Karch Kiraly, the Olympics, and the copy editor

From 1975, our class predictions: “10 years from now ….” Karch was known as the best in the world nine years after this was published, at the 1984 Olympics.

School mementos don’t lie.

I was a lousy copy editor. It’s all there in black and green.

Lousy, but still writing.

Watching the Olympics inspired me to take out an old yearbook and find the prediction the class made about Karch Kiraly, who is now considered the greatest volleyball player in the world. Karch is the assistant coach for the U.S. women’s Olympic volleyball team. He’s best remembered for how he led our men’s volleyball teams to gold.

In the keepsakes I kept with the yearbook, I found a special edition of our school newspaper:

We were the Lancers and this was our Scroll. Within its pages I found more evidence of my writing past.

I hadn’t remembered that one. How did I get that position? At that point in my school life, I enjoyed school work that included writing, but I didn’t consider myself a writer (see my childhood writing memories post). Did I volunteer or was I assigned?

It’s stirring to come upon clues of an early and extracurricular interest in the written word.

Look at the glaring spelling error at the top of the image. Ouch. And as I read through the scroll, I found many more mistakes. (Can I blame it on Maria the typist? ) We even misspelled Karch’s name and I didn’t catch it. Yet there I was working on a newspaper. God bless those dedicated teachers. They do their best to fuel the flicker inside of their students.

I was also on the yearbook staff that year. There are three pages in the book with my scribbled sentence: “I did this page!” Page layout, design, and copywriting at the ripe age of 14. Years later those skills would keep me stocked with clients in my home business.

You may have known from an early age that writing was your future, just as Karch Kiraly knew then that his life would be volleyball. And I keep finding signs like bread crumbs, leading to what I’m doing today.

Soon after Karch joined our class, we were marveling at his athletic skill. He was also an excellent student and three years later, when we graduated from Santa Barbara High School, Karch was on his way to UCLA with a volleyball scholarship. Then to the Olympics, professional tournaments, and now a coach for Team USA and hoping to give the women their first gold.

Me? Well, my copy editing skills have improved.

And there you have it: A young athlete on his way and a bad copy editor oblivious to her future.

Karch finally had to hang up his playing shoes. And I finally picked up my writing tools.

It’s about Time.

Thanks for letting me indulge in my trip down memory lane. What are your best memories of writing when you were in junior high (middle) school?


8 thoughts on “Karch Kiraly, the Olympics, and the copy editor

  1. What a fun archeological dig into your writing origins – or is it social anthropology? Anyway… If only we could send ourselves messages in time. I’d say to myself before starting college, “major in English, not History!” I’ve been trying to find my first “book,” written sometime in grade school, in pencil on green paper with [terrible] illustrations and bound together with pipe cleaners. To no avail…


    1. Pipe cleaners? Oh, I hope you find your book. I got my B.A. in communication studies, but I still wasn’t thinking about writing. I wanted to be a TV journalist, where television was the draw. I bet your degree in history sharpened your ability to do research, something you’re needing for your novel. Yes?


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