Part of the immense appeal of college football comes in the form of the many traditions that dot campuses across the nation. Whether we’re talking about tailgating festivities, rivalry games, or events inside the stadium itself, the traditions help to stoke the passions of a school’s fanbase. There are even some traditions that are so undeniably awesome that even rival schools will get involved and pitch in. One of them takes place at the University of Iowa, and this may be the most heartwarming one that there is.
The Iowa Hawkeyes play home games at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, which is adjacent to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Kids at the hospital have a bird’s eye view of the action on the field, and many of them take a much-needed respite from things to take advantage of that. That’s sparked a touching tradition that captured a ton of attention this weekend. Iowa welcomed the highly-rated Ohio State Buckeyes to town on Saturday, and the game received national attention. Many viewers got a firsthand look at one of the more touching college football traditions you’ll ever see.
As the Daily Mail shares, the tradition happens at the end of the first quarter. When the action stops, all those in the stadium will wave to the children looking down upon them. The sight of thousands of fans and players on both sidelines offering up a simple gesture to the kids is pretty amazing, and it’s carried over into halftime when the marching band forms the shape of a waving hand.
The tradition started organically this season, and it was the result of a simple post on social media from a fan.
“Kinnick should hold a ‘wave to the kids’ minute during every game,” the fan wrote. “Can you imagine how neat it would be to have all of those fans, players, & coaching staff looking up at you sending a little extra inspiration?”
The post picked up steam, and it’s been going strong since that point.
“The coolest thing about it is that it’s such a grassroots thing,” noted Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz.
This was the first glimpse of the tradition for many viewers, and reaction poured in on social media.
“Iowa’s wave to the children’s hospital…that’s the real deal, gotta respect that,” shared one user.
“The wave in Iowa might be my favorite tradition in college football,” wrote one commenter.
“The Children’s Hospital wave @ the Iowa/OSU game is quite awesome. Great stuff #Hawkeyes,” added another poster.
As for the game itself, the Hawkeyes cruised to a 55-24 upset victory over Ohio State. It was a memorable victory, but it’s made all the more noteworthy by the fact that this cool tradition has become a viral sensation. It’s a small action in the grand scheme of things, but you can bet it makes the day of many kids that are dealing with a whole lot more than they should have to be dealing with at such a young age.