The Iowa Football Wave Explained: How the Hawkeyes Children’s Hospital Tradition Began
Pick one of the best college football programs in the country and they probably have a lore or lore attached to them.
For Penn State, it’s the White Out. For Wisconsin, it’s “Jump Around”. For schools like Oklahoma, Colorado or Auburn, live animals are often involved.
And then there’s Iowa, where the lore – the Iowa Wave – at least momentarily seems to transcend everything that happens on the field at Kinnick Stadium and has little to do with the game itself. .
At the end of the first trimester, the fans – all around 63,000 of them – turn around and face the University of Iowa Stead Children’s Hospital, which directly overlooks the stadium and collectively greets patients. and their families watching the game from the hospital.
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This weekend, Iowa fans will do it for the fourth time this season as the No.3 Hawkeyes host No.4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium, a place Penn State knows and has been successful.
But still, Penn State coach James Franklin doesn’t take the environment or tradition lightly.
“It’s a tough environment. There is no doubt about it. We have a lot of respect for this school and this community and the support they give to their football program,” Franklin told media on Tuesday. .
“Obviously the wave at the children’s hospital is, I think, one of the best traditions in college football. Anytime you can support people through tough times, you want to do it. something I think is very unique to college football and very unique to the University of Iowa. “
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What is the Iowa wave?
The Iowa Wave occurs at the end of the first quarter of every home game played at Kinnick Stadium.
At this point, everyone in the stadium turns and beckons to the top floor of the hospital, which houses the Press Box Cafe, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and directly overlooks Kinnick Stadium. It is from there that patients and their families often take part in the Hawkeye games.
The wave isn’t just made by Hawkeye fans and players, but by everyone in the stadium, usually with an announcement from the Iowa PA announcer, which then asks fans to turn around and to wave.
How did the tradition of children’s hospitals in Iowa come about?
The tradition is actually one of the most recent in college football, starting in 2017.
Iowa faced Wyoming to open the 2017 season and at the same time, the Children’s Hospital had just ended.
That’s when Hawkeyes fan Krista Young posted to an Iowa Facebook group to suggest the idea.
“I think with the opening of the new U of I hospital,” the post read, “Kinnick should last a minute ‘say hello to the kids’ in every game.”
“It wasn’t a long, drawn-out process,” Young said. “I kept seeing the photos when they opened the add-on. I kept seeing cute little bald heads looking down. I just thought, ‘Hey, that wouldn’t be cool. “”
Almost immediately the tradition was born and caught the attention of almost everyone, quickly becoming one of the best traditions in the sport.
He won the 2017 Disney Spirit Award and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has shared how special the tradition is to him and his family. Networks and media across the country quickly clung to the tradition and participated in it as well.
The Iowa Wave just celebrated its fourth anniversary last month and since its inception, Iowa is 22-6 in home games.
iowa wave song
In 2003, country music singer Pat Green released an album called “Wave on Wave,” which included a single of the same name.
At the time, the single was No. 3 on the Billboard Country charts.
It rose to prominence more than a decade later when it became the official song of the Kinnick Wave and Green even performed the song with the Iowa band a few years ago.
How big is the Iowa football stadium?
With a capacity of 69,250 people, Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is the seventh largest in the Big Ten and one of the 20 largest in the country.
Named Iowa Stadium until 1972, it was renowned for the former WWII hero and the Hawkeyes’ only Heisman winner Nile Kinnick, who died during the war.
Currently, it is the only college football stadium in the country named after a Heisman winner.
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Donations from the Iowa Children’s Hospital
There are a number of ways people can donate to the Iowa Children’s Hospital, some of which were even inspired by the wave.
Since the hospital opened in 2017, shirts have been made that have raised over $ 400,000 and several GoFundMe have also been set up to raise funds for the hospital.
A 9-year-old even donated all of his savings – $ 34 – to the hospital and wanted to inspire others to do the same.
Another person, Iowa State alum Carson King, initially held up a sign about ESPN’s College Gameday program asking Busch Light for money for beer. He got his money from beer, and more, raising over $ 1.1 million for the children’s hospital in the process.