College Football Team Started A Heartwarming New Tradition To Cheer Up Sick Kids

"This is very, very awesome."

The University of Iowa football team kicked off the 2017 season on September 2 with a game against Wyoming, and with it came a heartwarming new ritual that stands to brighten the lives of dozens of sick children (and their families) receiving treatment at nearby University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

According to Buzzfeed News, upon completion of the first quarter members of both teams and the audience of thousands of fans turned to wave at kids watching from the hospital, which now boasts a new building that overlooks the stadium.

As below video of the sweet new practice shows, the thousands of people who showed up to watch the game (which Iowa won 24-3) heartily and happily embraced this new tradition. If you listen closely, you can even hear the crowd cheering as they turn to greet the kids.



The idea was apparently the brainchild of fan Levi Thompson, who runs an Iowa football fan page called Hawkeye Heaven and received an email from a woman asking him if he could attempt to use it to do something nice for the hospital.

"I wanted it to be something the fans could accomplish without getting the University or any kind of money backing it," he told HawkeyeNation.com. "That's when we thought about waving to the hospital after the end of the first quarter would be the perfect thing."

Thompson floated the idea on his page back in June and was met with overwhelming support. Saturday's game marked the first time he was able to see the thoughtful gesture in action.

The best part? The kind action didn't go unnoticed by those it was intended to cheer up. "It's a way for the kids to feel like they're part of the game day and they're able to view the game, hear the music, hear the sound, and see the hustle and bustle," child life assistant Ashley Meyer explains to Who TV.

Meyer says many of the kids in the hospital are limited in what they can participate in, but this helps them feel like they're part of something larger. She also notes game days are celebrated with party inside the hospital, where kids and their families can take in the action from a safe environment high above the crowded stadium.

As you can see from the additional video shared on the hospital's Facebook page above, when it came time for the wave many children and their families were eager to participate.

"The Wave," as it has become known, has even drawn praise from many on social media, including football rivals. 

"I may dislike the Hawkeyes, but the new tradition of waving to the Children's Hospital is incredible," mused a Green Bay Packers fan online.

Regardless of where your loyalties lie, we're thrilled this new tradition is bringing some joy to those who need it most.

A Plus has reached to the University of Iowa athletic department for comment.



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