For the first time since 1976, the Philadelphia Flyers have a mascot. His name is Gritty.
I first saw Gritty this morning at around 10 a.m., and I have been able to think of little else all day. I feel like I have a new crush—I’ve stalked his social media, I’ve sent pictures of him to all my friends, I’ve wondered what he’d look like without that strange beard. It’s been hard to get anything done because I’ve been so preoccupied with this large...man (is he a man?)...but the beauty of working at a sports media outlet is that I can turn my procrastination into actual work.
So here, are a few thoughts:
1. What is Gritty? He looks a lot like a Muppet who fell into a vat of radioactive materials and clawed his way out.
2. Numerous people on social media pointed out his resemblance to Animal, the Muppet who played the drums in the Muppet band, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
3. But I think Gritty looks more like Dr. Teeth himself, the smooth, jazz-playin’ lothario who is strangely sexy for a puppet.
4. I think it’s the googly eyes that make Gritty a little alarming.
5. There’s so much white space around the pupils, you know? A lot of mascots benefit from eyelids, because that way they look a little more lackadaisical and less like they’re staring straight through your soul into the depths of hell.
6. I like Gritty.
7. I realize that items 1-5 on this list may have made it seem like I don’t, but I think there’s something really special about deploying a giant man with terrifying eyes and a ginger beard onto the ice and saying, “Hey kids, this is your friend.”
8. Okay, No. 7 seemed a little negative too, but despite his crazed look…
...Gritty is somehow endearing.
9. Maybe it’s how his tummy rolls; I like how loose he is in the hips.
10. What was the thought process behind coming up with Gritty?
11. No, seriously.
12. Did the Flyers' marketing team sit in meetings at big conference rooms, wearing business-casual attire, and say things like, “No, I think the socks should be fuzzier. And we need to be sure the eyes roll ALL the way back in his head. So you can really see the movement from afar, you know?”
13. Did the Flyers do a focus group for Gritty?
14. And if so, did kids say no when asked if he would likely contribute to nightmares?
15. Gritty’s hands in these gloves look alarmingly human:
16. What were the suggestions that failed?
17. For example, did someone suggest, say, Hardo: A big man wearing an Ed Hardy shirt who carries around foam barbells?
18. What about Toughie, a dude in a leather jacket who rides a motorcycle onto the ice?
19. Or Fortitudey.
20. Or Tenacity.
21. Yeah, I did just look up synonyms for “grit.”
22. Is Gritty single?
23. If he has a partner, can we have the link to his or her Instagram?
24. I’m sorry, but we have to go back to the facial hair for a moment. I’ve never been more intrigued as to where a beard ends and hair begins. It’s like a lion’s mane!
25. Wait, is Gritty a lion?
26. What’s a Flyer, anyway?
27. Oh god, this is getting more existential than I intended.
28. What if Gritty is just the friends we made along the way?
29. Is Gritty OK?