On Monday, September 24, the Philadelphia Flyers’ new mascot, “Gritty,” was announced. There have been differing opinions on him, some fans loving him and some hating him. A few fans said, “It looks like a cross of Snuffaluffagus and Oscar the Grouch,” and “I find him scary. I’m you know, horrified by this.” Even some veteran Flyers players didn’t like him. Wayne Simmonds said “[That’s] not my mascot, [I’ve] never seen that thing before in my life.” However, there are fans and players who love him. Radko Gudas said “Our new mascot? It’s unbelievable, I love it.” After learning a little background information on Gritty, there is nothing you can’t love about him.
To begin, just look at him. He has a wide smile, googly eyes, and is seven-feet tall. Not only that, but his hands and belly button squeak when you touch and squeeze them which allows for many high-fives with fans. COO Shawn Tilger said that, “We actually worked with an agency and spent almost two years developing the mascot. But the word gritty really resounded with everyone.” Gritty got his name from an inside joke by fans used to describe any player who isn’t the most athletically talented. His looks definitely took some time to develop and it seems as though he was made to help impact the Flyers younger community.
One of Gritty’s first appearances was at the Please Touch Me museum in Philly where over 600 kids gathered to see him. They were all very excited to see, meet, and touch the new Flyers mascot. If children love him, there is no reason that adults shouldn’t feel the same way. He has some goofy characteristics, just like the rest of us. It is told that he loves to eat hotdogs and ice from the zamboni, which is noticeable in the round belly of his. He not only dances, but he also can ice skate as well, with only a few major falls. Instead of being too serious, like other mascots in history, Gritty likes to be silly and have fun. He gets involved with fans in the arena and even does the macarena. While on the ice, he shoots t-shirts out to the fans in the stands, and for anyone who has ever been to a sports game, that is one of the best parts! He brings fun and excitement to Flyers games and engages the fans even more.
There also is a legend about Gritty, which makes him even more intriguing as a mascot. The Flyers said: “His father was a ‘bully,’ so naturally he has some of those tendencies – talented but feisty, a fierce competitor, known for his agility given his size. He’s loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team.
Legend has it he earned the name ‘Gritty’ for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows. He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time. He has some oddities that are both humorous and strange. A number of times he’s been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years. That being said, there’s no denying that he’s one of our own.” This backstory about the new mascot allows for a personal connection to him and creates a fun atmosphere for fans. I may not be a Flyers fan, but they have me onboard for their new mascot. #TeamGritty
Sources: CBS3, The Philly Inquirer, The Washington Post, SBNation, NBCSports