Scott Van Pelt is one of the most well known personalities in sports media and very possibly the biggest personality at ESPN, and as such, he gets to anchor his very own hour of “SportsCenter” on his own. One of the nightly segments on his show is “One Big Thing,” where he talks about what he thinks is the biggest and best story in sports from the day that he thinks everyone should know about. Some of these segments have been centered on the layoffs at ESPN, Jordan Speith’s receding hairline, and MLB player CC Sabathia seeking help for alcohol abuse, but one thing is for sure - it’s a segment that resonates with viewers.
There’s a new tradition at Kinnick Stadium that started on Saturday, with fans waving to the families on the top floor of the Children’s Hospital in between the first and second quarter, and Van Pelt took note. In fact, he loved it so much that he made it his “One Big Thing” on Sunday night.
What a great segment by Van Pelt. Waving really is a small gesture. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, it’s not strenuous — it’s something nearly everyone can do. For the kids that are in the hospital, as well as their families, being able to have some small form of connection to the game being played on the field has to be incredible. There’s a reason the Children’s Hospital was built where was and in the design that it was. There’s a reason the team visits sick kids. There’s a reason Kirk donates money. There’s a reason Iowa has the Kid Captains every week.
It’s kindness. Iowa wanted the kids in the hospital to see Kinnick Stadium. To give them a little bit of hope, to give them the feeling that there were other people thinking about them, praying for them, hoping they got well soon. As Van Pelt says, “The sight of 75,000 people, all of them looking up and waving at children who are battling illnesses genuinely moved me. It’s so simple, but so undeniably warm and kind and just so human.”
The tradition is great and here’s to hoping visiting fans take part in it as well. It’s truly something everyone can get behind.