The tradition started in 2017 after the completion of the new UI Children's Hospital.
If you watched any Iowa Hawkeyes football in 2017, you might have noticed a moment during the game when Hawkeyes fans turn to wave to the building behind Kinnick Stadium. The tradition is known as the 'Iowa Wave' - but it's much more than a simple greeting to those on the receiving end.
What is the Iowa wave?
Last season the Hawkeyes started the 'Iowa wave,' a new tradition where Iowa fans turn away from the field at the end of the first quarter to wave to the children watching from the windows of the newly built University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium.
The top floor of the hospital, which was completed prior to the 2017 season, features a "Press Box" where patients and families can come together on home game Saturday's to watch the Hawkeyes play. From the windows of the press box, there's a near-perfect view of Kinnick Stadium for patients to cheer on their beloved Hawkeyes. Children often tape signs and posters to the windows in their rooms in support of the team and now, fans support them back with the Iowa wave.
Watch the story of the wave below:
We’re grateful to everyone who has supported the #Wave and continues to do so. Although it didn’t win the Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the Year today, the Wave will always be number one in our hearts. @uiowa @theiowahawkeyes @hawkeyefootball @uihealthcare pic.twitter.com/3xbiEMjO89— UI Stead Family Children's Hospital (@UIchildrens) February 27, 2018
How did the tradition start?
The idea was born on social media: an Iowa fan suggested that the team should think of something to cheer up the children in the hospital.
At the end of the first quarter in the team's first home game of 2017, UI's announcer asked all 70,000 Hawkeyes decked out in yellow and black to turn around and wave to the fans watching from the hospital windows.
The tradition, as simple as it is, took hold.
Now fans turn to the hospital every game and turn on the lights on their cell phones at night to illuminate Kinnick Stadium so no one misses the Iowa wave.
Have any other teams picked up on the Iowa wave?
Opponents and teams across the country have joined in on the Hawkeyes tradition.
👋HELLO to everyone at the @UIchildrens Hospital, we are the NIU Huskies! You are all extremely inspiring to us & we want you to know that we support you in your difficult journeys! Excited to wave to you from the field Saturday! #FTK #IowaWave #theHardWay pic.twitter.com/mZYU0bkU1Q— NIU Football (@NIU_Football) August 30, 2018
You can watch the Iowa wave during any Hawkeyes home game this season.