Yes, this is yet another story about Iowa’s “Wave.” We’ve seen dozens of videos and read all kinds of articles highlighting the best new tradition in college football. We’re proud of it, as we should be.
We often get tired of being saturated with coverage about a single story, and subsequently, it leads people to getting tired of the story itself.
But the Wave is different. I haven’t seen anyone get upset about the coverage it’s getting. Why would they? In a 24-hour news cycle filled with terror, violence, and divisiveness, “The Wave” is a breath of fresh air — both in sports and our newsfeed.
And for that reason, I’m sharing this story with you.
You see, this is also a story about colors.
Too often in these crazy times we live in, colors represent our differences: My team vs. your team, my flag vs. your flag, my party vs. your party, the pinks and blues traditionally assigned to genders, and unfortunately, the color of our skin.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers hosted the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. Both teams wear the same shade of red. Nebraska’s student section, which goes by the name “The Iron N,” decided they would call for a Blackout:
This Saturday. We wear BLACK.— The Iron N (@TheIronN) October 2, 2017
⚫️☠️ @HuskerBoneyard #BlackoutWisconsin pic.twitter.com/oOOHDypb5y
Now I’m a bit of a troll. I already had plans to attend the game with my good friend and Husker fan, Lance. But when the The Iron N called for a Blackout, I knew there was really only one way for a guy who writes for an Iowa site to meet their demands: wear a black Iowa shirt.
To Lance’s dismay, I did just that.
After we parked the car in Lot 21 in Lincoln, we got out and were immediately swimming in a Sea of Red, not black. After a couple of Husker fans saw my shirt and jokingly made comments about how large my testicles must be, I looked around and saw that most of the red we were seeing was being worn by Wisconsin fans.
I decided I wanted a picture with of myself wearing an Iowa shirt to a Husker game, and I thought it would be great if Lance and I could pose with a bunch of Badgers. I zeroed in on the least intimidating looking bunch I could find and approached them.
A couple of them looked over at me as I walked their way. They saw the black and gold I was wearing and said “Dude, we were just there!”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Apparently they had left Wisconsin early Saturday morning and headed for Lincoln. As they navigated their way through Iowa, it occurred to them that they were nearing Iowa City and a game was being played there. This group of five or six young guys and one girl decided to make a detour and see if they could score tickets to the Illinois-Iowa game.
They were successful.
“Did you get to see the Wave?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” one of them replied. “That was they only reason we wanted to go. We wanted to wave to those kids.”
They left Iowa City shortly after the end of the first quarter and made it to Lincoln in time to take a picture with my friend and I before making their way into a second Big Ten stadium that day to watch their team come away victorious.
These were young people. They are the embodiment of the “YOLO” generation. You only live once, and these kids decided that because of that, the money they spent on scalped tickets to get into a game and take part in the very best tradition in sports was well worth it.
And so, just as some of those who attended the Blackout in Lincoln on Saturday spotted some jerk in the crowd wearing an Iowa shirt, it’s very likely that someone looking down on Kinnick from the hospital saw a patch of people dressed in red waving at them amongst the 70,000 or so fans in attendance.
I bet the color they were wearing didn’t matter to those kids.
UPDATE: Shoutout to BHGP reader Sarah Kluss who noticed the Wisconsin fans at the game.