The year 2020 has been one of the most difficult years we have seen in our lifetime. The coronavirus pandemic hit us with one crippling event after another. Social gatherings, sporting events, and holidays were thrown away all throughout the year. It also didn’t help that there was an election either. 

However, sports are often an escape from the real world. Even though 2020 never seemed like it would end, there were some remarkable moments that made your heart feel good. Here are just a few moments that brightened up a dark and gloomy year. 

The biggest win of the season

In October, Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera celebrated his best moment of the season. The team had just come off a win on Sunday, but no bonus codes were needed. It was just that time to celebrate. Rivera followed that Sunday by walking through the halls of Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax, Virginia, and ringing the “victory bell” to symbolize his final cancer treatment. 

Taken from Pixabay

Staff lined up the halls wearing “Rivera Strong'' shirts as they cheered and threw confetti. Earlier this year, Rivera took over the Washington Football Team in the middle of a pandemic, while the franchise changed their name, combined with top team officials accused of sexual assault allegations. On top of that, Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node. At 58, Rivera said he would continue coaching throughout the season while receiving treatment. With just three weeks left in the season, Rivera has the team leading the NFC East and the Washington Football Team could qualify for the playoffs. 

An inspiration

Chris Nikic didn’t let his disability define him. Nikic, a 21-year old athlete from Florida competed in the Special Olympics and made history in November when he became the first person with Down Syndrome to finish a full-distance Ironman triathlon. He crossed the finish line in 16:46.09. A full Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run, which totals 140.6 miles of distance. All of it must be completed in 17 hours or less. 

Nikic has become an inspiration to all athletes. Only a handful of athletes complete the Ironman race, and Nikic proved that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 

Defying the odds

About five years ago, John Speidel’s life nearly ended in a car crash. After the accident, he was in a coma for five weeks. Before the accident, Speidel had committed to play basketball for the University of Vermont. 

Originally, he was told he would need to live in a 24-hour assisted living care facility for the rest of his life. Instead, Speidel defied all odds and made a full recovery, which included scoring his first collegiate basket for Vermont on Senior Night. On top of that, he leaves Vermont with a 3.4 GPA.