It’s nearly impossible not to see Gatorade in the halls and corners of Redskins Park.
A longtime staple and growing brand in the Redskins’ locker room, weight room and cafeteria, Gatorade continues to refuel players and is now the subject of a fascinating little documentary exploring how the drink came into existence.
By now, you probably know why Gatorade has its name, thanks to commercials about the sports drink’s affiliation with the University of Florida football team.
But a new 30 for 30 Short documentary, “The Sweat Solution,” which you can watch here on ESPN.com, is a fascinating 15-minute origin story about how one of the most popular sports drinks became a hallmark on the sidelines and in dugouts over the world.
Its need was great. In the 1960s, the Florida football team was consistently held hostage by the heat, which tends to happen near swamps. 80 degree days meant many athletes were sent to the infirmary. Some were losing 15-20 pounds during practices. It became a noticeable handicap.
That’s where Dr. Robert Cade came in. Besides fixing up Studebaker cars and playing in the orchestra during his spare time, Cade was primarily a kidney specialist at the University.
With the growing on-field problems, he soon made player hydration one of his major tasks. Unlike water, whose consumption provided more bloating than relief, Cade put an emphasis on glucose and electrolytes, helping to restore the lost muscle tissue cells during training.
Ten freshmen initially underwent testing in 1965 and the results were highly encouraging. They were performing at higher levels.
Eventually, lemon juice was added to help the poor taste, and by 1966, the whole team was drinking what was termed Gatorade. The team finished the year 8-2, including an Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech.
Head coach Ray Graves demanded it be made consistently and supplied Cade and his scientific staff with all the money necessary to continue its production.
It was a wise bet.
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