Best Of 2021

This past summer, the Forest Hills Board of Education voted to officially retire the Anderson High School Redskins mascot. In what most humans would consider an overdue move, a release about the decision says it came after “community discussion, input and significant work to support inclusivity and diversity across the district.” On their Twitter, the National Congress of American Indians thanked the high school for standing on the “right side of history.” The school’s new mascot is an orange-red velociraptor bearing pointy white teeth and claws. Secondary logos include a close-up of a menacing dinosaur eye and a slashed Anderson “A.” In recent years, professional and local sports teams across the country have been changing or beginning to change team names and mascots that are racist, predominantly those with negative references to Indigenous Americans. In December, the Cleveland Indians announced that the team would take a new name and mascot before the 2022 baseball season; it had retired the controversial Chief Wahoo mascot beginning with the 2019 season and currently uses a stylized “C” on its uniforms. Anderson High School is still in the process of removing all references to its former mascot. After more than 80 years on the scene, the board says the Native American caricature will be “phased out in stages” during the 2020-21 school year.


Banning living, breathing human fans from stadiums across the country (because of COVID-19) continued into football season, as did the cardboard avatar trend. For the Bengals’ home opener in September, Who Dey Cutouts were available for purchase, with net proceeds benefiting six of the team’s community partners: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, Freestore Foodbank, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Salvation Army Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky, Good Samaritan Foundation and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. There were strict guidelines on what to wear (or not to wear — no political/offensive/lewd statements, hashtags, social media handles, phone numbers or random branding) in your photo, how high you could hold your arms, how large the photo could be and more. The resulting figures were then placed in random seats in the North and South End Zones. The team also warned that buying a cutout didn’t mean your flat face was guaranteed to appear on TV, just that it could attend the game.

1. Pure Barre Oakley

2. The Barre Code

3. DEFINE: body & mind

1. Joe Burrow

2. A.J. Green (joined Arizona Cardinals March 2021)

3. Tee Higgins

The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping for a touchdown when it comes to their new look, which was teased in a January Twitter post and will be unveiled this spring. The team will sport new stripes on its uniforms, according to a video posted on their social media channels. The short clip offers a timeline of the Bengals’ uniforms over the past decades, spanning from 1968’s stripe-less “The Originals,” shifting to “The First Stripes” in 1981, then to the “Leaping Tiger” in 1997, and next to the “Modern Stripes” in 2004 until 2020 (and the white alternative “Color Rush” between 2016-2020). The teaser provides no hint as to what the new uniforms will look like, but the Bengals website assures fans that the team’s tiger-striped helmet is here to stay. Some photos leaked in March, but the franchise refused to confirm or deny whether they were real. At the time of publication, official images of the new gear still hadn’t been released.

1. Loveland Bike Trail

2. Miami Whitewater Forest

3. Devou Park Backcountry Trails

Cincinnati Reds fans have some experience drowning their sorrows. And a recent survey from NJ Online Gambling about the drinking habits of MLB fanbases seems to confirm it. The survey shows that Reds fans are No. 3 in the country for boozing it up, consuming 3.8 drinks per game and spending about $40 on alcohol. Cincinnati fans also are No. 4 in drinking before the game even starts, with 67% of survey respondents saying they’re big on pregame action. All this drinking has a price, though, as Reds fans are No. 2 for missing some or all of games because they’re too damn drunk.

In 2020, Milwaukee’s National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a limited-edition bobblehead of one very special Cincinnati Bengal: Joe Burrow. The bobblehead design featured quarterback Burrow riding a Bengal tiger. (“Bobbleheads riding stuff” is apparently a thing and the museum also produced Al Kaline riding a Detroit Tiger, Carson Wentz riding a Philadelphia Eagle and Josh Allen riding a Buffalo Bill, among many others.) Burrow, a Heisman Trophy winner, was the first pick by the Bengals during the 2020 NFL Draft. The quarterback previously played for Louisiana State University and led the team to “a national championship as he threw for 5,671 yards and an NCAA FBS-record 60 touchdowns with only six interceptions,” says the museum. To commemorate his collegiate achievements, the museum also unveiled two LSU Burrow bobbleheads — one featured Burrow in a Heisman pose and the other featured Burrow riding an LSU tiger. Each Burrow bobble was limited to a production run of 2,020.

1. University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center

2. Climb Time

3. Mosaic Climbing