The first articles I recall seeing in a paintball magazine itemized what belonged in your gearbag, how to treat snake bite and how to avoid burnout. That was at least 15 years ago. At least two of those articles could appear in any current magazine--even Rich Telford's Wide World of Paintball (Facefull for those of you outta the loop)--and not seem out of place. I bring up the ancient history to demonstrate that even in paintball there are few things that are new, including today's topic, burnout. The B* word. Burnout isn't anything new. But the way we talk about it--or don't talk about it, is.
Back in the day burnout was a common topic in magazines and conversations throughout rec and tourney paintball. The definition of burnout was a generic malaise and loss of excitement and desire to play--and could as easily effect the guy who played rec ball a couple times a month as the hardcore traveling pro or the Big Game aficionado or local 3-man superstar. I can't recall there was much effort to explain the causes, more like it was just assumed that some ballers would catch the burnout bug so most of the talk was about how to deal with it and (hopefully) come out the other side once again a happy baller. Much of the advice I remember seemed to boil down to "man up" "walk it off" and "take a little time off."
So when did things change? When did we stop talking about burnout as a commonplace occurrence and start obsessing over the causes? And has it done any good? It was a different paintball world when I started playing so I'm wondering if all the modern supposed causes of people losing interest in playing (burnout) are just the latest "answers" that may have little to do with the real causes. Are there 'real' causes or is it just the nature of the game and the players that interest wanes for some over time no matter what we do or don't do? If burnout is something that will always be with us maybe we need to reconsider some or all the "fixes" we bandy about for saving the game.