Okay, let’s be honest, how many of us had heard of Dr. Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade, before he died today? Not many, I’m sure.
But his passing still feels momentous because Gatorade itself is a huge cultural institution. Athletes swear by it, drunks fight hangovers with it but, maybe even more importantly, the stuff revolutionized coach-dousing. Before the invention of the neon sports drink, game-winning coaches had to be drenched in clear, unexciting ice-water. Now, they can get soaked to the skin in bright colors, making photo-ops more memorable and cleanup a much bigger adventure.
But seriously, Gatorade is one of those American dream-type stories, where one guy uses his ingenuity and leadership skills to invent a product that turns around a middling football team, and in the process, the middling university for which it played.
According to the Gainesville Sun, Gatorade, which Cade led a team of university scientists to invent in order to better hydrate football players, “[generates] $150 million in royalties for the university and helping to establish UF as a premier research institution.”
So what have you done for your alma mater lately?
Dr. Robert Cade, Gatorade inventor, dies at 80 [Gainesville Sun]