Welcome to 2021, goodbye to most of 2020.
The virus is still here and will be for at least a few more months, but this is the downhill part if you do what you are supposed to do.
A little reflection before getting into the annual predications and resolutions column.
Hours after the University of Arkansas defeated Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament in Nashville, word came the tournament was being canceled.
Then, all of sports were put on hold.
That was in March of last year, the same time we were told to work remotely from home and please report if we tested positive for covid-19.
The next 90 days were hell.
My sister died in June from cancer, but not once in all the months could I visit her in the hospital, rehab or hospice. It was much tougher on her family and my younger sister Lola (they were also best friends), but it was hard.
For 46 years I’ve been a sports reporter, and suddenly there were no sports. The question loomed about the future of athletics.
In July, the SEC and ACC began to formulate plans for a football season. Many followed suit, and although more than 150 games were postponed or canceled nationwide, as well as nine bowl games, the season started and ended.
The Arkansas Razorbacks played 10 full games with a quarter capacity in the stadiums. They broke a two-year drought of losing SEC games by winning three. Going 3-7 was good for the soul of Razorbacks Nation.
Since March, I’ve had numerous friends catch the virus. Some were non-believers of its horrible strength, but not anymore.
Today, as we begin a new year there are vaccines and a new hope, but the old normal isn’t coming back this year. It is going to take a while, but 2021 will be better.
Now, for some predictions and resolutions:
Prediction: This fall, there will be a full schedule of football games, and while the gates won’t be thrown completely open, expect attendance to at least be 50% and maybe more.
Prediction: The Razorbacks basketball team will make the NCAA Tournament this March as a No. 4 seed.
Prediction: The UALR Trojans men’s and women’s teams will make the NCAA Tournament. The Darrell Walker-led Trojans will knock off a No. 3 seed in the first round and play the Razorbacks in the next game.
Prediction: Arkansas State football will have a little work to do this season for new coach Butch Jones, but he will need just one rebuilding year to get the Red Wolves rolling again.
Resolution: To stay up. My church, Pinnacle Church of Christ is doing a one-year study of the entire Bible which will require more time in the word. Just FYI, I attend every Sunday virtually on Facebook.
Prediction: In at least one way I’ll miss wearing a mask, it covered up half my face, and that improved my looks drastically.
Prediction: The more people who get vaccinated against the virus, the better chances of wiping it out.
Resolution: To keep calling the VA about my shot. The virus loves people like me: Male, 70, overweight, high blood pressure and cholesterol and a gene that produces blood clots.
Prediction: Anthony Boone and the UCA Bears’ basketball team will make the finals of the Southland Conference tournament.
Prediction: The New England Patriots will make a change at head coach within two years. Tom Brady had more to do with the winning than anyone knew.
Prediction: The Dallas Cowboys will be much better, and healthier, next season. Of course, if they win this Sunday, they make the NFL playoffs with a little help from Philadelphia defeating Washington.
Resolution: To do my part to fight the virus and make 2020 a distant memory.
Happy New Year.