Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Eat shit, Gritty: German soccer club now has a sports-playing baby polar bear

Photo: John MacDougall (Getty Images)

After Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ very own shaggy, bug-eyed freak, rose to viral fame last year, it seemed we’d reached the apex of what sports mascots could achieve. It turns out, however, that such thoughts were premature because, as you’re about to see, no costumed goof can match the sheer awe inspired by the little polar bear cub that proudly supports Berlin soccer club, Hertha.

Hertha only just received her name, likely having spent the previous four months of her life being called whatever cutesy baby sounds Germans use when overwhelmed by the majesty of a creature like a tiny bear. Her namesake isn’t just Hertha BSC, but also Herthinho, a person in a cartoon bear costume that serves as the club’s official mascot and now looks like boring garbage next to the real thing.


In celebration of the occasion, Hertha has been videotaped playing with a branded toy. Marvel below at her exceptional, swat-focused ball-handling skills, which make a strong case for her usurping (ursus-ing?) shitty old Herthinho’s position as club mascot.


More important than any other aspect of this story, of course, are a bunch of photographs that show the young bear splashing around its home in Berlin’s Tierpark zoo, breaking hearts the world over simply by existing in front of a camera.


How any other soccer club—let alone any sports team at all—is meant to follow up the most powerful celebrity endorsement this side of Bill Murray’s undying love for the Chicago Cubs is anyone’s guess. Presumably, Berlin’s other clubs will have to start carrying kittens in their pockets while they play or, shit, just give up and retire because Hertha, not they, is now associated with this incredible lil’ rascal.

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.