In May of this year, Krista Young posted on Facebook to “Hawkeye Heaven” about her idea to wave to the kids in the U of I Stead Family Children’s Hospital which opened earlier this year. Young had seen pictures of the stadium with the hospital and thought how cool it would be to see everybody waving.

Her post picked up momentum and started to go viral, but nobody knew what would happen at the first home game on September 2nd.

Young was in the stands that day watching her Hawkeyes host Wyoming and with the seconds ticking down to the end of the first quarter she wasn’t sure what was about to happen but pulled out her phone and hit the record button.

What she captured was an astonishing scene that was unfolding around her. Fans around her began to turn around, and before long, the entire stadium was standing and waving towards the hospital.

We talked about that day in our earlier blog and hoped that it would become a tradition. It seems like it has, and it has been noticed at the hospital.

Gwen Senio, the manager of child life at Stead Family Children’s hospital, works with children and their families to tend to their psychosocial needs as they undergo treatment and recovery. She sees many of he young patients that are facing severe and chronic illnesses that get exhausted be simple acts that we take for granted daily, like getting out of bed.

But on Saturdays, no matter what pain they may be in or how much energy it might take them, the kids do whatever they can to get up to the hospital’s version of the press box to experience what has simply become known as “The Wave.”

“They’re not thinking about how they are feeling, they are just thinking about what’s happening beyond that window,” Sernio said. “Being a part of that is good medicine.”

This most powerful reminder of the impact from the new tradition is seen from the point of “The Wave” until well after the game concludes, when the children have all left and are in their rooms.

Senio commented, “What I noticed early on is that after The Wave, the windows are covered with little handprints and smudges. To me, that was just such a heartwarming recognition that there was a connection between the children here in the hospital and what’s happening out in the stadium.”

Since the birth of this new tradition it has gathered more steam, showing no signs of stopping.

“The Wave” has even made its way to road games for Iowa, like the clash against Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan on September 30th. That same day it made an appearance on ESPN’s College Gameday broadcast.

Just two weeks ago Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes visited Kinnick Stadium. At the close if the first quarter, the legendary college coach and his team took the field, turned and joined in on the tradition.

That there is a ringing endorsement of the tradition.

Iowa’s head coach Kirk Ferentz is in his 19th season with the team and knows that he won’t be leading the Hawkeyes forever. He also knows that many of the traditions he has implemented over his stay may not last beyond his tenure.

But for “The Wave,” Ferentz doesn’t see an end in sight. “I think it’ll be there as long as the stadium are the hospital are side-by-side. I just can’t envision it ever stopping.”

There are lots of traditions out there in sports, but this is one that is a simple heartfelt gesture that will bring joy to a child’s heart, even for just a few hours. That support can lift their spirits and give them the strength they need to battle through what they are dealing with.

Truly, on September 2nd, 2017 a new tradition WAS born and we all got to witness it.