Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor And The Inventor of Gatorade Will Be Missed

Today is truly a sad days in sports because we must mourn the loss of two individuals who impacted the game in remarkable ways.

Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor died Tuesday after he was shot in his home by an apparent intruder. The 24-year-old player died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he had been airlifted after the shooting early Monday. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will honor Taylor's memory at all games this weekend. Taylor's No. 21 will be painted in a grass parking area leading into Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. In addition, No. 21 will also be painted in front of the Redskins Hall of Fame store. Fans already began a makeshift memorial by laying flowers on a field near the front entrance to the practice facility. Several people paid respects at Taylor's parking space.

Sean Taylor was one of the fiercest and most competitive safetys imaginable. After much success in college, he was drafted in 2004 by the Redskins and became the starter in just the third game. He recorded his first interception in the sixth game which sealed a victory for his team. The potential he had was incredible and his efforts will not go unnoticed.

I find eerie how the players I draft in video games have been dying in reality. First, Joe Kennedy on my MVP baseball team died in reality and now Sean Taylor, who I drafted on a fantasy team in Madden, was killed. I am not joking here.

The news in this post doesn't get any happier. I grew up on Gatorade. I absolutely loved the deep-quenching cold taste of Gatorade. Today, I came home to find out the inventor of Gatorade passed away. Dr. Robert Cade, who invented the sports drink Gatorade and launched a multibillion-dollar industry that the beverage continues to dominate, died Tuesday of kidney failure at age 80.

What people don't realize (such as myself who drank Gatorade his whole life) is that Gatorade and other sports drinks are treated like a science and experimentation goes into developing the perfect drink. Cade's researchers determined a football player could lose up to 18 pounds (90 to 95 percent of it water) during the three hours it takes to play a game. Players sweated away sodium and chloride and lost plasma volume and blood volume. Using their research (and about $43 in supplies) they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football.

What happened next is a nice, light-hearted story. According to ESPN:

The researchers added some sugar and some lemon juice to improve the taste. It was first tested on freshmen because coach Ray Graves didn't want to hurt the varsity team. Eventually, however, the use of the sports beverage spread to the Gators, who enjoyed a winning record and were known as a "second-half team" by outlasting opponents.

After the Gators beat Georgia Tech 27-12 in the Orange Bowl in 1967, Tech coach Bobby Dodd told reporters his team lost because "We didn't have Gatorade ... that made the difference."

So, there you have it. Gatorade was named after the Florida Gators. Gatorade has expanded tremendously since. Instead of the original four flavors, there are now more than 30 available in the United States and more than 50 flavors available internationally.


James Diggs said...

My thoughts and prayers are with Sean Taylor's family and friends and the Redskins organization.



Thee O.G. said...

I am truly saddened by the loss of Sean Taylor, I followed him through college and into the pros. He will be missed.