Author Archives: Matt Blitz

The Origin of Gatorade and How the Tradition of the “Gatorade Shower” Got Started

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chastitydetori. asks: Why do athletes dump Gatorade on their coaches after winning a game? During a typical sticky, unbearable August weekend in 1965 in Gainesville- the home of the University of Florida Gators- football practices were well underway in anticipation for the upcoming season. However, the weather had wreaked havoc on the freshman football team over the weekend. 25 players […]

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The Origin of Nachos and How Football Helped Popularize Them Surprisingly Recently

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Americans eat a lot on Super Bowl Sunday, according to one 2015 study consuming triple the amount of their daily allowance of calories per serving during the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s the second largest food consumption day of the year in the country (behind Thanksgiving). Of the many millions of pounds of snacks eaten in honor of America’s (still) […]

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The Bizarre First Super Bowl Halftime Show

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These days, Super Bowl halftime shows are star-studded affairs that can eclipse the game itself. More people watched Madonna’s 2012 halftime performance than the Patriots and Giants matchup (despite it being thrilling). In 2007, everyone remembers Prince crooning “Purple Rain” during an actual torrential rainstorm. Also, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears in a rather uneventful game. In 1993, […]

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The Hand of Faith

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Sitting in the back of a dark, old-fashioned Las Vegas casino sits, rather unremarkably, the largest gold nugget on display in the world. Slowly spinning on a table in a place not uncoincidentally named “The Golden Nugget,” the so-called “Hand of Faith” gold nugget is not as glamorous nor as shiny as cartoon gold nuggets would have you believe. While […]

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How the Modern Practice of Cheerleading Morphed from a Masculine to Feminine Activity

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While people have been cheering in one form or another at sporting events  seemingly as long as there have been organized sporting events (for instance, see: The Truth About Gladiators and the Thumbs Up), what we’ve come to know as the “American phenomenon of organized cheerleading” dates back to the 19th century, with its genesis coinciding with the rise of […]

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How Did Cereal Become “Part of a Complete Breakfast”?

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Mike D. asks: Why is cereal considered a breakfast food? For kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was sugary cereal commercials that dotted the television landscape, featuring lucky leprechauns, wise-cracking droids and adorable Gremlins. A common theme among all of them was advocating these products were a “magical part of a complete breakfast“, helping to ingrain […]

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The Fascinating Origin of the Oreo Cookie

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Harry K. asks: Who invented the Oreo cookie? In 1890, a group of eight large New York City bakeries combined to form the New York Biscuit Company and built a giant six-story factory in West Chelsea. Eight years later, they merged with their competitor, Chicago’s American Biscuit and Manufacturing to form an even larger conglomerate – the National Biscuit Company, […]

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Who Really Invented Monopoly?

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In 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, a down-on-his luck Charles Darrow invented the still-extremely popular board game Monopoly, making the impoverished man a millionaire seemingly overnight- a personification of the American Dream. Never able to fully explain how he came up with the concept, Darrow once described his invention as “totally unexpected” and a “freak” of nature. […]

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Did Fidel Castro Really Almost Pitch in the Major Leagues?

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There’s a long history of rulers bragging about their athletic talents. Ancient Egyptian kings sometimes used sporting prowess to show off masculinity and inspire fear. The Roman Emperor Commodus liked to step into the gladiator ring, often asking for already wounded or weakened opponents so he could look superior. (Yes, he was the partial inspiration for the movie Gladiator. Also […]

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Parrots, Peg-legs, Plunder – Debunking Pirate Myths

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Pirates murdered, pillaged, raped, stole, and generally made the lives of others who stood in their way terrible. But despite these facts, books and, more recently, Hollywood have glamorized the “swashbuckler on the high seas.” In the process, a lot of fiction has been attached to the pirate mythos. For example, the rumor that pirates commonly made people walk the […]

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