You probably hadn't heard much about Rebecca Marino, at least not until she decided she wasn't going to be that Rebecca Marino anymore. The 22-year-old Canadian tennis pro has announced she's leaving the game again, having already taken a seven-month hiatus and mounting the briefest of comebacks, citing in part the twin devils on her shoulders: depression and idiots on the Internet. Before she held her mid-February conference call to talk about her second departure and her mental illness, she deleted her Twitter and Facebook accounts because she knew what was coming and that it would do her no good. "Social media has taken its toll on me," she said.
In some ways, Marino's story is a small one: Lots of young people decide they've taken the wrong path in life and try to correct it. They go back to school or change their majors or quit their internships. But what makes Marino's story larger is its counterintuitiveness, the seemingly envious job and existence she is choosing not to lead. She was a good player, once ranked as high as 38th in the world, with an overpowering serve and forehand. (After she faced Venus Williams during the second round of the 2010 U.S. Open, Williams said: "Now I know what it's like to play myself.") When someone is blessed and gifted enough even to approach that kind of spotlight, we assume she is going to try to reach the center of it. That's the natural order of things. Nobody chooses to stay in the dark.
[Photo Credit: Aaron Favila/Associated Press]