The Gatorade shower, also known as the Gatorade dunk or the Gatorade bath, is an American sports tradition that involves players surreptitiously dumping a cooler full of liquid (most commonly Gatorade mixed with ice) over the head of their coach (or occasionally a high-profile assistant coach, star player, or team owner in professional leagues) following a meaningful win, such as the Super Bowl, World Series or other major sporting event. This includes all levels of play including Little League World Series, high school, college (NCAA) and professional teams (e.g. NBA Finals or Stanley Cup).
Start of tradition
The tradition began with the New York Giants football team in the mid-1980s. According to several sources, including Jim Burt of the Giants, it began on October 28, 1984, when the Giants beat the Washington Redskins 37–13, and Burt performed the action on Bill Parcells after being angry over the coach's treatment of him that week. Burt insisted that Harry Carson dumped the Gatorade on Parcells, because Carson was a favorite and wouldn't get in trouble. Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton claims he invented the shower, also in 1984, when the Bears dunked Mike Ditka upon clinching the NFC Central – but that took place a month later in November. The phenomenon gained national attention in the 1986 Giants season. Parcells was doused after 17 victories that season, culminating with Super Bowl XXI.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was reported to be the first NBA coach to receive a Gatorade shower when his team won the 2008 NBA Finals. Paul Pierce dumped a cooler of red Gatorade over Rivers as the Celtics closed out Game 6 to clinch their first NBA title in 22 years. Then-Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson is the only NBA head coach to receive a Gatorade shower twice, as the Lakers won back-to-back NBA Finals in 2009 (at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida) and 2010. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle likewise received the honors when Mavericks celebrated their first NBA championship in 2011. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra received the same treatment from Udonis Haslem when the Heat won the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena in 2012.
George Allen, coach of the Long Beach State football team and a former Hall of Fame NFL head coach, was doused with ice water from a Gatorade bucket as his team celebrated its victory over the University of Nevada on November 17, 1990. Allen became ill shortly afterward and died of ventricular fibrillation six weeks later.
Kentucky Wildcats coach Guy Morriss is one of few coaches ever to receive a Gatorade shower and lose a game. This occurred on November 9, 2002, during the Bluegrass Miracle, when LSU defeated Kentucky. Coach Morriss was showered immediately before Marcus Randall threw a Hail Mary pass to Devery Henderson to win on the final play of the game.
Many baseball players give a teammate who has just hit a walk-off home run, or a pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter, a Gatorade shower while they are giving a post-game interview on the field. Salvador Pérez of the Kansas City Royals is known for giving a Gatorade shower to teammates after every home win and notable away wins. Other times, baseball players receive a cream pie to the face in lieu of a Gatorade shower.
The Australian NRL rugby league club Melbourne Storm's players have given their coach, Craig Bellamy, a Gatorade shower every time they have won the premiership under him, including in 2007, 2009 and 2012.
In the AFL, players are customarily given a shower if they win in their first game with their club.
In cricket the Australian cricket team players gave their coach Darren Lehmann a Gatorade shower on two occasions, during post celebrations after his team won the 2013-14 Ashes series and during a post match interview after the 2015 Cricket World Cup Final.
In 2016, the coach of Brazilian team SE Palmeiras received a Gatorade Shower during his first interview after receiving the 2016 Brasileirão title, also was the first time known that someone received a Gatorade shower in first division of Brazilian soccer.
Many teams do not use Gatorade but instead use water or another substitute; for example, the Florida State Seminoles use Powerade, due to their sponsorship agreement with Powerade manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company and Gatorade's affiliation with rival University of Florida. After Michigan State University's win over Penn State in 2010, Spartan players dumped a Gatorade bucket filled with green and white confetti on head coach Mark Dantonio. This was done because of the cold temperature and Dantonio's heart condition.
The tradition has become a mainstay of the Super Bowl; so much so that numerous gambling websites have established various 'prop bets' on situations during the game.
As the tradition has evolved, not all showers are reserved for championship games. Gatorade showers have occurred after key victories that were not championship games, after the defeat of a rival, after the snapping of a losing streak, or after the snapping of an opponent's winning streak.
Generally, it happens during an interview. Sometimes, the "victim" is the journalist. Another variation is shaving cream on the face, with a towel.
In 2005, ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell published a book entitled First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon, in which he documented, among other things, the story behind the Gatorade dunking phenomenon.
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- 1984 Giants dunk on YouTube, accessed November 14, 2016
- Rovell, Darren (2006). First in thirst: how Gatorade turned the science of sweat into a cultural phenomenon. AMACOM Books. pp. 77–91.
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