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Iowa Hawkeyes fans began a heart-warming new tradition on Sept. 2 by standing to wave at the children who are watching from University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. Zack Creglow

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Well done, ESPN. And Fox Sports, too.

The networks aired extensive features on the instantly-famous Hawkeye Wave during their college football pregame broadcasts Saturday morning that are bound to find their way straight to your heart.

Tom Rinaldi reported the six-minute ESPN story on "College Gameday." He spoke with Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, Mary Ferentz and several of the real heroes of this story: the patients and parents at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

ESPN's feature also takes a look at the death of Savvy Ferentz, Kirk and Mary's granddaughter, and the Savvy Ferentz Program in Neonatal Research. Needless to say, the Ferentzes get emotional.

Watch the video below.

And the network wasn't done. When the feature ended, Rinaldi appeared in front of the crowd in Blacksburg, Virginia, where "GameDay" was stationed this week for the Clemson-Virginia Tech game. 

With the Hawkeyes on the road this week at Michigan State, Rinaldi encouraged the Hokie fans to fill in for the Kinnick faithful.

"For all those who are still in that hospital, there's your wave," he said.

Fox Sports' Rob Stone narrated the network's five-minute piece. Iowa and Michigan State will play on Fox at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Fox story features Annelise Chapman, who was one of the subjects of our own story on the kids at the UI Children's Hospital. Hawk Central's Mark Emmert was the first to take you inside the children's moments of struggle and hope more than two weeks ago.

Since its debut against Wyoming, video of the Hawkeye Wave has spread like wildfire across the country, and it's not an exaggeration to say it's probably the best new tradition in college football. ABC World News, ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, The Washington Post, the NCAA and just about every local outlet you can imagine have covered it in some way.

The recently finished University of Iowa Children's Hospital sits right next to Kinnick Stadium. The top floor features the Press Box Cafe, a rotunda of sorts with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a perfect view of Hawkeye games for patients and families packing the cafe. You can also see signs posted on windows from the top several floors of the hospital, where young patients watch and root for their Hawkeyes.

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After every first quarter this season, fans inside Kinnick turn around and wave up to the hospital. Inside, patients and their families wave back.

Levi Thompson first promoted the idea of the wave on his Hawkeyes fan page after Krista Young, a reader of his site, suggested something could be done to recognize the patients and their parents watching from the brand-new 12-story hospital.

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.

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