There are so many stories about bad, horrible, depressing things on the internet. So, so many. About politics, about economic issues, about climate issues, about sports. This is not one of those stories.
The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry inflames passions among fans (too much so, in some cases), but it can also do good. A whole lot of good, as it turns out. The Cy-Hawk game was the epicenter of the college football world last weekend, within ESPN's College GameDay pre-game show airing live from Ames for the first time ever. For three hours, the show previewed the day's action and featured multiple segments about the Iowa-Iowa State game. As usual, it also featured lots of homemade signs from the fans in attendance crowded around the set. Some of them were funny and some of them were dumb, but one sign, by Iowa State fan Carson King, became a viral sensation that's going to wind up doing a whole lot of good for people who really need it.
King's simple sign read "Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished ~ Venmo ~ Carson-King-25" and was intended as a goof. King's sign ended up on TV a few times over the course of GameDay's three-hour runtime and, well, it worked. As King told ESPN,
Within 30 minutes, King had $400. Initially, he thought it was funny, that he could enjoy a night out and afford to restock his beer supply.
But the money kept coming. Once it hit $600, King thought there was a better way to put this money to use than a few beers with his friends.
King, a 24-year-old resident of Altoona, Iowa, called his parents and family, telling them what had transpired.
He suggested he should donate the inbound money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. It is tradition at Iowa Hawkeyes football games for fans in the stadium to wave toward the hospital's windows at the end of the first quarter.
By then his Venmo account had hit $1600. When he announced his plans to donate the money to the UI Children's Hospital (minus the cost of one case of Busch Light), things really took off. Anheuser-Busch said that they'd match his donation to the UI Children's Hospital -- and Venmo said the same. (Anheuser-Busch also plans to provide King with free beer for a year.)
The story's continued to pick up steam -- and the donations have only continued to snowball. King's Venmo account hit $36,000 by Wednesday afternoon and $70,000 by Wednesday evening. Per KCCI, it's up to $90,000 as of Thursday afternoon. Factoring in the matching donations from Anheuser-Busch and Venmo, that's $270,000 (and counting) for the UI Children's Hospital. I can't think of any other way to describe that other than "awesome."
Scott Van Pelt featured the story on his 1 Big Thing segment on SportsCenter last night and captured it beautifully:
Per CBS, King plans to run the fundraiser through the end of September before delivering a check to UI Children's Hospital and meeting some of the kids whose lives will be impacted by the generosity he and his sign have inspired. We love college football, even when it sometimes inspires people to do (and say) stupid things. But sometimes it inspires people to do really fantastic things. This is one of those times.