On Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, the world was introduced to the newest sports mascot courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers. His name is Gritty, and for some reason he looks like this.

My initial reaction was “what in the world is this monstrosity?” but as the day wore on, this orange fur ball began to grow on me, especially after polling my boys, who reacted as such when I showed them the pic above:

  • 3-year-old: “That funny.”
  • 6-year-old: “Really? Is this for real?”
  • 8-year-old:  “What the heck?”

All of them had a smile on their face, though, and Gritty was clearly a hit once I explained the connection to hockey, a sport the two older boys are playing and increasingly becoming interested in with respect to NHL teams and players.

And that’s the point, really – mascots are meant to be fun and generate some smiles in the midst of a game we all too often take so seriously. For one day on Twitter dot com (and through this morning, even), the overwhelming reaction has been joy and laughter and acceptance, momentarily silencing all the numerous and various ways this world can be so dark and disheartening.

Yes, those things are still there and deserve our attention, even in the context of hockey itself; we need to keep fighting and speaking out. But having said that, the world needs more Gritty, more levity, more sports mascots shooting fans point blank in the back with t-shirt guns.

I mean, come on …

Consider me fully #TeamGritty. And yes, he has been added to my positive storylines for this season post because of course.

Caveat: Gritty did quote tweet a Barstool on the same day this piece came out; and hopefully that’s not a trend that continues. Don’t milkshake duck us, Gritty.

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