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The Wave in the Time of COVID

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Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Hate My Fellow Fans

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Indiana at Iowa
Look at how much we care about kids!!

In 2017 the Stead Family Children’s Hospital was opened across the street from Legendary, Historic Kinnick Stadium. The project had spent years in planning and construction. Fundraising for it was even tied to the football team through the incredibly popular Touchdowns for Kids program, which was even supported and promoted by some blogs going back over 10 years.

In the run up to the season, a fan movement started online to acknowledge the kids currently in the hospital by turning and waving to them at the end of the first quarter. And thus, the tradition of The Wave began. In short order the school and team adopted it, officially. Both teams step out onto the field to perform the gesture. T-Shirts are sold. There’s even a shitty country song that was written to be played while it’s going on.

And it is a very powerful thing to take part in. I’ve been a season ticket holder since the 2004 season, and I’m about as cynical as it comes, but when that shitty country song comes on, and everyone in the stands starts waving, it’s reduced me to a blubbering mess a few times.

Part of that may be that I’ve had 2 daughters served by the UIHC Children’s Hospital. No long stays or anything, but enough to know that it’s awful and scary up there.

After last season, with no fans in the stands, The Wave made a return last week with a full stadium of 70,000 doing The Wave between the 1st and 2nd quarters, and it just made me nauseous and angry.

There’s a goddamn pandemic still raging on for the unvaccinated. And the very kids the fans are waving at are the most vulnerable to the very virus that those 70,000 are only helping to spread.

It’s disgusting and hypocritical.

There are currently 7 pediatric inpatients at Stead with COVID. It’s making the act not about the kids in the hospital, but about making you feel good standing there and waving, while actively hurting those that hospital serves.

There are zero mitigation efforts going on at the football games. No vaccine requirements, no negative test requirements, no mask requirements.

Nothing.

It’s not about the kids anymore. It’s a self-congratulatory circle jerk.