Ottumwa, Iowa Is The Home of The First “Foam Finger”
Some of the most memorable moments in sports don't have to do with anything that happens on the field or court. Sometimes it's that random stranger you sit next to in the stands who has a wild story, or that hotdog that tastes that much better while you root for your favorite baseball team to beat their rivals, or even that moment you bond with your kid as you explain the rules to them for the millionth time.
While I'm a fair-weather sports consumer, I do recognize the camaraderie and spirit of sports.
When I was a kid, I could not sit still in my seat no matter how hard my parents tried. I'd always be squirmy and ask to go to the bathroom or get a snack. To appease the annoying kid that they brought to the game, I remember them getting me a foam finger.
I still think these are some of the coolest things you can buy. YOU LITERALLY CAN BUY A GIANT FINGER!
It turns out that the very first foam finger EVER, was made right here in Iowa.
While it's not a "foam finger" this Iowa student was credited with the prototype for the famed sports digit. Steve Chmelar of Ottumwa created this papier-mâché finger for a high school event in 1971. The Ottumwa High School student made it out hardware cloth and papier-mâché for the 1971 Iowa High School Athletic Association Boy’s State Basketball Finals, between the Ottumwa Bulldogs and the Davenport West Falcons.