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Money rules the world

In my teens I had three passions: soccer, pigeons and ... I wanted to be the best in
"all that I did". Soccer was my first love.

In various school teams I was the best but at a slightly higher level not good enough.

And "average" was a word that I already hated in those days.

Therefore I chose pigeons which was not real strange in those days. My parents, neighbours, uncles and so on were all pigeon fanciers.

And believe me, when I say that I made it I do not exaggerate.

I was the first and the only one in Holland who was forbidden to pool money since I won too much.

We also had several meetings with the boards of different Feds in the 90-ies since we faced a problem: No one wanted my club in the Fed for just one reason:  The predominance of one man, named A. S.

It has been a while ago but no less true.

And what is so remarkable? I experience a lot of similarities between my two passions of the past.

Pigeon sport went frighteningly fast downhill. Today countless lofts without pigeons in countless villages in Belgium are the silent witnesses.

Now I fear for football, for stadiums without viewers in the future.
For a moment, long way back, I believed in soccer.

It was the day that for Anderlecht, the great proud and prestigious team, the world collapsed. They were slaughtered by the tiny team of Westerlo.
O Westerlo, where you still can pay cash for your fries and you need not have a special chip like at Ajax. What a great service did you render to football.

You were the Robin Hood of Flanders. You stole football from the rich and gave it back to its rightful owners, the common people.
My tears of joy are barely dried after 6-0 of then in the confrontation of the dwarf with the giant.


But times changed. What is happening now, I find disastrous.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester, Bayern and three more clubs seized power and struck an unbridgeable gap, so it seems.

Soccer fell into the hands of crazy rich Americans, Russians and spoiled sons of oil sheiks, who do not know what to do with their money.
- