From a dumpster fire within the walls of the Wells Fargo Center, to South Philly’s favorite son overnight. The story of Gritty truly depicts Philadelphia. Come to think of it, the birth of Gritty on Broad Street couldn’t have come at a better time. If the NHL truly told the Philadelphia Flyers organization to come up with a mascot, then I think this is truly the best possible outcome.
Gritty was born on September 24th, 2018, just prior to the NHL 2018-2019 season. For the first few hours, hockey fans around the world were poking fun of Gritty. From national media outlets, to your local regulars at the bar down the road from you; everyone was having their laugh at the expense of Gritty, even within Philadelphia. But overnight, the unthinkable happened. Gritty became gritty by sending a direct shot at the Philadelphia Flyers cross state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter, “Sleep with one eye open tonight, bird.” There it was, Philly faithful opened their arms and accepted Gritty as one of their own.
No one likes us, no one likes us,
no on likes us, we don’t care!
We’re from Philly, fucking Philly!
No one likes us, we don’t care!
So within 24 hours of Gritty’s birth, he went from the laughingstock of the internet to everyone’s favorite mascot. Of course, Gritty didn’t reach this height so quickly without ruffling some feathers and furs. Mascots in the NHL are already showing their distaste for Philadelphia’s newest mascot on the scene. In particular, LA King’s mascot Bailey the lion who was the NHL’s previous most famous mascot, doesn’t seem to take kindly to the orange fur ball from South Philly. You could say Bailey is a bit salty towards Gritty’s overnight sensation. But one thing is for sure, Gritty is Philly.
The man sunk a halfcourt basketball shot, and Tweeted a Dave Chappelle Show reference, ” Game, blouses.” He’s also the same mascot to do the ‘Bird Box Challenge’ based off the Netflix hit movie Bird Box, but what made this so special and so Philadelphian? While blindfolded, he kicked a football in a random direction to replicate Cody Parkey’s blown potential game winning field goal for the Chicago Bears against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC wildcard round just a day prior.
WARNING: Do not attempt the Parkey challenge in Chicago!— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) January 8, 2019
Go Birds(Box)! pic.twitter.com/fS3slayUyJ
With Gritty being the new man in town, Philadelphians will take a bullet for Gritty. I think the fans made it pretty clear, Gritty is our guy. Women absolutely love him, men wanna buy him a beer, and the kids look up to the lovable oaf. To be fair, some children are petrified of Gritty still, but they haven’t met’m yet! And the Gritty train is still rolling strong, and that train may never derail and I’m quite alright with that. Gritty has been featured on national televised late night talk shows, commercial, big events, and wherever the spotlight takes him. Philadelphia finally has a mascot it can relate to, and be happy to hold onto. This isn’t to say Franklin the 76ers mascot dog isn’t awesome, because he really is bad to the bone. Nor does it mean the Union’s snake mascot Fang isn’t super slick himself. Certainly it does not mean the lovable goof meLVin of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms isn’t pawfect(he’s a dog, right?). We know Swoops will continue to fly to the Eagles fight chant, and of course the Phanatic will continue his tropical tricks on the opposing teams. But at the end of the end of the day, Gritty embodies Philadelphia like no other mascot can.