Birdring Overwatch, player for the London Spitfire, has recently made a post regarding his absence from professional play in the past week.
Birdring Overwatch: London Spitfire Player Posts Statement Regarding Absence
Shortly after the Spitfire endured a tremendous 0-4 loss against the San Francisco Shock, being officially eliminated from the tournament, Ji-hyeok “Birdring” Kim made a post on his Instagram account. Users on Reddit translated his post which said, “Thank you all for supporting me. And I’m sorry. I’m not motivated for the second half of the season. I’m still confused about my future plans. I’ll write again when it’s settled. I’m sorry.”
The post seems to indicate that Birdring has been experiencing burnout since the second half of the season. It is possible that he has not been enjoying his time as a professional player due to meta shifts forcing him to play heroes that are not within his comfort zone, or by being forced to play heroes that he does not enjoy playing. Birdring may also have succumbed to criticism directed towards both his individual play and his team, as the Spitfire’s player has deleted his Twitter account.
The tone of the message also seems a bit low-spirited, as Birdring stated that he is still thinking about his future plans. This potentially means that Birdring may leave the London Spitfire, or even retire from professional Overwatch in its entirety.
Burnout has been one of leading causes of player retirement in the Overwatch League. Professional players are expected to perform at a high level consistently, as well as play for demanding hours every day of the week, even on holidays, just so that they can live their dream and keep their job. In theory, the idea sounds doable, but it seems that in practice, the job takes a toll on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of professional players. Although it is uncertain if Birdring will retire from professional Overwatch, it is clear that he is trying to take steps towards doing what is best for him.
Photo courtesy of Blizzard