Updated: Feb 2
2020, 2021, at this point, what's the difference. As I sit here writing this think piece, I can't help but think about how much of a wash the past year and a half have really been. Granted in the time COVID-19 has become a thing, I landed an internship above my pay grade which I parlayed into a full-time offer upon graduation, adopted a dog and found myself pretty great girlfriend, time has felt like a flat circle across the board. When this whole pandemic thing started I was a sophomore in college and as we sit here now, with the omicron variant running wild, I'm about to start my final semester of college. Wild times we live in.
Despite all of this, A LOT has happened in 2021. A lot of good, a lot of bad and a WHOLE lot of Goonery. Let's get to our list of the top 8, because that's a number that makes no sense at all, but it works:
8. Xander not receiving a single vote at Survivor 41's Final Tribal Council
Was his game the most polished? No, it was rather sloppy and hectic at times, but Xander quickly went from entering the merge like a cockroach post Hiroshima to the top of the food chain through strong challenge play and putting the good of the tribe before himself.
The fact that the 21-year old app developer got blanked after finding an idol, using an advantage, saving his tribe from the "Knowledge is Power" twist, leveraged his idol into not receiving votes, a fake idol at tribal, two individual immunity wins, but everyone will always say he was on the wrong end of the vote towards the end of the game but I don't care, he deserved it with how he played and saved his ass throughout the season. I'm not saying Erika played a bad game, she played a great game, but Xander not receiving a single vote even though he pleaded his case in a respectable manner at final tribal. The way the game was played this season makes me kind of scared to see the direction of the game moving forward, but it'll all change when Jeff selects me to come to Fiji.
7. Stadium Concessions Prices
$7 for an Aquafina can, $10 for Starbucks, $13 domestic can, $16 hard seltzer? But let's grow the game and bring in fans and give them a reason to have a fun time in the stadium! Granted, this is Seattle and the Kraken are a brand new franchise so maybe offering the fans cheaper drinks in the stadium will give them the incentive to come back. Find an identity, be the drunkest stadium in the NHL, but instead you decided to charge. $16 for a White Claw and $20 Bone Marrow. Speaking of Bone Marrow, good luck on your next simulated hunt, primals....
Seattle is so weird, man. Should've named your team the Squatches anyways.
6. Stadium Fights
People forgot how to act after being locked up for over a year, that's my biggest takeaway. Hell, maybe my perspective is off because the majority of the videos I was able to track down on Twitter were in Left Field of Sox Park. And the greaseballs that make up my favorite team's fanbase love to drink and love to drink in the heat for long, extended periods of time. It became obnoxious at points this summer, but hey! At least there were fans in the stands for a full 162 game season... here's to hoping for 2022!
5. Online School (College in Particular)
I'd like to get into middle and high school but I have absolutely no experience of it to speak on. The extent of what I've seen and heard is my younger brother not leaving bed until lunch most days when he was learning virtually. I will say that I feel particularly bad for kids younger than 10ish who've ha dot learn virtually, because not only are they missing out on the building blocks of their academic life, they're developing even less social skills than they were previously due to parents sticking them in front of a screen all day. Can't say I blame parents because kids are assholes from the ages of 6-18, but I digress. Shout out to all the parents who've had to work and simultaneously play teacher while working from home. I'd like to buy you all a beer, but I can barely afford. to buy myself a beer these days.
