Nifty grudges with Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca

Pardon the Eruption

Headline from the London Daily Mail: The moment two gray-haired football greats aged 73 brawled with canes and fists… over a grudge dating back to 1963

By Terrance Gavan

It began with a flower.

It ended with a Springer-esque You Tube moment that put our largely ignored and otherwise low-key Canadian Football League (CFL) on the world map for the first time since… well, ever.

Here’s the thing about détente. It’s tricky. It’s nuanced.

A legendary broke nose, butt-end-mean, and outspoken quarterback may desire, on the basis of sheer audacity and world peace, to end a bloodless 50-year-old grudge with a token.

Indeed, in a world filled with bitterly entrenched feudal warfare, it is almost awe inspiring to watch one man approach another with a memento of salubrious surrender.

Especially if it’s done on a stage, in front of an audience of peers, and several hundred professional cameramen.

But perhaps – and we’re talking with the benefit of hindsight here knuckleheads – the quarterback ought first to consider, with due diligence and care, just what kind of token to bring to the armistice.

For instance, when we are dealing with a really old, mean, ugly and cantankerous former Tiger Cat defensive lineman, it may be wise to construe, very carefully, exactly how to approach such a rapprochement.

For instance. If you are attempting to appease a former wife, girlfriend or lover, perhaps the donation of a single red rose, held tenderly and proffered without fear, remorse or rancor, might suffice to transmit the appropriate sentiment: “I’m sorry, let’s call it a day, and move on.”

I think we learned last week, that in the case of deeply held football feuds, which go way deeper than Hatfield and McCoy, or Gotti and Castellano, tender petals doth convey the wrong sentiment altogether.

And so, when former BC Lion (and Minnesota Viking) quarterback Joe Kapp, 73, strode over to former Ticat defensive end Angelo Mosca, also 73, last Friday at a CFL banquet, with a white flower in his hand, and attempted to hand it to his old enemy, as a token of appeasement?

All hell broke loose.

First Mosca told Kapp: “Stick it up your ass.”

Kapp approached again and stuck the flower in the vicinity of Mosca’s face.

Angie Mosca, a successful restaurateur inHamilton, then lashed out with his cane. Yes, his cane. He bopped Kapp in the head, white petals flew, and Joe Kapp, the aforementioned cantankerous old sum-bit’ reeled back and popped Mosca with two very serious septuagenarian right hooks, which connected with devastating finality and floored the former lineman. Score it as a one-two punch combination TKO.

I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s got about 14 trillion hits on You Tube and it made the sports highlight reels in countries all over the world. It fronted the sports pages of London’s Daily Mail. It went huge inJapan.

It put Canada on the map. It gave us our very own Andy Warhol moment.

Those Friday festivities are now fully entrenched in Grey Cup lore. The fight between twin septuagenarians overshadowed the fact that BC beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup on Sunday.

What were Joe and Angelo fighting about? Now that’s a good question, made scarier by the fact that I was nine at the time and still remember the circumstances.

Back in November, 1963 Angelo Mosca came in late and low with a devastating hit on a defenseless Willie ‘The Wisp’ Fleming, the league’s best running back. Fleming left the game with an upper body injury and the Ticats went on to win the Grey Cup. Kapp and Fleming and the province of British Columbia were outraged.

Fast forward 48 years.

After the fisticuffs, that You Tube tape rolled on. Near the end of the 8 minute roll is an interesting exchange.

Joe Kapp told the audience that he talked to Willie The Wisp who is alive and well and living inLas Vegas.

“Angelo,” said Kapp. “Willie told me to tell you that he named his dog Angelo. And he kicks the s*** out of it every day.”

That tidbit included, just in case you got the wrong idea and think the feud is over.

Kapp went over to shake hands with Mosca at the end of the speeches and Mosca declined.

And if you’re chuckling just a little too hard at this.

Try to remember how many grudges you’re currently holding in that overflowing noggin of yours.

Now, try to remember that this ain’t really that funny.

In fact, it’s downright sad.

But it sure does help to explain oddities like theMiddle East,Northern Ireland and Afghanistan… don’t it?

This Christmas peeps? Do yourself a big favor.

Let. It. Go.

But say it with chocolate… not flowers.

gav@haliburtonhighlander.ca and twitter.com/terrancegavan.