It’s been just 24 hours since the world was graced with “Gritty”, the Philadelphia Flyers new mascot, who has captured hearts and minds with his scruffy appearance, googly eyes and bizarre demeanor.
Why has Gritty become so popular?
In recent years new mascots have been far too serious, carrying their own biography pages on team websites with contrived backstories.
And feeling like something created by a focus group to tick every box of family-friendly fun. These recent characters fail to hold a candle to past mascots, like the Philly Phanatic, who just made no sense — and that’s why he’s regarded as one of the best (and weirdest) mascots of all time.
Mascots are inherently dumb. It’s wholly bizarre that professional sporting teams use them, but it’s a part of tradition.
Fans like weird. Fans like dumb. If offsets the seriousness and tension that often accompanies sports. The name “Gritty” itself is an inside joke used as a descriptor by fans for any player who isn’t the most athletically talented, but still inspires overwrought metaphors.
The Flyers are steering into the swerve in an effort to make Gritty as weird as humanly possible and telling people “This mascot is dumb, all mascots are dumb — let’s have fun anyway.”
His mascot backstory paints him as a subterranean entity that emerged from the bowels of the Wells Fargo Center (the Flyers’ arena) during construction like the Phantom of the Opera, where he feasts on hot dogs.
Gritty is the mascot 2018 needs.
Along with this awareness comes a series of traits that feel perfectly at home in 2018. Gritty is self deprecating, goofy, and his very existence is a walking meme.
When he made his debut during a Flyers’ preseason game Monday night he slipped on the ice, which further cemented his legend as a lovable loser.
Gritty’s first night as a mascot came to a close not with a whimper, but a bang — memeing himself in a mockery of the Kim Kardashian photo shoot for “Paper” in 2014.