The missing mascot — Nettie of the Philadelphia Freedoms of World TeamTennis — has been recovered, the team reported Friday night.
UPS notified the team that the mascot has been located. A team representative traveled to UPS and recovered Nettie, the team said. She was to have a physical examination later Friday to make sure there was no damage, and she will be on the floor with the Freedoms for a practice session at the Daskalakis Athletic Center on the campus of Drexel University on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Two days before their championship match, the Philadelphia Freedoms are missing an important team member — their bespectacled, tennis-ball-headed mascot, Nettie.
The team brought Nettie to a match in Chicago last week and opted to ship her back to Philly afterward. But Nettie, a tribute to tennis great Billie Jean King, hasn't been seen since.
According to Barbara Perry, the team's general manager, the Freedoms were initially told weather delays were to blame for the missing mascot. But UPS has since told the team that Nettie may be lost, possibly somewhere in Philadelphia.
While UPS could not provide specific details on the Freedoms' dilemma without tracking numbers, spokesperson Kim Krebs said shipping labels typically help to locate lost packages. The "smart labels" are scanned and data is collected at each location the package passes through. This data, such as a box's last concrete location, can then be used to track down rogue parcels.
Sunday's championship match against the Springfield Lasers will be the fourth in the Freedoms' history. They previously won in 2001 and 2006. The team plays in the World TeamTennis league, which was cofounded in the 1970s by Billie Jean King. On its website, WTT says it is the "only professional sports league where men and women have equal roles."
As the team looks to bring home the 2018 King Trophy, Perry explained that Nettie plays a crucial role in the players' game-day routine, greeting them as they step on the court for each match. The players, Perry said, value the traditional mascot reception as they prepare to play.
While the Freedoms still hope they won't have to play "tennis without a Nettie," spokesperson Ike Richman said, the team has been reaching out to other Philly mascots and asking them to step in if she's still missing on Sunday.
Richman said the team would be "honored" to cooperate with other local mascots as the Freedoms look to bring another championship title to the city.