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2020 was a year of missed experiences because of COVID-19

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Posted at 2:18 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 02:18:03-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic early in the year changed many things about 2020.

Schools and businesses were forced to close. Social activities and gatherings were canceled. Even as restrictions started to ease, Hoosiers were faced with a new reality for many of the events and activities that under normal circumstances people take for granted.

In 2020 amid a surging virus, things like graduation, weddings, and sporting events either didn't happen or were vastly different experiences.

Here's a look back at some of what was different in 2020.

Graduations

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High school seniors are normally accustomed to large ceremonies attended by friends and family and their. The COVID-19 pandemic and the fact school buildings were closed at the end of the 2019-20 school year, forced schools to get creative in how to celebrate their students' achievements.

Some districts held virtual ceremonies. Others postponed them until later in the summer. Others, like those at Franklin Central, had a limited ceremony.

Franklin Central had students sign up for a time slot to walk across the stage in their cap and gown and take photos. Each student was allowed to bring two guests with them and only a limited number of people were allowed in the school at a time.

Connor Grant, a Franklin Central graduate, had envisioned a different ending to high school, he told WRTV in May.

"I was just like,' Ah, I don't know,' it hurt," Grant said.

It wasn't just high school graduation ceremonies, however, that was impacted by the pandemic.

Commencement ceremonies at Indiana University, Butler University, Purdue University, Ball State University, among others, were all canceled. Some universities, like Purdue and IU, hosted virtual ceremonies to enable graduates to celebrate their accomplishments.

The universities have also invited all 2020 graduates — from spring, summer and fall terms — to participate in planned in-person commencement ceremonies in 2021.

Weddings

As the coronavirus pandemic's impact was becoming more clear. It became increasingly clear that another major milestone that people celebrate would look a little different in 2020 — weddings.

Tammy Pisockyj, vice president of Perfect Wedding Guide, told WRTV in March at the pandemic's outset that with the new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the size of gatherings being limited to groups of 50 people or less, that she went from 250 to 50 planned weddings in the span of 48 hours.

Pisockyj said she has assisted hundreds of Indianapolis brides in the planning process, but has never experienced a wedding day disaster like COVID-19.

"You can still get married on that day," Pisockyj said. "You can still do an elopement and then plan this great big huge wedding, so you don't have to feel like you are putting your life on hold you are putting a party on hold."

Sports

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When the NBA hit the pause button on their season March 11, it signaled that 2020 would be very different for the iconic sports franchises around Indianapolis.

The NBA season didn't resume until mid-summer, with the Indiana Pacers not hitting the hardwood again until Aug. 1. Even when they did, it didn't look the same as Bankers Life Fieldhouse sat empty on game days. The NBA moved the entire league into a COVID-19 bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

The Indianapolis Indians didn't have a 2020 campaign at all after all of Minor League Baseball was shut down for the year. Instead of serving as the Indians' home for baseball games, Victory Field ended up hosting other events in 2020 including a food distribution event, becoming a golf course for a few days, and hosting movie nights.

It was also a very different year for another storied institution — the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500, was postponed from May to August. When the race was finally held on Aug. 23, it was held without fans because of COVID-19.

Once the NFL returned to action, the season wasn't the same as usual for the Indianapolis Colts. The team's home opener at Lucas Oil Stadium was limited to 2,500 fans. The number of fans has increased as the season progressed but it's still only a fraction of normal attendance.