At this time of the year we are bombarded with all kinds of sports events on TV. During Thanksgiving weekend I am sure many people were watch their favorite football game. At the end of the game one of the most notable scenes is the “Gatorade Shower” at the end a football game, where players from a victorious team grab the Gatorade cooler, sneak up behind the head coach, and pour the contents over his head.
This tradition began in the mid-1980’s when Harry Carson and Jim Burt of the New York Giants doused head coach Bill Parcells during the 1985 season. Burt’s teammates picked up on this practice and popularized it during team’s championship seasons of 1986-87. The tradition gained widespread popularity, and now coaches at all levels get the dunk.
The reason it is Gatorade is that is what is on the sideline of the game for the players to drink. The drink is intended to rehydrate and to replenish the electrolytes depleted during exercise.
It is the inventor of Gatorade, Dr. James Robert Cade, who has taken his Final Taxi.
He was a was a professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Florida when he invented the sports drink.
In 1965, Cade, along with Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. H. James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada were approached by a UF assistant coach who asked them figure out why so many of the players were being affected by the heat and what could be done about it.
In their research, the doctors found the players were losing fluids and electrolytes through sweat and burning large amounts of carbohydrates for energy that were not being replaced. To combat these effects, the team created a concoction they called ‘Gatorade,’ a precisely balanced carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage that would help Gator players replace key components lost through sweating and exercise.
Soon after making Gatorade available during games and practices, the Gators began outlasting their opponents in the heat and had their first winning season in more than a decade. In 1967, the team not only finished 9–2, they also won the Orange Bowl for the first time ever in the history of the school.
Word about Gatorade spread outside of Florida as colleges from across the U.S. began ordering it for their teams.
According to the Gatorade Co., in 1969, Gator’s Coach Ray Graves suggested to the Kansas City Chiefs that they use Gatorade. The Chiefs were so impressed with the effect the drink had on the team, they kept it on their sidelines throughout the entire season which ended with a surprising Superbowl win against the Minnesota Vikings.
Over the years, more NFL teams began making Gatorade available on the sidelines of their games and practices, and in 1983, Gatorade became the official sports drink of the NFL—a title it holds to this day.
Dr. Cade continued to work at the university, where he taught medicine and conducted research, until the age of 76.
One of my favorite comedies, The Waterboy, has a great scene where Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) tells Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) that Gatorade is better than water, in an effort to harness Boucher’s rage for the football field. I am sure there are people who prefer the many flavors, from the original lemon-lime to the new Cran Raspberry A.M., to water.