Rebecca Marino — Getty ImagesThink back to those days as kids when you were standing on a basketball court or a putting green or a tennis court day-dreaming about what it would be like to one day be a professional. A kid's mind wonders to Fenway or Augusta or Wimbledon, creating a fantasy world where you are the person everyone is watching and rooting for and that shot you take or that putt you hit is somehow superimposed on that huge stage.
And then imagine you get there. Hour after sweaty hour you spend on your backhand and serve and you slowly improve to one of the best in the world. And once you get there, you keep getting slammed by people you don't even know and that forces you to eventually leave the game you worked so hard to enter.
Meet Rebecca Marino, a 22-year-old Canadian tennis player who has been ranked as high as 38th in the world in women's professional tennis. Marino has a 150-107 record in her WTA career, with no wins and one runner-up back in 2011. This week, Marino announced that she would be retiring from professional tennis because she was struggling with all the online abuse she was getting from "fans" that berated her on social media.
Marino admitted during a conference call this week announcing her retirement that she has been battling depression for over six years and all the negative energy from the social media outlets just pushed her into a darker place instead of improving her outlook on life.
“Social media has also taken its toll on me," Marino said, saying that she would receive numerous tweets that tell her to "go die" and "go burn in hell" and even scold her for costing her money if people had bet on her during certain matches.
Basically Marino admitted that tennis wasn't fun for her anymore, and there is no point to continue something, even at such a high level, if it isn't fun.
I feel for people like Marino. Anyone in any public position is going to get flak from random people on the Internet (heck, even us writers get hundreds of comments on certain stories calling us out for being "idiots") and while some people can just brush it off, there is a large group of people that see that stuff and have a hard time looking past it. Imagine if you just lost some big match and the first thing you see is people scolding you and telling you to die? That wouldn't exactly be the warming blanket you were hoping for.
Sadly, this is the world we live in. It's almost too easy to get after someone on the Internet these days without any repercussions, and while a lot of people wish there was something that could change this, there simply isn't. Marino is making a life change for the better, and whatever she decides to do I hope it makes her life easier and less stressful and maybe she will find that love for tennis again somewhere down the road.
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