Paul McMullen is managing editor of the Catholic Review.


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Great article Paul. Really enjoyed reading it!


Dear Paul, Great , I love it. Sweet memories, Lots of Love Sharon



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Baltimore Boomer

Why watch the World Cup in a crowd?

What struck me about the June 22 ESPN telecast of U.S.-Portugal in the World Cup was not its status as the most-watched soccer match in the history of American television, but that so many chose to take in the drama on a big screen in a public space, whether it was Chicago, Los Angeles or New York.

Fans cheer at a viewing party in Hermosa Beach, Calif., June 16, during the 2014 Brazil World Cup soccer match against Ghana. (CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

In other words, it was just like 1974.

Once upon a time, before ESPN came along and used soccer and other sports to fill a programming void, fans of the real football had to fork over good money to watch the World Cup final on closed-circuit TV in a basketball arena or concert venue. In 1970, we watched Brazil and Pele trounce Italy at what is now the Baltimore Arena, on a big, grainy screen. Four years later, for the West Germany-Netherlands classic, I headed to Constitution Hall in D.C. with my brother Kevin and some of his teammates from Towson University (remember when they had a team?). The last such schlep was in 1978, when Bill Spangler, Rob Mueller and I left a perfectly good time in Ocean City to drive to D.C. to see the Dutch lose again, to host Argentina. 

I had no idea we were such trend-setters.

ABC, ESPN and live-streaming have made it so easy to watch from your home, phone or desk – the accompanying photo is of photographer Tom McCarthy’s work station, where his Apple monitor is vastly superior to the analog TV in the Catholic Review newsroom – but how many people are going to sneak out of the office for an extended lunch and seek a communal vibe June 26, when the U.S. meets Germany in its final Group G qualifier?

I would just as soon watch the Ravens from the peace and solitude of my recliner, but then Mary suggests that we watch with our Ravens Roost, which, of course, is always more fun. Whether it is U.S. soccer, an NFL game or the Sunday Mass that precedes it, the species craves community. Digital tools allow some to craft their own reality; they don’t always trump tribal instinct.

June 25, 2014 03:01
By Paul McMullen

Calvert Hall sends Karp off in style

At some point during the May 17 celebration of Bill Karpovich’s life at Calvert Hall, I turned to my wife and indicated that if Carrie Zaruba isn’t in town to sing at my funeral, that Mary should inquire as to the availability of George Wilkerson.

That gives some indication as to why the obituary section in the paper is referred to as the “Irish Sports Pages.”

Given my druthers, I prefer a funeral Mass to a funeral home, a sentiment reinforced at Calvert Hall, where the man called “Karp” was honored with a liturgy as rich and textured as the soccer coach and math department chair who never missed a single day of work or practice in 33 years at the school.

Start with Wilkerson, director of vocal music at Calvert Hall, whose tenor at the front of “On Eagle’s Wings” made me pause even more than normal on that most poignant of recessionals. I have added him to my funeral plan wishlist, after the aforementioned Carrie, a conservatory-trained rising star in Nashville who still graces the choir loft at St. Athanasius when someone from the Curtis Bay clan is being buried, or wed.

Wilkerson was accompanied on piano by Calvert Hall junior Collin Power, whose family should be very proud. The McManus Theater, where the funeral was held, was dotted with Christian Brothers, the order that founded Calvert Hall in 1845. Our eucharistic ministers were Calvert Hall principal Chuck Stembler; Lou Heidrick, his predecessor; and Joe Baker, a math teacher and fellow Calvert Hall fixture. How cool is that?

Calvert Hall was the site of a lovely funeral liturgy for Bill Karpovich, one that included the piano of junior Collin Power and the tenor of George Wilkerson, the director of vocal music at the school. (Paul McMullen | CR Staff)

Presiding was Bishop William C. Newman another son of Calvert Hall. The only non-Calvert Hall guy on the altar stage was Monsignor William F. Burke, Karp’s pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in Mayfield, the celebrant who packed more into a 4-minute homily than others do in a half hour. Father Bill reminded us that Bishop Newman was on staff at St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Highlandtown in the 1950s when one of its boys, Karp, fell in love with one of its girls, Theo.

Father Bill’s brevity left plenty of room at the end of Mass for reflections by two more Calvert Hall guys. Jerry Geraghty was in the Class of 1968, a senior when Karp landed on campus, could have been describing me when he said that the only tools Karp knew how to use were “a knife and a fork.” Billy Karpovich is the youngest of Karp and Theo’s four boys, and his observations similarly ranged from the affectionate to the educational to the hilarious.

To whit, on Karp’s roots:

“Dad was the youngest of 8 kids. His father was an immigrant from Russia who narrowly escaped the Revolution. He arrived at Ellis Island in 1915 and settled in East Baltimore where he worked as laborer. Dad learned pinochle at age 8 and competed through his teenage years in the family card game on Sunday afternoons.”

