President Joe Biden was victorious. This insurrection furthered the political tensions in the United States, starting 2021 off on a grim note.
In February of 2021, 43-year-old Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in Super Bowl LV, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. Brady won his seventh ring, pushing him further into the record books as the player with the most Super Bowl rings of all time. Brady also was named Super Bowl LV Most Valuable Player, with three passing touchdowns from 201 passing yards.
Through all of the health concerns and fears of COVID-19, the 2020 Olympics took place in Tokyo during July and August. Just like everything else in the past two years, the Olympics were carried out with precautions that would help prevent outbreaks of COVID-19. One major change is the empty stadiums in which the athletes had to compete in. Also, USA Gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from competition due to mental health problems. This ignited a widespread conversation about the mental health of athletes, and how with great power comes great responsibility. Biles’s decision to take a step away from competition to focus on her own mental state sends a message to athletes of all ages that mental health is an extremely important key to performing well on and off the field.
At the end of August, Americans woke up, shocked to see that the United States had chosen to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. Videos and photos of innocent refugees loaded onto U.S. Military airplanes, with many holding onto the sides and wings of the planes, desperate to flee from Taliban rule. President Biden vowed to withdraw all American Troops by Sept. 11. Within days, democracy crumbled in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, leaving the nation in the hands of the Taliban. The U.S. officially had no military presence in Aisfghanistan for the first time in twenty years, on Biden’s promised Sept. 11 date.
The year of 2021 ended on a somber note. Former Golden Girls actress and comedian Betty White passed away at age 99 on Dec. 31. White was notoriously known by the youth for her age, and many did not understand her impact on society. A moment that should be remembered about White was when she refused to stop showing African-American tap dancer Arthur Duncan. White soon after lost her show, The Betty White Show, in 1954 due to her decision to keep Duncan on the show. To have a cultural icon pass on the final day of 2021 is a very dark way to end the year, but White should also be celebrated; if not for her impact on Generation Z, then for her integrity, spirit, and resilience. It is her upstanding almost century long legacy that will carry us into 2022, and that we can all be a little bit like Betty.
2021 was a year that many people expected to be a year of fresh starts, and for many, it was. Most importantly, it is important to remember that learning from the past is the best way to prepare for the future, and these moments give hope to many, and also spark important conversations that will result in there being further progress for us as a people.