Ready for ‘21

“There I go, Turn the page”

— Bob Seger

To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning: How do I love thee, 2021, let me count the ways.

Like most of our loyal readers out there in quarantine-land, although we have just two days until the New Year officially begins, I’m already madly in love with this coming year. There are so many reasons it’s hard to know where to begin, but reason No. 1 is that the ball drop in Times Square will mark the end of the worst year in many of our lifetimes.

But rather than review all the reasons that 2020 — which is supposed to stand for clear vision — was as cloudy and blinding as we could imagine, let’s review the many reasons that the next 12 months offer hope.

For starters, there are two promising vaccines being dispensed daily around the country. These medicines offer real hope that this vile pandemic can be stalled and even terminated in the next year. None of us would argue that the juice is currently being put in the most deserving arms, those of health care workers and the old and infirm. The rest of us will patiently wait, knowing our turn is at hand.

For 81,281,502 American voters, they are delighted that Joe Biden will be our President in the next three weeks, and that Donald Trump will retreat to Mar-A-Lago or another of his golf courses, where he’ll plot his comeback for 2024. I think we can all agree that less divisiveness on the political front is something we can look forward to.

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The fact that we won’t have another political season for two more years should give everyone time to take a deep breath and put their attention to more important matters, like family and friends, and making the world more environmentally safe.

Seeing passenger counts rise at McCarran International Airport, and foot traffic increase on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown, will give us all reason to smile. Because there have been several times in the last five decades when Las Vegas was hit by an unexpected depression or crisis, we have every reason to be confident that we’ll once again bounce back stronger than we were before the setback. Resilience is our city’s middle name. We’ve been on the mat many times before, and we come back stronger than Andre the Giant after he was drop-kicked in the garbanzo beans by Hulk Hogan.

While we’re on the sporting front, it looks like all professional sports will resume in 2021, albeit with appropriate accommodations along the way. We certainly expect our Golden Knights to make another run at the Stanley Cup, and to see packed stands at Allegiant Stadium as the Raiders shoot for a long-awaited playoff berth.

College and high school sports are another matter entirely. My sympathies continue with those male and female athletes who had their final year of competition altered if not cancelled altogether. Giving college athletes an extra year of eligibility is a proper gesture, but how can we make it up to those high school seniors hoping to give that last push for a college scholarship any consideration? Their final bow was taken from them, and nothing can rectify that omission.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will be held this summer from July 23 to Aug. 8. Hopefully, the vaccines will have performed their miracles and we won’t have to watch 100-meter sprinters and pole vaulters wearing masks. For some international competitors, that extra year will hone their skills. For older athletes, the one-year postponement may have slammed shut the window on their chance to earn a medal.

By no means am I implying that the advent of 2021 is the salve to all our wounds. That thinking is just setting us all up for disappointment if matters don’t dramatically improve in the first half of the year. The scientists are telling us that the first quarter of the new year could be as bad or worse than anything that occurred in 2020. So, let’s put our optimism on pause for another three months, then bust out the confetti as summer approaches, just in time for major league baseball to begin, when only the catchers will be wearing masks.