This year would’ve been special to me anyway. Top Gun, Aliens and Terminator 2, and Toy Story celebrated milestone anniversaries, but Chernobyl did the same. I’m nostalgic for 2006, which is the year of the best college-football game ever, and I’m especially nostalgic for 1996, partly because of the hip-hop and rock music of the time, and partly because of my obsession with the NBA and basketball in general.
In the world of sports, Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset on the backs of the Denver Broncos defense, Leicester City completed their Hollywood-esque rise from relegation to glory, LeBron James carried the Cleveland Cavaliers from a 3-1 series deficit against record-setting champs, and the Chicago Cubs went the full distance and then some to end the most famous drought in North American sports.
In the world of politics, populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean led to election results that stunned pundits and laypeople alike. In hindsight, the clues were there for people who had the inquisitiveness and skepticism of detectives as well as the imagination and empathy of novelists. For those who opposed the status quo and voted for change, these results were a win (for now).
Two entertainment superstars of the 80s, Prince and George Michael, plus a decade-spanning one, David Bowie, died this year. So did Gordie Howe, Arnold Palmer, and Muhammad Ali; these men solidified their places on the Mount Rushmore of hockey, golf, and boxing, respectively. John Glenn and Carrie Fisher left this planet after becoming famous for their adventures in space, real or fictional. Harper Lee died, as did one of her characters.
The deaths and suffering of non-celebrities shouldn’t be ignored, of course. For all the celebration, there’s been a lot of violence and vitriol, whether in Syria, stateside, or elsewhere. I’m optimistic that 2017 will be better, if not as memorable, compared to 2016.