Lion About Town
Gary the Knifey Lion: FC Cincinnati’s Mystery Man
By S. H. Roberts, Lifestyle Beat
Cincinnati, OH, December 6, 2018 – Recently spotted canoodling with Jeff B---- at a top secret branding gala for FC Cincinnati, Gary the Knifey Lion has been quite the cat-about-town of late. But, who is this mystery mascot anyway?
Is he even a mascot?
Is his name really Gary?
Lion about Town & FCC’s International Adventure
What we do know is that Gary has been seen hobnobbing with the locals at Fountain Square, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Carousel at Anderson Pavilion, Findlay Market, and Laurel Playground, and that there have been rampant rumors about his impending signing with the MLS club, but no official word yet of any kind has been forthcoming from the front office.
Asked about plans to sign the sword-wielding celebrity, a source close to the club who spoke to me only on condition of anonymity said, “A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh.”
Head Coach Alan K---- and Technical Director Luke S---- have been globetrotting to find the perfect ingredients for FCC’s Inaugural 2019 MLS season. From South America to the Netherlands, from Paris to the Pride Lands of Africa, it is clear that either FCC will have a truly international roster, or that the organization is working hard to collect enough frequent flyer miles to earn a top-of-the-line, stainless steel, natural gas grill with a built-in, digital thermometer and rotisserie rack.
So far, the officially-released FC Cincinnati MLS signings have exclusively been players previously associated with the club’s USL side. Along with Gary, some new names dropped into the FCC-signing rumor mill include Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Alfredo Morales, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s (say that three times fast) Fabian Johnson, and Mathieu “Fantasy Island” Deplagne from Ligue 1 side Troyes AC.
Hello, My Name is Gary
Speaking of dropping names, this reporter has to wonder about the apparently intentional omission of a surname, since “the Knifey Lion” is more of a descriptive designation for Gary than a last name. It all seems very Brazilian.
Jonah Colina of the Knifey Lion Radio Podcast surmised that “Gary was the name of one of Carl L----’s high school rivals. They settled their feud with a fencing match. Lindner prevailed. Honoring the man he beat with a ferocious beast would only add to Carl’s legend.”
However, according to Pride V.P. and alleged lawyer, Matt Broo, “Some say he was named as a tribute to Gary Burbank, former Cincinnati radio icon and BBQ magnate, to honor his ‘We Don’t Mess Around’ chant from the Bailey. Or maybe it’s a reference to the Gar, a German spear.”
When asked directly about the true identity of FCC’s new Front Runner for off-season signings, Kevin Wallace, Secretary of The Pride, said, “I don’t know who that is. No comment. Are you recording this?”
Trevor Snogginheimer-Smith, feature MLS reporter and wildlife correspondent for Soccer News and Gnus wrote in a recent blog, “[Signing Gary] would make sense from a purely tactical perspective, supposing that Cincinnati plans to bring the style of play we saw at the end of their USL campaign to MLS. There are other considerations like GAM and TAM, and obviously they’ve said they don’t plan on adding another DP. We’ll see, but I’m not sure the rumors about designating the Zoo as a training facility in order to apply [Gary’s] salary to the Homegrown Player Subsidy are entirely out of the question either. If that’s why they’re waiting, well then, no gnews is good gnews.”
Gary Gives Back
I recently caught up with Gary outside of a popular downtown steakhouse and asked him about the rumors of his signing. Although, he was cryptic in his response, he did tell me more about his charitable works.
“Being an animal myself, I’m really into helping animal-related charities,” he said. “Even more so if it’s for helping my human friends with special assistance. Because of that I’m really into supporting 4 Paws for Ability which helps train special companions for kids with disabilities, and Recycled Doggies which helps abandoned and forgotten pets find new families.”
If anything is certain it’s that Cincinnati has not been so enamored about a member of the animal kingdom since Fiona the Hippo splashed down almost two years ago, and that Gary is clearly settling happily in to his new home in Cincinnati. Also, that Gary has a knife and he’s not afraid to use it in defense of his beloved Queen City.