Sports bring a little respite to a globally distressing year
The year 2020 has been to the planet anything but uneventful for the people fighting off a pandemic. With rising mental health issues, cases of domestic violence, restlessness and frustration have been clearly indicated as trauma responses to the unprecedented state of the world. The worst international mishaps to hit the world this year were:
- The Australian Bushfires: One of Australia’s most devastating wildfires in which the fires continued from December 2019 into this year and burned 47 million acres, displaced thousands of people and killed at least 34 people on record, were the beginning of what was seemingly an apocalyptic year.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit royalty: The younger son of the free-spirited and the globally revered symbol of love, feminine power, and empathy, Diana, Princess of Wales; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife the actress Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, jointly shocked the world on Jan 8 when they announced they were stepping down as “senior” royals. It was considered a mishap because after Princess Diana it was Harry and Meghan who were internationally thought to have an affinity towards the general masses.
- Covid-19 pandemic: The World Health Organisation on Jan 9th announced that a deadly virus had emerged in Wuhan province in China and the rest is history and is still present.
- Kobe Bryant Death: In a helicopter crash at Calabasas, California, on Jan 26, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant was killed along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
- Murder Hornets spotted in the USA: The extinction of bees is a worrisome topic and is linked with apocalyptic ramifications, there has been a tremendous decrease in the number of bees in the world in recent decades and to top that the invasive insect, known as the Asian giant hornet, was spotted for the first time stateside when they invaded Washington state. Measuring up to two inches, the hornets can wipe out entire bee colonies within hours.
- Beirut Explosions: On August 4 the graphic images and videos of a massive explosion preceded by a smaller one that became an internet sensation in minutes, rocked the world. The explosion that happened at the Beirut port was sparked by an accidental detonation of almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, killing around 200 people and injuring thousands.
- Chadwick Boseman’s death: The death of the beloved Black Panther was as unprecedented as the year 2020. On August 28 the actor died after bravely losing a private 4-year private battle with colon cancer, leaving many fans devastated.
- West Coast Wildfires: Reported since mid-August, wildfires from California to Washington, which burned through millions of acres, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
- Trump tests Covid-19 positive: The ironical turn of events as US President Donald Trump contracts COVID-19 after dismissing the severity of its impact on his country has left many doubtful about the election season.
These are only a few of what mishaps transpired this year but it is easy to make a person lose their bearings. From the Black Lives matter movement, the Sushant Singh Rajput case in India, the Dalit atrocities in India, the rape cases in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, etc. One would ask what would be a source of joy in these trying times, locked-in in lockdown, in front of numerous screens, with only negativity flowing through them, when even OTD platforms feel bland because of the pre-recorded shows that do not have excitement.
Professional sports have become a way to engage in live-action, a reminder of the connection fans and sports lovers. The resumption of leagues and trophies have given people a semblance of stability and comfort towards the new normal of precautionary living in a pandemic with an additional escape from the dire truth of the state of the world in present times. Some of these sporting events and their outcomes have given a hint that better days are coming; at least there would be a sense of comradeship from a distance, if not from the field.
From the return of football where the bitterest rivals, namely Liverpool and Manchester United laughed at the other’s miserable losses, and cried together for their own, to the return of cricket’s biggest league, the Indian Premier League where Indians have been on each other’s throats and social media walls with memes. From the French open where Rafael Nadal was crowned as the champion for the 13th time, defeating Novak Djokovic, the Spaniard claimed his 20th Grand Slam title.
On March 11 2020, the National Basketball Association, NBA, an American men’s professional basketball league, shut down in the wake of the pandemic, after four months the league was resumed where all the players, coaches, and staff lived in something called “the bubble” at Walt Disney World, Florida, there the games were played among all of the 22 teams.
With all the negativity this experiment faced, it worked and acted as a beacon for what was thought as better days to come. The win by the LeBron James led Lakers was something that acted as a band-aid to the stitches needing deep cuts, Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 over the Miami Heat Sunday in Game 6, taking the socially distanced league championship. Dedicating the win towards the legendary Laker man Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were the fourth on our list of mishaps, the Laker win was one in many wins and losses in these sporting events that have brought people at home a bit of really needed distraction.
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