The year 2020 was insanely tumultuous, and no one will ever forget it. Future history textbooks might cover the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic presidential election, the movement for racial equality, and more. Throughout the end of 2020, the upcoming year of 2021 sort of served as an end goal, or a beacon of hope, for people all around the world just trying to make it through 2020. Many of us have told ourselves that there’s no way that 2021 could ever be worse than 2020 — as high schoolers, we weren’t alive when the last major war or 9/11 took place, and many of us were just little kids when events like Hurricane Katrina and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa occurred. So far, 2020 has been the most chaotic time in our lives, and we lost out on many of the experiences that teenagers look forward to as they grow up. However, there are so many awesome things to look forward to in 2021 that will make you completely forget 2020 as if it never happened.
It seems like 2021 is set to be a big year for the comeback of sports all around the world. Many experts have said that if restrictions are followed and vaccines are rolled out at a high efficiency, we could see fans back in the stands at our favorite teams’ games by the summer of this year, with full fan capacity happening in the fall. The Tokyo Olympics were pushed to this year with officials citing concerns over the raging pandemic, but now with a set start date of July 23, sports fans from all around the world are beyond excited to once again watch the sports they love. Athletes will get the chance of a lifetime to compete on the world’s biggest stage, and spectators like me will watch events like gymnastics, pretending to understand how it’s scored while getting distracted by the sparkly leotards and the crazy tricks that Simone Biles will pull out of nowhere. But while American football isn’t part of the Olympics, NFL superfans don’t have to worry — the Super Bowl, as of right now, is full steam ahead, with The Weeknd headlining the half-time show. After his hit album, After Hours, released this past year, we’re all excited to see what he puts together for the Super Bowl. Finally, Serena Williams is running headstrong in 2021 with a goal of tying Margaret Court’s record of 24 major singles career titles in women’s tennis. Williams plans to win another Grand Slam title at the Australian Open next month, and tennis fans all around the world are rooting for her!
Not only will 2021 be a big year for the sports scene, but it’s looking fabulous for Disney. Disney World will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall, and plans include the Harmonious music show at EPCOT along with a plethora of new rides, attractions, and restaurants. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and PLAY! Pavilion will be arriving at EPCOT this year if everything goes according to plan. Star Wars fans will be delighted to hear that the park is launching a new vacation experience, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, where visitors can check in for a two-night stay on a glamorous starship, taking part in interactive stories related to the Star Wars universe. The success for Disney doesn’t end there; the tremendous success of the company’s new streaming service, Disney+, in 2020 has given the enterprise the resources to announce plenty of soon-to-be released films and TV shows. Diehard Marvel fans will definitely flock towards the movies WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and Loki, along with an animated TV show, Marvel’s What If…, and a live-action show titled Ms. Marvel. Other notable upcoming releases include the new movies The Book of Boba Fett and Raya and the Last Dragon, and The Mysterious Benedict Society, a TV show adapted from a popular YA book series.
The potential success of the upcoming year for the entertainment industry doesn’t stop at Disney: many TV classics that we all know and love are seeing reboots in 2021. Bel-Air is described as a reimagined take on the 90’s comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, that will “dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today.” Of course, the show won’t be without its beloved jokes and laughs that made the original show such a hit, but in a time where the movement against racial injustices in our country is at its peak, Will Smith and his co-stars are sure to bring a new light and perspective to the crusade. You can watch the series on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, this year. HBO Max, another new and popular streaming service, will be hosting the much-awaited Friends reunion, which will feature all six original co-stars in an unscripted show where they talk about the original series.
In a shift away from pop culture, promising climate change progress and environmental events will give you another reason to say “good riddance” to 2020. On May 26, a super total lunar eclipse will cause a bright red supermoon, and the Perseid meteor shower will cause a cascade of shooting stars to fall from the sky from August 11-12. President-elect Joe Biden has promised that on his first day in office, he will put the United States back into the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump left and will work to “put the nation on a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.” One challenge that this poses, however, is that the United States will have to work hard to build back the trust other nations once had in it, and prove that it’s really here for the long haul when it comes to climate change. In another action to combat climate change, the European Union voted to ban single-use plastics like cutlery, plates, and cups, for which alternatives exist on the market. The ban will take effect this year, and the United Kingdom plans to enact a similar moratorium on single-use plastics as well.
At last, the ongoing event that needs no introduction: the COVID-19 pandemic. Many experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have postulated that the pandemic could come to an end this year if citizens continue to follow mask mandates and social gathering restrictions, along with receiving either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID response plan includes an aggressive promise to distribute 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days as president, which will make the vaccine much more accessible to Americans of all incomes and social statuses. Dr. Fauci reports that the United States could see signs of herd immunity by spring 2021 if 75 to 85% of Americans are vaccinated. If all goes according to plan and everyone bands together for the sake of public health, during fall 2021 we’ll be able to enjoy the classic high school experiences once again with all our family and friends: homecoming, pep rallies, spirit week, fundraisers, sleepovers, big gatherings, and more. 2021 is shaping up to be a spectacular year, and after 2020, there’s nowhere to head but up.
Junior Alex Martinez-Garcia is the co-editor of the 2020-2021 Colonel. When she’s not playing lacrosse or swimming for LHS or the Westerly YMCA, you can probably find her planning events as class president or in Outdoor Adventure Club. Outside of school, Alex loves to play the piano and watch every TV show that Netflix and HBO Max have to offer.