I am about enter my 8th semester of college and I have spent 2.5 semesters completely online and about to start my final one online post winter break. To say that I feel underprepared to enter the workforce is an understatement. I'm not saying that I cheated my way through. Zoom University, but I'm also not going to say that I was academically honest throughout the entire process. But in the process of all this, I've accumulated thousands of dollars of debt to learn next to nothing. I guess I can say that I learned growing up on the South Side of Chicago blessed me with the ability of drinking more light beer than the average college male. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
4. Game Stop, AMC and Doge Coin
I don't even know where to begin with this story, because it was completely and utterly ridiculous. r/WallStreetBets essentially took over the stock market when everyone and their mother decided they were going to become day traders and take down Wall Street. Well, a reddit community (and ultimately the rest of the internet) decided let's go all in on two dying industries (brick and mortar video game stores and movie theaters) and take it to a whole different level. People were told to hold, hold and hold some more, some pumped and dumped and others were referred to as paper hands for fucking it up for everyone. At its peak, Game Stop reached ~$483/share with AMC peaking $72.62. I love how autistic the internet can be sometimes when everyone bands together towards a common goal, it's unbelievable how powerful a meme can become.
However, Doge Coin became quite possibly the most powerful meme of all-time.
People pumped and dumped, most held and pleaded others to hold the line, because this thing was going to the moon!
And then just like everyone expected, Elon Musk hosts SNL and Doge tanks, and when I say tanks, I mean it dropped ~24% during the duration of the show. Everyone thought it was finally going to reach a dollar, everyone thought they were going to be rich, but instead we're all sitting here with our thumbs up our ass waiting for the day it spikes again and it makes us a fortune. Quick shoutout to a kid I know from high school who sold at its peak and made roughly 40 grand and was able to pay off his college loans. Always thought he was an idiot, but I guess not!
3. Matt Nagy (and Ryan Pace) Still Having a Job
I'd be remised to not mention this on the list. Not going to get too into this one because if you're one of the 8 people who listen or watch our podcast, you know that Brandon and I have been calling for his head for the past two seasons. It's not pretty, nothing's changed and nothing will change.
The worst part about this whole saga was sitting in the bowl at Lambeau Field a few Sundays ago for SNF and interacting with Packer fans. Genuinely the nicest fans I've ever met, nicer than the Brewer fans who my girlfriend threw up on celebrating my 21st (Wisconsin nice is a real thing), but them saying they hope Nagy is fired, but Pace won't be so it doesn't matter moving into the future. The Packer fans acknowledge their time at the time is quickly coming to an end, and they'd be afraid if Pace and Nagy were gone because Fields is the real deal, but it doesn't matter because the Bears won't clean house. They're really about to let Pace hire another Head Coach and bury this franchise 6 feet deeper than it already is.
2. Urban Meyer in Jacksonville
Hiring a racist strength and conditioning coach, finger blasting a co-ed in Columbus after not flying back with the team, completely losing the respect of his locker room, calling his coaching staff losers, and kicking the kicker. It sounds like he was trying to lose his job, the fact that all of this went down in 336 days is the wildest part.
He's a family man through and through, don't forget that
Now to be honest, I think any football fan with half a brain knew this would be a disaster from the start. Hiring one of the greatest college football coaches of all-time with a history of issues and noted control freak was doomed from the start. Saban flamed out in the NFL, albeit not as quick as Urban, but anyone who tries to walk into an NFL facility and tell professionals making millions with the my dick is bigger than yours attitude stands no chance. You can't intimidate professional athletes, hell if they don't like you they're more likely to sabotage you than rally behind you.
And to Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke:
1. Bishop Sycamore High School
The pod speaks for itself, but this whole scandal was written like a shitty made for TV movie. A fake, online prep school designed to churn out football players, entering the 2021 season with the 4th toughest schedule in the nation. They bamboozled the entire country into playing on National Television, got blown out by Archbishop Hoban 38-0, a 19-7 loss to Sto-Rox High School and ultimately the 2021 IMG Cancellation. A fake high school, with "kids" on the team who were previously playing at the JUCO level, not attending school and living on the floor of apartments together in an attempt to make it to the next level, all while paying Coach Leroy Johnson to do so. Did I mention Johnson had an arrest warrant for a previous fraud case? This documentary is going to be bonkers some day. The Goonery man, the fucking Goonery.
Have any other moments we missed? Let us know on twitter, we'd love to hear them!