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THE BOTTLE AND THE BABE
Gilbert Rogin
July 01, 1968
A white-coated figure in a laboratory bashes a blonde on the head with a piece of lumber. Famous athletic teams rave over a cloudy, lime-green liquid with some strange attributes and an unfamiliar taste. Could these bizarre circumstances possibly have anything in common? Indeed they do, as associates of a somewhat eccentric doctor at the University of Florida are very well aware
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July 01, 1968

The Bottle And The Babe

A white-coated figure in a laboratory bashes a blonde on the head with a piece of lumber. Famous athletic teams rave over a cloudy, lime-green liquid with some strange attributes and an unfamiliar taste. Could these bizarre circumstances possibly have anything in common? Indeed they do, as associates of a somewhat eccentric doctor at the University of Florida are very well aware

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When you first meet friends and colleagues of Dr. Robert Cade, the inventor of Gatorade, Gator-Go, Hop-n-Gator, the hydraulic football helmet, the irradiated pecan and the hemispherical shoe-polish can, they invariably inform you that he is a genius; in the next breath they inquire if Dr. Cade told you about the time he got arrested for riding his bicycle while intoxicated. Alas, Dr. Cade would just as soon not verify this episode; nor, for that matter, will he mention the occasion when he threw his violin overboard while being shipwrecked. In fact, Dr. Cade will not admit to being shipwrecked. However, he is willing to talk about the time he got stopped for speeding on his bicycle on the campus of the University of Florida, where he is an associate professor of medicine and head of the Renal and Electrolyte Division or, as he calls it, "the wee-wee lab."

Perhaps Dr. Cade feels this incident reveals the intellectual climate or helps describe the field on which he, gently, does daily battle. As his wife Mary says: "He's such a rebel. He's surely an individualist. He's not going to do something the same way because it's always been done that way. He delights in stirring things up."

The way Dr. Cade tells it, he was cycling along Radio Road in Gainesville when a Rambler passed him so closely his clothing was brushed. He set out in pursuit in order to curse the driver. (One of Dr. Cade's sternest imprecations is "foo.") As he was drawing abreast of the car—it was a long, downhill stretch—a squad car came up behind him. "Hey, you, pull over," the policeman in the car said. The Rambler stopped. "Hey, you, pull over," the policeman repeated. Dr. Cade stopped. The policeman asked him what he thought he was doing. Dr. Cade explained that he was trying to catch up to the Rambler so he could curse the driver. The policeman asked him how fast he thought he was going. Dr. Cade said he had no idea. The policeman said he was going 37 mph. "I told him that was impossible as I was old, fat and atherosclerotic," says Dr. Cade. " 'Don't get smart with me,' the policeman said. I said, 'If I was going 37 the Rambler was going 37, too, so why not give him a ticket?' The policeman said, 'It's harder to stop a bicycle going 20 than a car going 40.' I said, 'That's irrelevant. Would you rather be hit by a bicycle going 20 or a car going 40?' " Dr. Cade paid a $15 fine.

Dr. Cade enjoys referring to himself as fat and old—a habit which has been picked up by his family. For instance, his son Michael, who is 13 and the oldest of his six children, did a study on Dr. Cade for seventh grade science entitled The Effect of Conditioning on Cardiovascular Responses to Exercise in a Fat, Old Man. It won third place in the state science fair.

In truth, Dr. Cade is 40 years old and, although he stands 5'7" and weighs 184 pounds, he is so sturdily built it would be both unkind and inaccurate to call him fat. Moreover, he is in fairly good shape. Not long ago he stated that he could outrun a 19-year-old end on the University of Florida football team in a 440. Dr. Cade wasn't being boastful; he was merely illustrating his thesis that football players aren't in condition. "It's part of the ritual," he says. "For the first two weeks of practice the coaches work them real hard. Then, as a reward they let them exercise less. If Coach [Ray] Graves would appoint me physical conditioner of the football team I'd conclude each practice with a two-mile run. I'd make them run four or five miles a day. Why, with our excellent coaching and smart players we'd be national champions every year, and we'd cut down on injuries."

This millennium has not yet come to pass. However, by means of one of his inventions, Gatorade, Dr. Cade has substantially improved not only the lot of the Florida football team but that of all sweaty mankind.

Gatorade is a beverage which quenches thirst, replaces the vital substances lost in perspiration—water, sodium, potassium—and is absorbed considerably faster than water. Preliminary observations suggest that Gatorade also reduces the occurrence of heat-related diseases, such as heat prostration and heat stroke; enables an athlete to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time and, as a consequence, is likely to decrease the incidence of injuries brought about by fatigue.

Since 1965, when the Florida football team began drinking Gatorade, it has outscored its opponents in the second half by 379-221; in the first half the totals are 290-204. When Florida beat Georgia Tech 27-12 in the Orange Bowl last year, Coach Bobby Dodd told Graves, "We didn't have Gatorade. That made the difference." Tech now has it, as do 16 AFL and NFL teams, including the respective champions, Oakland and Green Bay. (The Los Angeles Rams drank three cases a game last year—that is, except for the conference title game at Milwaukee when the Gatorade froze solid.) In fact, Gatorade is one of two products Vince Lombardi endorses. Gatorade is also used by nine NBA and ABA teams, among them the World Champion Celtics, five NHL clubs, nine major league baseball teams, the U.S. Davis Cup team and 69 college football teams, including No. 1 USC, Tennessee, Army and Yale. Purdue used Gatorade when it upset Notre Dame last year. Notre Dame ordered 10 cases the following Monday.

Among the greatest admirers of Gatorade are the Los Angeles Lakers, who drink over a quart a man per game. This is not excessive. Says Dr. Cade: "It can be consumed ad libitum in large amounts (up to six quarts during a football or basketball game) without causing any sensation of fullness and without electrolyte abnormalities." Electrolytes, in general, are salt solutions, such as one of potassium chloride.

"I'd like to think Gatorade gives me more stamina and endurance," says Elgin Baylor. "I can't prove it, but as long as I feel it does me some good I'll continue to drink it."

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