Of Ice and I.C.E.: A Strange Tale of Values, Sanctuaries, and Catfish

Nashville showed up and showed out for the Predators as the 16th seed blazing an icy trail to the western conference and sliding to the Big Dance against the 2016 champs Pittsburgh Penguins. There is a multitude of stories from this amazing journey to the Stanley Cup, but none more inspiring than the Stanley Cup-produced local hometown hero – #CatfishGuy.

Screenshot 2017-06-22 at 9.39.53 AM

Jake Waddell courageously entered hostile territory (Pittsburgh) armed with nothing but a catfish and the love of his team. Following Nashville’s time-honored tradition, dude tossed a dreadfully decomposing mud cat onto the ice during game 1 of the NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL.  He definitely took one for the team and Waddell will always have a home in the hearts of Nashvillians. I, too, love #CatfishGuy!

I’m about to draw a wild parallel – stay with me.

Nashville’s Metro Council recently passed a bill to protect immigrants by going against federal law in a big way (think losing federal dollars). Apparently, the legislation was crafted in response to an incident involving Immigration and Customs Engagement (ICE) targeting members of the Kurdish community while posing as local law enforcement. And it pissed off our mayor.

My councilman and lawyer-by-day Larry Hagar abstained from this vote (due to legal uncertainty). My feelings about this vote are neither here nor there, but the noise in my community around his action needs attention.

Crazy talk as posted on a neighborhood Facebook group’s page:

‘Abstaining’ is the same as voting ‘yes.’ So you don’t seem to care if Old Hickory is over run by Illegals? Doesn’t Old Hickory suffer from enough crime Sir?


First, I know not all Old Hickory residents feel this way. Second, baby girl has a right to call out her elected official for a (non) vote that challenges against her belief system. BUT — she can take that hate-laden rhetoric and stick it. Unfortunately, others joined the discussion in support of that mess, so they, too, can go to hell.

Because that kind of anti-immigration talk is reminiscent of my being called a nigger after moving to this area sixteen years ago. Additionally, maligning immigrants by associating them with crime reminds me of the women who protect their purses as soon as they lay eyes on me. But what hits me hardest is that 25,000 English Learners in our schools, some with families who are not here legally, stand to suffer the greatest. While our schools are tiny sanctuaries, the world around them is cruel.

So I think about misplaced priorities, the varying values attached to lives and laws, and the selective adherence to laws depending on the life.

#CatfishGuy devised a masterful plan to smuggle a catfish into a high-security international sporting event, even halting the nationally televised game to allow for clean up and the guy will never want for anything as long as he’s in this town. In the city of Nashville, and possibly in the state, Catfish Guy will always have a place to call home. A sanctuary even.

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