A Letter From Charlotte

December 14, 2006

Charlotte Smith
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
My retirement may come as a surprise to some, but as I have been comptemplating this decision for some time now, I feel as though the time is right and I am 100% sure and ready.

It is one of life’s most difficult decisions, walking away from something you have known almost all your life. Not only is it difficult but it can present itself to be scary at times. I am blessed to have been part of the UNC women's basketball staff for five years, so it makes the transition a lot easier.

Many people have tried to convince me otherwise because they felt that "I still have it" and to a certain extent I can agree with them (smile), but I know that I am ready for the next phase of my life.

There are so many other factors in my decision that I could probably write a book ... but I won't. Here are a few factors that I considered.

  • 2006 was the last season my father saw me play. He was the most dedicated and biggest fan I ever had. I can't imagine not seeing him in the stands anymore. I went through the painful process of seeing my dad without my mom when she passed. Part of me wants my last memories to be seeing him there.

  • I am a point to where I could continue to push my body through several more seasons and be fine, but sometimes its best to use wisdom and be able to walk when your 40.

  • Never let what you do define who you are! I think we all go through stages where so much emphasis and importance is put on what we do and what we accomplish, until we begin to lose ourselves and to some extent not even love and appreciate ourselves the way we should. I think for some time I kept trying to play to prove and validate myself through sports. I had to ask myself some hard questions. "Why am I still playing?" - that was one of those questions. I had to take a long hard look at my career and what I've done and appreciate it for what it is. I gave my best and that is all I can ask of myself.

  • Making the mark. At the end of the day, what I realized it that I accomplished the one thing that we all should strive for and that is to make a difference. I think we get too caught up in what is in this business for us personally, when our ultimate goal should be to glorify God through the sport and touch people's lives because we have been given the greatest platform to do just that!

    So, at the end of the day, I hope that I have made a difference in the lives of my teammates, the communities in which I have played, and everyone involved in each of the franchises of which I have been a part. At the end of the day, "Only what you do for Christ will last!"

    -Charlotte Smith