What I won’t miss about being a sportswriter. R.I.P., Lorenzo Charles. And ordering a lawyer like pizza

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So yesterday in this space I wrote about all the things I will miss most about being a sportswriter. And believe me, there’s been plenty of wonderful things about my career.
But you know, it hasn’t all been peaches and ice cream, as a famous philosopher once said.
Here are some of the things I definitely won’t miss:

–Obnoxious parents. Of high school athletes. Who call or email or better yet, accost you in person and want to know why you favor Team X or Player Y instead of their perfectly wonderful child who oh by the way averaged three points per game last year. I was once told by a Mom that I’d “ruined her daughter’s life forever” when we didn’t pick her kid for player of the year. Somehow, I think the kid has survived.
— The awful feeling when your story changes right before deadline. An Auburn kicker named Wes Byrum once ruined my entire night by kicking a game-winning field goal against Florida in the final seconds. I’d already written my column and was about to file it. Then the dude hits like a 49-yarder and I’m cursing him and furiously re-writing at the same time.

— Athletes who are so not big-time acting like they are, and treating you like scum for daring to invade their space to ask a few questions.

— Getting locked inside stadiums. When you’re the last one to leave because you’re working while everyone else is driving home, it happens. At least three times, it happened to me. One time I had to call the cops. He was chuckling as he got out of the car, I swear.

— The “hurry up and wait” parts of the job. We rush down to the locker room, only to twiddle our thumbs for 20 minutes while the players spent an eternity hiding in the showers.

— The awful feeling when you wake up in bed at 3 a.m., bolt upright, and think “Dammit, did I call him Kelly instead of Keith in my story?” And knowing there’s nothing you can do about it.

Ah, the 3 a.m. sweats. I take it back; I will miss those.

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**There are some athletes who have only one truly memorable moment in their careers. But their moments happen on such a huge stage, that one moment is all they need.
I’m talking about Larry Mize in golf. Timmy Smith in football. And Mr. Lorenzo Charles, former power forward for the 1983 N.C. State basketball team.
He was on the other end of the most famous alley-oop in college basketball history, dunking in a wild shot from teammate Dereck Whittenburg in the ’83 NCAA title game and giving the Wolfpack the national title.

It was, of course, followed by the iconic image of Jim Valvano dashing onto the court and looking for someone to hug. Charles, who I always remember looking a little confused after his winning shot, died Monday in Raleigh, when the bus he was driving crashed on I-40.

From all accounts, he was a warm, generous man who will be sorely missed.
But he’ll always be remembered for one glorious moment in ’83.

**Finally today, this story left me brimming with questions. A new service called Lawyer Up Now guarantees its subscribers that if they get into a jam and need an attorney, one will be delivered to you in 15 minutes.
First of all, it takes 30 minutes for Domino’s to get a pizza to me (not that I eat their swill; I much prefer Papa John’s), but you’re telling me I can get a dude to advise me in half that time?
Secondly, what, are there lawyers for this company just manning a call center, waiting for a call and then dashing off across town? I picture them as, like, low-rent superheroes in suspenders and a tie, just waiting for that legal emergency.
My guess is the only people using this service are drunk college kids at 3 a.m. on the weekends.
Come to think of it, there’s a lot of those around. Could be a lucrative business.

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