On Karp’s math acumen:

“Dad went to grade school at Holy Rosary and then Patterson High School. At 16 Dad was ready to drop out of school. The pressure from home was to do the respectable thing and get a job or join the Army. His guidance counselor at Patterson,, Mrs. Tillery, saw more in him than he had seen in himself. …Two years later Mrs. Tillery persuaded Dad to apply to college. He was awarded a Senatorial Scholarship to attend Johns Hopkins, where he completed a degree in Industrial Engineering and paid for his boarding as the cleaning lady for his fraternity.”

On Karp’s 422 wins and 19 MIAA or MSA titles:

“In approximately the same number of years the iconic Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) of Duke basketball (Billy played his soccer there) has a lower winning percentage and 15 fewer titles.”

On Karp being paid $500 a season, and his work ethic:

“Throughout Dad’s prime, he worked Saturdays unloading boxes of produce in a part-time job to help make ends meet. While he was a truly gifted calculus teacher, his greatest mathematical achievement was providing me and my brothers with all that we had on such a modest income.

On his core beliefs as an educator:

“Everything Dad did was to help us not only recognize our potential but to also have the tools to realize it. He knew that you cannot succeed in anything without rigor. He made us pull up our socks, tuck in our shirts and he trimmed off our rat tails in the locker room, because he knew the first step in being great was to look and act the part. He put team ahead of individual regardless of the number of goals you scored, because he knew the whole was much greater than the sum of the parts. He made us follow the rules, because there is only one way to win and that’s with integrity. He pushed us to the edge, because he knew that all growth requires discomfort.

On priorities:

“Dad did things his own way. The important rules were always followed. He made up the rest. He never really cared what anyone else thought. It is said that to succeed you must be willing to offend. Dad understood this all too well.”

On Karp’s forgetfulness:

“If my Dad ever called you “Butch” it meant he liked you but forgot your name. As a kid I was always amazed at how many kids went to Calvert Hall and Dad’s summer soccer camps with the name Butch.”

On his dedication:

“In 33 years of service at Calvert Hall, my father never missed a day of work. For context, this is almost two times longer than Cal Ripken’s remarkable streak. I asked Mom the other night once again to confirm that this was really true. She said “Yes, he never missed a day.” She paused for a moment and then added “It’s not that he never got sick, that just always seemed to happen on the weekends when there was housework to do.”

On Karp’s soulmate, Theo:

“Mom was the backbone. She was the selfless, nurturing, wise, stabilizing force that made it all work. … Dad was a great man and committed husband; he could also be difficult. There is good reason that Mom has been often referred to as a saint over the years. Now that John Paul II has greased the skids for the Poles, I am confident you will be reading about her canonization in the future.”

On Karp’s lesser-seen tender side

“Some of my most poignant memories with Dad were when I approached him in times of trouble and having him respond not as Dad the disciplinarian but as Dad the kind and supportive father. … While it wasn’t his most deft instrument, Dad had a big heart.”

May 19, 2014 03:52
By Paul McMullen

Hats off to the captain, Stan Koziol

Wish I was in South Florida this weekend. Not to soak up much-needed sun, but to pay my respects to Stan “Stas” Koziol.

Stas was just 48 when he died March 3, less than two months after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was one of the best players in the storied history of Loyola University soccer, and the most ferocious leader I have ever encountered.

I do not say that lightly, having witnessed Ray Lewis lead the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl title and then Juan Dixon guide Maryland to its only NCAA basketball championship in the span of 15 months. Neither was the kind to back down from a challenge. Teammates modeled their example, just as the Loyola Greyhounds responded to Koziol.

A tireless midfielder, Koziol still holds the school record for assists and was an All-American in 1986 and ’87, when Loyola reached the NCAA quarterfinals. In both tournaments, it upset the University of Virginia. The Cavaliers had the international players, the Greyhounds the grit, personified in Koziol, always one of the smallest men on the field.

Twenty years ago this spring, doing leg work for the first and only World Cup on American soil, I spent an afternoon in northern New Jersey, which had several starters on the U.S. team. It was Stas’ turf, and he was my tour guide. We met at Evergreen, hopped in a rental car, flew up the Turnpike and the next thing you know, I am in a social club in Kearny, having a beer with the father of John Harkes, one of those UVA guys Stas took delight in beating.

In addition to a soccer pitch and Jersey, Koziol knew his way around Argentina, Puerto Rico, and especially Poland, his parents’ homeland. He put his entrepreneurial skills to use as a telecom pioneer, first in Eastern Europe, where the business smarts he picked up at Loyola and his family’s heritage were a winning combination.

“Our parents came over from southern Poland in the late 1950s,” said Joe Koziol, who was a year behind his brother at Loyola and was their top goal-scorer in that era. “Our Mom had been confirmed by Pope John Paul II. In Passaic (N.J.), we went to Polish school on weekends. Stas played professionally in Poland for two years. He married a girl from Poland.”

Margaret Koziol, her children, Nicole and Matthew, and their Uncle Joe will have plenty of support March 8, when Stas is laid to rest at St. Rose of Lima Church in Miami Shores, Fla. From Joe Barger and Chris Webbert to Jeff Nattans and Sam Mangione and coach Bill Sento, most of the men who united with Koziol at Loyola will be there for him in Southern Florida this weekend.

They would have gone to the moon for their captain.

March 06, 2014 01:15
By Paul McMullen