Mascots and pro sports are a way to rile up the fans in a good way, a caricature personality that associates with a sports team. Some of those mascots are fitting-yet-playful parody characters who embody the franchise, like Roary the Lion with the Detroit Lions of the NFL, Osceola (and his steed, Renegade) with the Florida State University Seminoles. Others are a more playful association, like Mr. Met for the New York Mets or ThunderBug with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
And then there’s what the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled today:
Now, I’m not a Philadelphia sports fan and never have been, I still take the Flyers franchise as a rival to the Tampa Bay Lightning (the Flyes were the Bolts first ever playoff opponent). I’ve never taken much to the 76’ers, or the Eagles, though the Phillies have earned a token appreciation simply by way of where they play spring training. All that said, nothing I’m about to say is intended to slight or put down Philly as a city or a sports town.
That said, what the ever loving hell?? Ugh!
Someone defending the mascot can attack with what I say here: I don’t know the Flyers history and what the team is supposed to represent. I mean, you look at the name “Flyers” and knowing the sport o hockey (as well as the Flyers logo), how I interpret the team name is through speed, or quickness; a skill that is very much empowering in the game of ice hockey.
I also don’t know the Flyers mascot history and what other characters have represented the team (if anyone). What I do know is the club didn’t use a character that seems to be fittingly associated with what the franchise name stands for or the sport it represents.
What seems to be on display here is an homage to Jim Henson and the Muppets. In that sense, the character will be fine and dandy with young children…If they are separated from the team and the sport and not active fans. If they are active fans, all bets are off unless those assigned to embody the mascot-costume for the Flyers win people over through their actions. Sound marketing and advertising by the club that utilizes Gritty in a creative and character-boosting way wouldn’t hurt either.
Paint me as a skeptic, though. Not all mascots are memorable characters, so Gritty has that going for itself outright. The problem is that Gritty also has itself going against itself and the franchise in national reaction to the character unveiling.