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David and... (16-03-22)

David and (16-03-22)

In my teenage years I had three passions: Football, pigeons and 'wanting to be the best'. I initially thought I would make it as a football player because of being the best in various school teams, but that illusion was short-lived.  
At a slightly higher level I was weighed and found too light. I was quick but also quickly broken. After every sprint I had to pant too long to recover. Then pigeons. That was indeed better for me, something you can say if it comes to the point that an emergency meeting is called in the middle of the season because you destroy the sport with the result that you are no longer allowed to pool.

Today I experience many similarities between my two passions from the past. With pigeon sport it went down alarmingly fast, countless pigeon lofts without pigeons are silent witnesses of this.
Now I sometimes fear for football. For stadiums without viewers in the future. But recently I regained hope. To be precise, on September 15, 2021, the day the world came to an end for Paris Saint Germain, the proud team from France.
Because of being slaughtered by what they see as insignificant Bruges. Oh, beautiful town in Flanders where you can still pay the French fries in cash and not with a special chip card like at Ajax.
Oh, beautiful Bruges, where the atmosphere has not yet been intoxicated by the expensive perfume of chic ladies in Vipboxes, what a service you have done football. You are the Robin Hood of Flanders, who stole football from the rich and gave it back to its rightful owners, the people.
My tears of joy have barely dried after the dwarf's draw against the giant. Because you can speak of a giant with Neymar, Messi, Di Maria, Mbappè, Sergio Ramos in the ranks. Weigh their salaries against those of the Brugge players! The differences are bizarre.   

The money is the reason that five teams seized power and opened an unbridgeable chasm, according to many. Clubs that fell into the hands of Americans, Russians and spoiled sons of Oil Sheiks who don't know what to do with their money, herald the end of a popular sport. The sums involved are as decadent as they are revengeful.
- More than a billion debt (euros) and still buy footballers?
- Salaries of 300,000 euros PER WEEK?
It couldn't get much crazier, was/is the opinion of many. winning is already certain, no more fun, don't you say, because then came that memorable September 15th , and with it new hope.

Take the former Ajax as well. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Milan went to the Netherlands with trembling knees to be served off by the stars from Amsterdam. Now Bruges was stunting.
On the reserve bench, Paris St Germain had more capital than ALL the football pros in Belgium are worth together. Now there are many young talents in our clubs again. A good omen? If only that were true. The question is not IF they will be robbed of their talents, but when. But stunts by 'the little ones' will keep people going to stadiums. Pigeon sport seems to be in a sadder state. Since 2000 in the Netherlands 600 clubs and 25,000 less fanciers.
However, what is not decreasing is the number of mega lofts. The tone was already set in the 1990s. In the Netherlands and even more in Germany. Heiko Hermes once stood there "on a wonderful 2nd place" of an International race with his 228th nominated. The pigeon the racehorse of the little man, as P de Weerd once said? hmm.   

Pigeons sport is the only sport where the credit does not belong to the one who deserves it; So the pigeon. The boss gets that honor and the more times his name appears on the results, the more he 'grows'.
Because what is a problem in pigeon sport?
We are all fooled by appearances. The more often a name appears on the results, the greater the impression made.
For example, I saved a result of Ruffec in South Holland somewhere. Three supermen together had 197 pigeons and won 83 prizes. The brothers van de Kooy had 5 pigeons with them that all won prizes. Who noticed? Where could you read about it? It's the story of Jan who won 1st with 98 birds in the race. He only won 12 prizes. And of Peer who won the 20th prize National with only ONE pigeon entered. The newspapers are full about Jan, not a word about Peer.
Yet he is the kind of man who succeeds in what many greats or supposed greats rarely succeed: winning 100% prize.
Of course those big ones who perform deserve respect, make no mistake about that. They don't do anything wrong. Any more than those who train the pigeons every day. And can we prohibit someone from employing two or even more carers? What I am saying is that there is no real equal opportunity sport and there is no blame on the practitioners.

The present-day situation is simply the way it is. There is no question of fighting with equal weapons in football and even less in pigeon sport.
The unions are now faced with the task of keeping both the 'mega lofts' happy and the 'little man'. And many 'little men' will have to turn the switch.
Because do you HAVE to be on the results countless times to enjoy your hobby? Also think what those men with their many pigeons have to do for it. I advise people who play with few pigeons to do as I do. With my 4th pigeon on the result of 12 I look how many pigeons have such a ‘big one’.
If it's less than 40 out of 120 then I think 'I was better'. I do that too when I get 6 of the 12 before his 60th out of 120.
Those large lofts are not unbeatable, that is proven every week. Nor is Paris Saint Germain. There are even fanciers who enjoy playing against them. They see those big ones as a challenge.
Are we practicing an unfair sport? Naturally! But little in this world is fair.
Being able to close the windows when all your four pigeons that were in the race are home while the 'mega man' still has to wait for many pigeons is pure enjoyment. They already knew how that feels in Amsterdam and now also in Bruges.