parker kress, hawkeyes, the wave, kid captains, university of iowa

Honoring ten years of Kid Captains at Hawkeye Game

IOWA CITY, Iowa-- Thousands of people filled the stands at Kinnick Stadium as the Hawkeyes took on Maryland for homecoming.

 The real MVP's tonight weren't the playmakers but the people filling section 103 in the stands. Each seat was packed with past kid captains and their families from the last ten years, ready to be honored during the halftime show.

"It feels good, it's still as crazy as it was two years ago being out here with all of them is still special to me," said Parker Kress.

At every Hawkeye game, a patient at the University of Iowa's Children's Hospital is picked to represent the team. 

Two years ago Parker, from Pleasant Valley, was the honorary captain at the Iowa vs Iowa State game after he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma.

But somehow, being on the field today trumps that experience.

"We're all unique in our own way but we've gone through sort of similar things it's kinda like we're our own little community cause we're all here and we all went to the children's hospital," said Parker.

Parker and his dad were surrounded by 100 other families. Some they knew, others they got to know today.

"People are passing blankets back and forth to each other, sharing food up there and so many of the families you know we saw each other in the hospital for years at a time and so this has been going on for ten years now it's truly remarkable," said Kevin Dumser.

Parker was able to give back in a way he has never done before, by participating in "the wave" along with the thousands of others in the stands and on the field.

"This is my first one so I know what they're going through so I'm glad I could support them because I know it helped me when I knew people were supporting me," said Parker.

"For the university to do something like this to continue to honor these kids and everything they've been through it's hard to put into words just how amazing this is," said Dumser.

The support is easy to see as Parker and the others walk off the field, an experience like nothing else.

"I love Iowa just look at this environment it's amazing," said Parker.