If I was the boss 2
(part 2 of 2 and conclusion)
I wrote that a sportsman needs a goal to aim for and in the present pigeon sport that goal is not always there.
For too long, we stood still.
For too long, too little happened.
However, there are still enough reasons to start with the pigeon sport or not to stop.
But we will have to change, 'move with the times' is what I say.
If I was the boss (and many will say: "thank goodness that you are not") a lot would change.
I would start by greatly reducing the racing program.
It is madness to organize three races of more than 700 km in ONE weekend.
Even two races of more than 700 km is one too many.
That leads to fragmentation (less pigeons) and puts too much pressure on the resilience of fanciers, organizers, the press, transporters, spouses, children and on the bank account.
I think that ONE marathon race of more than 800 km every other week is more than enough.
A lot of pigeons you would see entered and what a spectacle it would be.
For years now they are promising us less races but instead there are more and more. .
That is against all logic at a time when the number of fanciers is decreasing rapidly.
You have to agree, a Semi National with only just 300 pigeons, that is ridiculous.
I would wield the sword in the middle-distance races too.
As it is now, on the same day a race of 400 km and a race of about 500 km does not make sense.
That was possible when we still had a number of say 80,000 pigeons enetered. Now it leads to races with a ludicrously small amount of pigeons, unnecessary cost and stress and a lot of negative energy.
Lately I was visiting someone and the tension in the family was unbearable.
The discussion was between him and her and the topic was pigeons.
She had enough of him having to go to the clubhouse four days a week.
And he 'had to' because of the races he wanted to take part in.
I found SHE was right.
The whole year everything revolves around pigeons anyway and having to go to the clubhouse four days a week during the racing season is just too much.
I am happy to say that duplication with hens in races is now a thing of the past. Doubling was there because it was thought that hens could not compete with cocks. But in the present pigeon sport we realize that cocks will soon have to be protected from hens!
There are still separate races for yearlings, at least in Belgium there are.
But what if you study the results?
Do yearlings still have to be protected against old pigeons?
The opposite should apply.
And the fact that two-year old pigeons still fly separately in some National races, proves that some have lost all contact with reality.
The reality is that two-year old pigeons do not have an advantage as old pigeons, but that they are in fact hard pressed to compete with yearlings and in some cases they are already written off!
I would cancel these races for two-year old pigeons from today and also the doubling with yearlings as well.
Only in Belgium there is a division between yearlings and old pigeons.
You could even think that these duplications are there to make more money from the fanciers.
I know that it is difficult to say goodbye to traditions, especially in Belgium, but look at the results and YOU will agree with me.
Times change. Old pigeons are no longer superior, and what is more, in August old pigeons cannot even compete with the youngsters!
If I was the boss there would be two types of racing pigeons:
Young ones and old ones.
Consequently no separate races for hens, nor for yearlings and certainly not for second-year pigeons.
And it would not end there. Because of the diminishing number of fanciers (with as a result less pigeons in the races) I would reorganize the speed races too.
At this moment and not in 5 years time!
Or do we want to follow the Pied Piper of Hamelin?
All singing together towards destruction?
Two speed races on Sunday might have made sense if there was still 100,000 entries, but times change and that is very obvious when you look at the results during the season.
Qui'vrain yearlings: 37 pigeons.
Qui'vrain old pigeons: 9 pigeons.
Noyon yearlings: 39 pigeons.
Noyon old pigeons: 12 pigeons.
Every Sunday ONE speed race of 200 km with old pigeons AND yearlings in ONE competition? I know that many are wary of this but someday we will have to and we should be ahead of that moment.
Many do not hear what I hear; there are frustrations about more and more mob fliers.
Fanciers who win 3 prizes out of their 3 entries in a race are ignored while the press makes much of fanciers who win 30 prizes from their 70 pigeons in a race.
I do not have anything against mass basketers, my best friends are among them, but fair sport feels different than this.
You cannot explain to a non fancier that in pigeon competitions fanciers with 4 pigeons have to compete against fanciers with 100 pigeons.
There should be limits.
It is just crazy when a fancier gets all the publicity because he won a national but he did it with his 86th pick bird.
Ok, more birds will make shipping cost cheaper.
If a fancier likes to race more birds that is fine but then he should race with teams.
If the limit would be 30 birds and he enters 80 I would suggest the following:
The first 30 pick birds are team 1.
The following 30 are his team 2.
The following 20 are team 3.
In this way he cannot win 1st and 2nd with his 8th and 67th pick bird which is indeed very frustrating for the majority.
And more small fanciers but good ones would get the attention they deserve.
In that respect the press too has a responsibility.
For example, stop praising those fanciers of whom less than 50 percent of their pigeons win prizes.
To praise the fanciers who win many prizes without noting how many pigeons they entered in the race is just dishonest.
The present system allows fanciers to take part with as many pigeons as they want, (even if that would mean 400) and that frustrates the fancier with few birds.
And if we should lose him we would lose the pigeon sport.
Some fanciers (in Belgium) live in an area where they can participate in several competitions.
Some use (or misuse) that fact cleverly, depending on the direction of the wind.
Something else I would do away with.
Everyone is allowed to race where he wants, but then for the entire season!
It is no different in other countries.
I spoke of championships and domestic squabbles.
If I was the boss I would not let all races count.
I already argued for this in Holland and they have now carried this through.
For example 8 middle-distance races?
Only the best 6 count for championships.
This means that you could miss a race occasionally or that it would not be disastrous if the timer did not work properly.
But as I said already I do not have much influence and the mob fliers especially will be glad of that.
But' if they feel threatened and fear that they cannot win with 'only' 30 pigeons in the race then they are only 'pseudo champions' for me.