From hockey playoff beards to the Lambeau Leap, sports are filled with traditions that are sacred to fans and players alike. They can unite an entire fanbase, and sometimes transcend the game entirely. On Saturday, the University of Iowa started a new tradition for its home games, and football fans across the country are loving it.
At the end of the first quarter of Iowa’s 24-3 win over Wyoming, 75,000 fans turned and waved to the building overlooking Kinnick Stadium.
To say hello to the children and their families watching from the top floor windows of the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. This is the latest development in a bond that has existed between fans and the children for years. The Hawkeyes and their fans have raised money for the hospital through their “Touchdowns for Kids” campaign, and also invited a “kid captain” from the hospital to join the team on the sidelines.
However, an entire stadium of fans waving has elevated one of the greatest sports traditions to another level.
ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt declared it his “1 Big Thing” on SportsCenter. “The sight of 75,000 people, all of them looking up and waving at children who are battling illnesses genuinely moved me,” he said. “It’s so simple but so undeniably warm and kind.”
He continued, “You don’t often know when you witness the birth of a tradition, but I’m pretty sure we did on Saturday. Well done, Hawkeyes. Well done.”
According to the Washington Post, Hawkeyes fan Levi Thompson came up with the idea.
Levi told Hawkeye Nation, “I wanted it to be something the fans could accomplish without getting the university or any kind of money backing it. That’s when we thought about waving to the hospital after the end of the first quarter would be the perfect thing.”
Hopefully this will be a tradition that will last for years to come.
Watch the video to see the football moment that has everyone talking.