Greeting Gritty: The New Mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers
by Caroline Blackman ‘20, Sports Reporter 11-23-18
Right before the start of their 2018-19 season, the Philadelphia Flyers announced an exciting new addition to their organization: a tough, energy-filled individual with an intimidating height of 7 feet... their new mascot, Gritty!
Within minutes of Gritty’s reveal, the big, googly-eyed, fluffy, orange character gained a lot of attention inside and beyond the sports world. Initially, Gritty was not received particularly well; many took to social media to share their harsh views on the new mascot. #Gritty became a trending topic on Twitter, though probably not in the way the Flyers’ marketing team had hoped when they created the creature. Nightmare fuel, muppet gone wrong, and an embarrassment to the fans of the Flyers are just a few examples of the nature of the criticisms Gritty received.
Though Gritty faced the unforgiving words of the public in his early moments of existence, what seemed to be a total flop of a marketing move quickly turned itself around. After his first few days on the job, the Philadelphia community couldn’t help but start to fall in love with the funny-looking monster... or creature...whatever you want to call him! He proved to be an entertaining spectacle at the games: flying in from the rafters, dancing crazily on the big screen, kissing fans for the kiss cam, and intimidating anybody cheering for the opposing teams. I recently went to a game and everywhere I looked, fans were wearing Gritty shirts or hats that featured the mascot’s signature orange hairdo. Perhaps what truly earned the adoration of Philly fans was the mascot’s response to a mocking tweet from the Pittsburgh Penguins, arguably the Flyers’ biggest rivals. The Penguin’s twitter, @penguins retweeted a photo of Gritty adding a condescending caption of “lol ok,” to which @GrittyNHL responded “Sleep with one eye open tonight, bird.” If there’s one thing Flyers’ fans can bond with others over, it’s their (good-spirited) hatred of the Penguins, so Gritty’s tweet certainly boosted his popularity. In a matter of weeks, he had gone from being a laughing stock to being a beloved figure in Philly. So let’s give Gritty some credit where credit is due. After all, it’s not exactly easy to sway the passionate and somewhat stubborn minds of Philadelphians.
I think it’s safe to say that the addition of Gritty was an overall success. He’s proved to be an exciting new source of energy for the organization. Still, there is one major issue that I can’t seem to look past, and it’s not those ridiculous eyes. It’s the fact that although he wears the Flyers jersey and helmet, Gritty doesn't play! What the Flyers really need is an exciting new source on energy on the ice. Time and time again, the team finds itself lacking consistency and frankly lacking success during the regular season. Of the past six seasons, they have missed the playoffs three times. If the Flyers want to stop finding themselves at their oh-so-familiar place in the middle of the league, they’re going to need to think bigger... or smaller... than Gritty.
The Flyers According to Caroline: How To Improve The Flyers
I’m the first to defend veteran players like Giroux, Simmons and Voracek, but maybe that’s the problem- they're veterans. I can’t help but think that a new addition to the team is what it’s going to take to get us out of our bad habits and bring a new fire to the team. We need new players!
Max’s Flying Eagles Update, Week 10: Eagles vs. Cowboys (Loss: 27 - 21)
by Max Marinelli ‘22, Sports Reporter
The game started off as possibly the worst half of football in years. There were practically no yards of offense for the Eagles through the first half and only three points combined for both teams through the first quarter. In fact, heading into the last minute of the first half, no team had scored a touchdown until a fateful third and 15 for the Cowboys inside their own half. The Eagles had already called two timeouts to stop the clock after completely shutting down the Cowboys’ first two plays. On a third and 15, the Eagles folded and allowed a first, starting the Cowboys march down the field for a touchdown made possible courtesy of the Eagles’ poor defending.
Going into the second half, the game had been a defensive struggle at 13-3. The second half ended up more of the opposite with offenses trading touchdowns. The Eagles went on to tie it at 20-20 with little time left in the fourth quarter. They then proceeded to collapse and let the Cowboys score another touchdown, giving themselves 56 seconds and no timeouts to score a touchdown. Wentz threw a 40-yard pass to Ertz, getting the Eagles all the way to the seven yard line. Yet, the time expired, and the Cowboys left the game victorious, giving the Eagles a four-five record through the first nine games.
A playoff picture is fading away from the Eagles as they played an embarrassing game the next week, losing 48-7 to the nine-one Saints. The Eagles’ record stands at four-six. To even make the playoffs, they would most likely need to win all of the remaining divisional games or split with the Redskins and win against the Texans. At this rate, a crushing loss to the Rams is almost imminent. However, it is Wentz’s redemption game in week 15, so he may be able to pull out a crucial season-swinging win. In the meantime, the Eagles need to focus on fixing problems on both sides of the ball. The secondary is currently paper thin, so those who are still left need to be playing their hearts out. As for offense, I don’t understand the problem because the team isn’t riddled with injuries. Therefore, they need to get their heads back in the game and recover some of last year’s drive.
For the rest of the year, we will be in a very similar position to the one we were in at the end of last year: going as underdogs into nearly every game. As Jason Kelce said, “Hungry dogs run faster, and that’s this team.” I think all of Philly is hoping for a strong playoff push to end the season as we go into the final stretch of six games.