2021 – Canceled


2021 was the year that saw the cancelations of sporting events, the arts, and people. Tim Mossholder/unsplash


In my mind, the year of 2021 went by fast.  Deemed by many,  a lost year, it effectively served as a bridge between 2020 and 2022.  While COVID-19 restrictions were lighter in 2021 than in 2020, the pandemic still played a fairly large role in 2021 life.  The New Yorker magazine characterizes 2021 as “in-betweenness” and having a “suspended quality.”  While I agree with these characterizations, to me, 2021 is better described as Canceled, as it applies to sporting events, the arts, and people.

During 2021, countless sporting events were drastically altered.  The NBA, NFL, NHL, and other National Sports Leagues had to cancel and/or postpone numerous games and playoffs due to COVID-19 protocols as numbers went up.  The NBA, for instance, canceled their original and traditional playoffs in favor of the “NBA Bubble” located at Disney World.  Because they were closed to the public, fans were no longer able to attend their favorite team’s games.  

March Madness, a college basketball tournament, was canceled all together, leaving many basketball fans—my brother for example—in disarray.  On a more personal note, high school sports were canceled as well.  The Cross Country State Championships, a meet I had looked forward to running in all year, was canceled due to Covid-19 precautions, and the Conference Championships were held without parent spectators.  In 2021, sports were canceled over and over again.

Sports weren’t the only thing canceled in 2021 though.  The arts took a hit as well.  Broadway shut down completely, leaving musical theater fans no way to view their beloved shows.  On a more important note, these cancellations in performances left performers jobless. While public officials attempted to quell the Covid-19 virus as it swept through the entire nation like a wave crashing on a stormy beach, TV shows and movies impacted as well.  But the cancellations of the arts struck a personal note as well.  

My piano recital, which I prepare for every year, was canceled, leaving me with the consolation prize of a Zoom recital.  This held true for piano competitions too: some were moved online, while others were downright canceled completely.  As for my friends, Prisms—a yearly production directed by seniors at my school—as well as the school musical were both canceled, adding themselves to the already long running list.  The arts struggled during 2021, and I believe there is widespread hope that these cancellations don’t bleed into 2022.

Finally, people were canceled as well.  Dr. Seuss’s racist books were canceled and unpublished.  Six of his books, including If I Ran the Zoo, On Beyond Zebra, and a few others stopped being sold due to racial stereotyping.  Many conservatives blamed Seuss Estate’s decision on “cancel-culture” but the majority ultimately agreed that some of the books were stereotypical and inappropriate.    

Even Aunt Jemima’s Syrup was canceled due to its stereotypical and outdated artwork.  Now, PepsiCo purchased the rights to Pearl Milling Company, and have changed their logo branding accordingly.  A spokesperson for PepsiCo said, “We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company.  A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.”

You could definitely argue that the capitol insurrection highlighted the alt-right’s attempt at canceling the 2020 election of President Biden, an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and disgusting event showcasing the disrespect for democracy in this country.  And that was at the beginning of 2021 too!

In my mind, the word Canceled does an excellent job of describing the lost year of 2021 that is thought of to serve as a bridge between 2020 and all the good to come from 2022.  Yes, sports, the arts, and people were canceled in 2021, but I’m still holding out hope for the year ahead.