2021: A recap

New York Citys famous new years ball in preparation for the midnight ball drop


New York City’s famous new years ball in preparation for the midnight ball drop

Jack Larson, Editor-in-Chief

With 2021 coming to a close, all that can be done from here on out is to look forward to the year in front of us and reflect on the past year, it’s highlights and downfalls.

The year started off with an unprecedented bang, as on Jan. 6, a violent mob encouraged by President Donald Trump, stormed into the United States Capitol, protesting the results of Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory by invading various congressmens’ private offices, opening computers and searching through documents.

As the Capitol was eventually cleared out by Washington D.C. law enforcement and the United States National Guard, Congress reconvened that very night, to a stunned nation.

14 days later as Joe Biden was inaugurated, the nation remained divided over the events of January 6, and it stayed that way for the rest of 2021.

While politics was once again ever-present in our society this year, so was sports, as the long awaited return to normalcy for most sports finally arrived.

Facing off in Super Bowl LV were the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams led by superstar quarterbacks as the Chiefs brought 2020 MVP Patrick Mahomes, and the Bucs were led by patriots former quarterback Tom Brady. While some doubted Tampa Bay’s legitimacy compared to the Kansas City team, the Buccaneers were able to top the Chiefs at a final score of 31-9, bringing Tom Brady his seventh super bowl title.

While the game was not too entertaining this year, many must only be grateful for the game even happening in the first place, as in 2020, there was a solid absence of sports for what felt like forever at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

An example of this, is when in 2020 the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournaments were cancelled in the beginning March, which left fans across the nation stunned and exasperated.

In 2021, somewhat normalcy resumed, as the tournaments made a comeback with number one seed Baylor took home the March Madness title, and Illinois’s very own UIUC fell in the second round to eight-seed Loyola-Chicago.

Also in sports, the MLB returned to their standard 162-game season, as the dark horse Atlanta Braves took the world series over the ever-controversial Houston Astros, who were caught stealing signs using a deliberate scheme involving banging on trash cans and looking at  four years prior to the 2021 world series.

While the return of sports was significant, a true highlight of the year was when students permanently returned back into the classroom this past August for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

In entertainment this past year, 2021 was captivated by The Weeknd’s synth-heavy song, “Blinding Lights,” as the track broke various Billboard records, as the song was on the Billboard hot 100 for over 90 straight weeks compared to the former record of 86 weeks set by Imagine Dragons’s “Radioactive.”

While “Blinding Lights” ruled the radio in 2021, Albums such as Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me if You Get Lost, Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, and Adele’s 30 were considered to be some of the best albums of the year. Other Prominent albums were Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak’s An Evening with Silk Sonic, which came out late in the year, and Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon III: The Chosen, which came out in December 2020, therefore remaining relevant in 2021.

While the music industry remained considerably untouched by the pandemic, movies returned to the big screen, and moviegoers once again started lining up at the box offices for their favorite films.

By far, the most anticipated movie of the year was Marvel Entertainment and Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home which received a lot of attention from social media and the internet as rumors regarding the plot of the movie and possibility of previous Spider-Man actors Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield were circulating throughout the entirety of the year, up until the movie released in December.

While Marvel owned the box offices, as they had four of the top six highest grossing movies this past year, other high-grossing movies consisted of F9, Jungle Cruise, No Time to Die, and Free Guy. Some of the highest acclaimed movies were The Green Knight, and West Side Story, while Nomadland won the academy award for Best Picture.

In 2021, movies, music, and sports all made major resurgences from the year before; really, culture in general made a comeback. However, a complete return to normalcy is yet to be achieved, as COVID-19 still rages throughout the United States, and new variants, like omicron, seemingly become relevant every few weeks.

That’s the goal for 2022; a greater return to normalcy, and a refinement of American culture. Here’s to 2022 being a comeback year. 

Happy new year, from The Buccaneer.