Opinion: Iowa's New Football Tradition a Source of Pride

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Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)


The Kinnick Stadium wave to Stead Family Children's Hospital provides another source of Iowa pride.

For Hawkeyes football fans, construction work around the famed University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics next to the stadium has been a fact of life for years.

But one long-awaited project was completed this year, and visitors to the Hawkeyes home opener got a look at the $360 million Stead Family Children's Hospital. The project — paid for with bonds and donations and zero taxpayer dollars — is a beautiful building housing one of the country's most prestigious hospitals, ranking in the top 50 in eight categories of pediatric care. The 12th floor of the hospital boasts seating overlooking the stadium, where patients and their families can see Hawkeyes football from just above the stands.

From inside Kinnick, fans couldn't miss the presence of the hospital, looming right behind the stadium seats. During the Hawkeyes opener against Wyoming, a tradition was born. At the end of the first quarter, the entire stadium turned and waved to the kids watching from the 12th floor.

The moment was a touching one for those inside the hospital and stadium. The idea grew from a suggestion on a Hawkeyes fan Facebook page. Coach Kirk Ferentz didn't need any convincing. Ferentz and his wife, Mary, donated $1 million to the children's hospital last month, in honor of Savvy Ferentz, a granddaughter (daughter of Hawkeyes assistant Brian and Nikki Ferentz) who died after being born prematurely at 21 weeks.

Watch for the first-quarter wave when Iowa is back at Kinnick on Saturday, Sept. 16, and at all the home games. As fans cheer on the team they adore, they can take a moment to recognize something all Iowans should be proud of in Stead Family Children's Hospital.

Those who were babies at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are now old enough to drive cars.

It's been 16 years now, since the fateful day when the world changed in big ways and small.

We now have full-grown adults who have no memory of the planes crashing into the towers and the widespread fear and concern that swept the country. They also won't remember the unity that followed, as people came together as Americans, united against the common enemy of terrorism.

While it's important to remember what happened on 9/11, to honor the fallen and salute the heroes, maybe there's even a reminder to be taken from the aftermath of this horrific event.

Remember what it was like to live in a country where we were Americans first, no matter our political ideology? Remember what it was like to feel connected to others with a sense of national pride? It didn't mean we all agreed on everything. It didn't mean we weren't different. But we found a place where Americans could stand shoulder to shoulder and respect one another.

This Sept. 11, we honor all those who lost their lives and the heroes who rushed in to help those in danger. May we also get back even a fraction of the perspective we had that day about what it truly means to be an American.

Folks sending kids off to college for the first time recently might be dealing with some new parenting challenges. A point to remember: Things have changed since you were in college.

Suddenly those 18-year-olds who knew everything might run into some areas that aren't so familiar. Most parents will know plenty about the perils of homesickness, new-found freedom and the academic rigor of college. What Mom and Dad might have to bone up on is the financial aspects of college.

Don't blow all your money on beer might still be solid advice. But the larger issue is preparing students with some real understanding of financial health and stability. To do that, parents need a grasp on the challenge of affording today's higher education.

For most parents of college-age students, taking on student loans wasn't a big deal when they were in college. Nearly everybody ended up earning enough to pay them back.

Student loan debt has increased by $1.4 trillion in the past two decades. Defaulting on student loans is a growing problem among young workers who accrued insurmountable debt as undergrads. Students must try to earn their degree while avoiding overwhelming debt.

Parents need to give students guidance in avoiding financial peril. That means parents should complete the FAFSA every year - even those who get nothing the first year. Circumstances change. It's worth the effort.

Conversations about money are never easy. But the ones between parents and children about college debt are imperative for both parties and can likely impact the financial stability of both.

Paying for college has changed dramatically over a generation. Both parents and students must make sure gaining financial literacy is part the college experience.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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September 12, 2017


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