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Heading for the disillusion

There are those days that I wonder if something is wrong with me. But I find it more interesting to ask myself if the club mates are nuts. Even more interesting is the question if you, dear reader, perhaps need a shrink. When all these questions can be answered by 'yes' it may be concluded that we, pigeon fanciers, have a collective problem. I came to this view after a seminar.

Reluctantly I went there because as a member of the panel you unintentionally give the impression that you are a connoisseur. But the seminar was in the province of Zeeland and I have a weakness for people from Zeeland ever since I saw the first one alive. I was always instilled that they were stiff farmers in big boots and blue over-alls. How wrong I was.

J, one of the most controversial fond players on this side of the Great Wall was in the forum and so was S, an uncomplicated young bird racer whose biggest defect is that he always tells things like they are. Recently he caused some commotion by claiming that you can forget racing well with young birds that lack quality. Will normally three people be sufficient for a forum, when those guys in Zeeland organize something they do it ‘superb’. On the stage it was busy. There were also a manufacturer of drugs and no less than two veterinarians. And with such a company a disaster is guaranteed.

The forum began like most forums begin: Boring. The first question: Should the Homing Union (NPO) do something so that pigeons that get home from a race do not mix among pigeons that come home from another race. ‘Because that would lead to massive losses.’ Is that so? Come on! Have pigeons become that stupid that they simply fly along with others when crossing their path? In the 60-ies and 70-ies the air was filled with 10 times more birds on racing days. Why did not we have that problem then? S agreed with me and said it was B.S. ‘You need good pigeons’ he claimed. The fanciers in the hall were not impressed and clearly were not waiting for that topic. Good pigeons was what they already had, had not they? They wanted to know how you could make them fly faster!

And from then on the attention focused entirely on the duo vets and the chemist. The viruses, bacteria, vitamins, antibiotics, thick heads, disinfectants flew through the immense hall. And it would not stop. The vets were so bombarded with questions until they threatened to be overwhelmed by the ghost which they themselves had let escape from the bottle.

When one vet was about to say that he could let pigeons fly faster by homeopathic remedies it painfully became clear to me again: The mystique of shaman that are grinding bark at full moon to get a concoction that will turn pigeons into winners will persist as long as pigeon sport exists. In my imagination I saw all these good people head for a pharmacy the next day. And I was assaulted by the thought that I had chosen the wrong profession.

If you want to make money you have to deal in health. Reach fellow human beings the illusion that they will live forever if they swallow pills 'X' and they are willing to sacrifice their last savings. And the pigeon fancier is little else.

At the Olympiad in Brussels and at other pigeon shows it became clear that pigeon sport has undergone a facelift. Thanks mainly to the pharmaceutical industry and other traders in health. Jars, pills, potions, leaflets you were bombarded with them. For the champions it has become a theatre of laughter full of hilarious effects. No attribute is crazy enough, collective madness has adopted terrifying forms. And never have I heard someone shout: "What is the use of all that shit if I do not have the good pigeons."

Deliberately traders in castles in the air use learned words such as oligos, enzymes, biotin and so on. They presuppose knowledge, knowledge is power and power is cash. Thus many ‘medicine men’ base their knowledge on the naivety of the common people and they catch more unsuspecting fanciers in their nets than the average angler fish. Until the time comes that they perish by their own playful creativity.

The champions in our sport are champions because they primarily focus on quality. While many losers seek refuge at the pharmacy, the champion stares at the ceiling thoughtfully at night. He worries, toils and sweats. Which birds should they mate with which birds? Should they import new blood? Which birds should be eliminated? Till his wife calls him to order and says: 'Please go sleep.’

"Yes, darling” the champion answers, but does he go to sleep? No! He ponders on!

The losers in our sport think less, which incidentally makes life a lot easier, and sleep. But behind the bedroom door shamans with plastic bags cautiously watch them, gloating at their failure. Poor results are after all the daily bread of the those charlatans. Once I put such a ‘medicine man’ a real pigeon in his hands. I still remember the frightened look in his eyes. His vocabulary was clearly inversely proportional to the number of pigeons that he had ever handled. Nearly strangled I got my pigeon back. The good thing is that their publicity is often amusing if it were not so tragic.

In a magazine you see someone with an obscure bottle in his hand who says: "I am John and I won Barcelona because I feed my pigeons X.’ And meaningfully he looks at the bottle. So far nothing wrong until you turn some pages There you can read why William won Pau. That was because he gives his pigeons 'Y'. And thus we are being piloted into the jungle of lies. People will do anything when it comes to health. I think some are able to wear a plaid hat when they read somewhere it enhances their ‘bed achievements’. And in their imagination they can handle the whole harem of a Sultan.

In our sport many explanations for failure are born in the delivery room of our imagination. However…

All those who believe that they can pour good condition out of a bottle are heading to the same destination: the disillusion!