Something new happened inside Kinnick Stadium yesterday, and I am not talking about Brian Ferentz’s first game as offensive coordinator or the number of true freshmen who saw their first action in the black and gold.
At the end of the first quarter, the fans in attendance directed their attention at the ‘new’ Iowa Children’s Hospital that has been built behind the east stands.
Saturday’s game against Wyoming is the first time the hospital has been open during football season. A scene like this took place throughout the entire stadium:
Hawkeye fans turn and wave to the Children's Hospital at the end of the first quarter. New tradition this year. Iowa proud. pic.twitter.com/S3FWHEm2vs
— Matt (@twilek7225) September 2, 2017
This video from Iowa presents the view from inside the hospital:
— University of Iowa (@uiowa) September 3, 2017
I will wait a moment for you to gather yourself and dry your eyes….
Scott Van Pelt, the popular ESPN anchor and personality was equally as blown away by this new tradition:
Just tremendous. Will be Sunday's One Big Thing on SportsCenter.
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— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) September 3, 2017
So be sure to tune into SportsCenter tonight to hear Scott talk about this gesture and showcase it to the country.
A great tradition, indeed. But how did it begin?
It was purely organic, meaning that it was not a University led initiative. Not that there would be anything wrong if this was Iowa’s idea, or some central organization’s idea; it’s awesome on its face and the sentiment is phenomenal.
But for me, I love seeing things like this grow out of the fanbase, and that’s what happened with this amazing idea and, new Iowa football tradition.
Levi Thompson is an Iowa Hawkeye fan. He moderates the popular facebook fan site called ‘Hawkeye Heaven‘. I became aware of Levi several years ago, and not necessarily under the best of circumstances.
Thompson wanted to spread his love of the Hawkeyes on a facebook page, and in his early days, he’d ‘borrow’ photos and such from media outlets without providing any attribution of where the content originated. He used some of HawkeyeNation.com’s content, as well as photos and such from other places.
Having gotten to know Thompson over the past year or so, having met him and spent some time with him, I believe he had no nefarious intent and simply didn’t understand the process of proper attribution.
He’s since done a good job of pointing out and referencing the source for the materials he shares that come from other places, which is pretty much a commonplace in media in 2017; content farming and aggregation are as likely as original stories these days, and I certainly link to others on a very regular basis.
The Hawkeye Heaven page is incredibly popular, with over 104,000 page likes as of this writing.
Here is how this new tradition began, with a post from Levi back in June of 2017:
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Facebook is the greatest mass marketing tool of all time, and this post went viral within the Iowa fan community. The post has been shared nearly 4,000 times since then, has nearly 200 comments and has been liked over 6,000 times.
So where did this idea come from?
“About six months ago, a woman named Krista Young’s wrote to me, asking if I could use my platform to do something neat for the kids at the Children’s Hospital,” Thompson told me.
“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.”
“I put a post on HH (Hawkeye Heaven) asking for people to send in photos of their children overlooking Kinnick Stadium from the Children’s Hospital. I then shared those photos over the past several months to promote the First Quarter Wave.”
“I will admit that I am pretty proud of Iowa fans for how well it turned out, and I hope the children enjoyed it.”
I have been writing about the Hawkeyes on the internet since the late 1990’s. I was the first credentialed non-traditional media member Iowa allowed into the ‘inner sanctum’…this website has received nearly one billion page views during its existence, and nothing I have ever written or said will leave a legacy.
This one post from one Hawkeye fan on facebook, and the spirit that went into regular fans spreading it all summer to their friend and family, this will leave a legacy that could outlive all of us.
What a remarkable thing.