The year-end issue of The Banner usually ranks among the easier editions to compile, but it was a much different scenario this year.

It’s been a year like no other, and life seems to have changed so much since the last days of 2019. 

I sure wish I could stumble upon the archaic footage of guys such as Joe Burrow and Patrick Queen. 

Gee ... I often wonder what became of those guys. I’d love to see what it was like when LSU was a team vying for a national championship instead of voluntarily sitting out of a bowl game because of an investigation. 

You may have detected a tad of sarcasm in that remark, but in reality, it has been a long year. 

The unprecedented events and huge changes in our lives have made the pre-COVID-19 era seem long, long ago.

The events prior to March, when COVID-19 restrictions became a way of life, now seem like many years ago. 

The pandemic, indeed, has been a life-changer. Even when we move past it, we will continue to talk about how much it affected our mindset.

What’s unique here is it wasn’t one sudden event. It wasn’t the bombing of the Twin Towers and Pentagon that abruptly changed life on Sept. 11, 2001, nor was it the JFK assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, or Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. 

What we’ve seen this year has been a gradual turn of events that changed our lives. They also make the events immediately prior to the pandemic seem so much longer ago. 

Those events included everything from LSU’s 15-0 season that ended with a national championship, the huge parade to honor Patrick Queen in January and the Mardi Gras festivities in late February. 

It was a jolly opening to 2020, but things changed radically.

Words ranging from “challenging” to “heartbreaking” adequately describe this year. Over the year, I’ve compared it to everything from “The Twilight Zone” to a George Orwell novel. 

Comparisons to fiction may draw attention and provoke thought, but they do not fully convey the hardships so many of us – locally, across America and around the world – have endured over the course of the year.

Many families who lived comfortably before the epidemic now find themselves in a struggle to pay rent and even buy groceries. 

The 60 percent spike in the number of residents seeking packages from food banks tells much of the story.

On a far more trivial note, many LSU football fans have alluded to the team’s hardships as part of what has made 2020 such a bad year. 

Yes, it’s a far different year for the program than one year ago and it’s certainly not what fans would’ve expected after a championship season.

All things considered, it’s a wonder that sporting events took place this year. It’s been a far cry from what we saw last year, but it still seems hard to believe the games came to fruition.

I’m not going to paint a rosy picture on it. The times are tough and so many things we took for granted a year ago have changed drastically.

We’ve lost loved ones; we’ve struggled and we’ve sometimes lost hope. The best thing we can say is that only two weeks remain in 2020. 

Maybe the vaccines will work. Perhaps things will eventually return to normal, even if it presently feels so far out of reach. 

The lyrics to one of the most widely acclaimed songs of the 20th century say it all: 

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

“Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

“Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

 

I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better than yesterday – or, perhaps, we should look at yesteryear. 

We don’t know what the future holds. The Christmas celebration was particularly nice this year, but I’d love to someday rewind to the days prior to the pandemic. 

The things I complained about a year ago seem petty in comparison to what we endure today. 

My outlook from this time last year taught me something important: Don’t complain and appreciate what you have. 

As this year has taught us, things could get worse. Let’s hope and pray we can meet at this same place one year from now and reflect on how life improved in 2021.