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About time part 1

From the time that Ajax dominated the international football world and teams like Milan, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid went to Amsterdam with trembling knees I have liked soccer.  But times have changed.   

Nowadays it is all so much faster. At least abroad!
"We" in Holland did not follow and paid a price for it.

EVERYTHING in this world has become faster.

Bart Swings, the Belgian skater, experienced that at the latest Olympic games.

He was less than a second (!) slower than the winner and that meant the ninth place and no more.
He knew a "dramatic decline" in one lap of' half a second!

Half a second? What are we talking about?
Because it all goes so much faster the results of speed skating, skiing and other sports are not processed in tens of seconds, but hundredths.
And even that was not sufficient at the Olympic games at the 1,500 meters skating.

The winner, a Polish guy, knocked down his Dutch opponent with, you will not believe it, 0.003 seconds. Three thousandths of a second was the difference between eternal fame and obscurity.

In pigeon sport it is not so much different.


- There is this fancier that clocked from a race from 750 kms 10 birds in one minute. As if the birds were released on the other side of the town.

- Last year a race from Orleans (young birds) in our club lasted no longer than 10 minutes. Then one third of all birds were home.

- There was this Middle Distance race. I got 4 birds together. One did not hurry in, it was clocked 32 seconds later than the first bird and that meant more than 200 places lower in the result sheet. 

- In the stronger Associations in Belgium nobody is surprised when a short distance race lasts no longer than 2 or 3 minutes.

When it takes 10 minutes they consider it a real bad race. But I must admit, there are also combines where things go much slower.

Therefore good results and first prizes do not mean that much to me.

I want to know where they were won and against whom.
"Tell me against whom you race and I will say how good your birds are."

Now that also in pigeon racing seconds have become decisive it is clear that location (direction of the wind) and trapping are of vital importance for the outcome.
We live where we live, the location cannot be changed, but as for trapping fast and not lose time on arrival the fancier can influence the behavior of his birds.

The key word is "conditioning" or teach birds good manners.

- Bart van Oeckel, not even a so called young bird specialist, sent me a video which showed how he is educating his babies. When he rings a bell the birds almost break their necks to enter the loft like hell.
- . Speed King Boeckx does not even need to lure them with food. Opening the trap (which is normally closed) is sufficient for the birds to hurry in.
- I myself take racing youngsters less serious than in the 80"s and 90"s.
It would take too long to explain why, but in those days I told fellow fanciers it would be better when their birds were ahead of mine on their way home. If they were together they could forget it, because trapping faster than my birds did was impossible. And when, very incidentally, a bird lingered, I stood right under the trap which was a reason for the bird to get in.

So I did quite the opposite of what some others do: They hide when a bird is not in a hurry to get in after a race.

Why did my birds behave like that you may wonder?

While they were training I sneakily filled the feeders with food. When I wanted the

birds to enter I stood under the sputnik and just above my head they had to come in.

For those that did not rush in there was a surprise: The feeder was gone .


What a difference with a fellow sportsman. I was there when it was "feeding time". He cried, moaned, whistled, threw food on the trap.

But his birds were not impressed, a bunch of them stayed outside till he eventually gave up. When I went away I saw the last birds slipping inside. What awaited them

you can guess: Food in abundance.  

Poor fancier and poor birds! Keeping pigeons like this is no fun at all.

Every year after the first races you can hear those stories again:

The results would have been good if they were not so unlucky as to have birds that do not trap well.

Of course it may happen that luck lets you down and pigeons do not trap as they should. Concerning this pigeon racing is the same as many other sports: The best is not always the winner.
But let"s be fair: In most cases the handler himself is to blame when things go wrong. His problem is that he does not realize that and he keeps on trying to find excuses.

Excuses like the following:

- It was a lucky race.

- Others were better located with this wind.

- The birds were not motivated yet.

And they refer to champions who also had a poor race.

They almost make you believe that there are races that are only won by poor birds.

Anyway: Do you want to gain time by giving your birds a helping hand?

Read the next article.  


(The final part 2 will follow)