Nearly every great tradition starts the same way: Someone doing something incredibly stupid.
Waddell, who referred to himself as a "dumb redneck with a bad idea" during an interview Tuesday with Nashville's 104.5 The Zone, explained just how he hatched and executed his plan to toss a giant catfish onto the ice of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh between the Predators and Penguins.
Waddell said he thought to himself, "'Man, wouldn't be it be awesome to go that game?' And then, like an ignorant redneck, I thought, 'Wouldn't it be awesome to throw a catfish on the ice at this game?'"
Calling himself an ignorant redneck, however, doesn't really do Waddell justice. It isn't easy to smuggle anything into an arena, let alone an entire fish into a visiting team's rink. Furthermore, the man put stipulations on the fish. It had to be a Nashville catfish, because it's "more original to throw one of our catfish."
So, instead of buying a catfish in Pittburgh, Waddell bought one in Tennessee, sprayed the rotting fish carcass down with Old Spice cologne and tossed it in a cooler while making the road trip across the country. He also made the genius move of filleting the fish on game night, cutting out half the spine and then running it over with his truck. Much easier for concealment, apparently.
Still, a problem.
"The head was too damn big," Waddell told the "Midday 180" show on 104.5 The Zone. "No matter how much I ran it over with my truck, the head was too big."
Perhaps the best part of the entire saga, however, is that Waddell got support from local radio for his idea. Waddell told the Midday 180 hosts about his plan to test the waters, and he threw it into the idea void that is Twitter. Waddell added that his wife was "tentatively OK with it," which is more commonly known by spouses as, "You'd better not do this."
As for where he stashed the catfish to get it in, Waddell's "situation" included wearing a pair of underwear, followed by the catfish, followed by a pair of compression shorts in what must have been the most uncomfortable ensemble of all time. It worked, of course. And Waddell knew that it worked, because he talked to his in-laws for 20 minutes with it in his pants without them suspecting a thing.
Waddell also staked out PPG Paints Arena, trying to find the perfect spot to toss the fish. In the aisle between 121 and 122, history was made.
The aftermath was, predictably, unpleasant. The crowd was angry with Waddell, calling him a hillbilly and a redneck ("Stuff I should be called," according to Waddell himself), and security accosted him shortly after. Waddell, however, didn't flinch, saying that, "I know nothing is gonna happen here."
Waddell was charged the next day with three misdemeanors, hilariously including "possessing an instrument of crime." He has said that if he has to fight the charges, he will. Midday 180 has offered to cover any fines that Waddell incurs, and despite the initial backlash, he's a local hero in Nashville.
Update: Waddell's charges have been dropped by the Pittsburgh DA. But we'll always have the fact that a dead catfish was called an instrument of crime in a serious context.