Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Iowa Wave: The Best Tradition in College Football

One tradition that now has spread across America is the “Iowa Wave,” where Hawkeye fans turn their attention away from the field and toward the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The idea started on social media when an Iowa Fan suggested that the team should think of something to cheer up the children in the hosptial. 

At the end of the first quarter of every home game, the announcer asks all 70,000+ fans in Kinnick Stadium to turn around and wave up to the hospital. Occsionally, with the opportunity of a night kick off game, fans turn on their cell phone flashlights to light up the stadium.


This tradition has expanded to more than just the Iowa fans. If they’re cheering from Kinnick, the opposing team and their fans also wave in the direction of the hospital. If they’re cheering from their home state, they often wave to a TV camera, where it’s broadcasted during the game. For the 30 seconds everyone is waving, Iowa City comes together to be a part of the hospital and support the children. For a few moments, the competition and rivalry of the game are forgotten. 

The top floor of the Children’s Hospital features what they call their “Press Box,” where patients and families can bond over a Saturday football game and watch their favorite Hawkeyes play. From the windows, there is a perfect view looking down on Kinnick Stadium. This gives children who are not healthy enough to be down in the stadium, an opportunity to still be involved. Often, they will make signs and use glow sticks to cheer from the windows that you can see clearly from the stadium. 

Pat Green’s song “Wave on Wave.” is the tradition’s essential song that plays the length of the wave at every game. Pat Green has performed the song live at Kinnick the last two seasons. This year the performance was occompanied by the Hawkeye Marching Band on Septemeber 7, 2019. As pictured below, Pat Green visits the Hosptital and sings the song live to some children.  


It’s hard to express in words how much power The Wave has on fans, families, and the children themselves. The respect these fans give the children that are struggling is powerful and emotional, especially when you can experience it in person. This tradition has made me proud to be a Hawkeye, and it will forever give me goosebumps while in the stadium.

If you have never been inside Kinnick Stadium for The Wave, you need to. It’s one of the many great things about being a Hawkeye.

Follow the @uichildrens hospital on Instagram and Twitter for more!

Image Credit: 1, 2


Natalie is currently a junior at The University of Iowa majoring Sport and Recreation Management. She loves to hang out with friends and family, watch Netflix, and photography! Instagram -- @natalieiacopetti Twitter -- @natalieiacopett
Similar Reads👯‍♀️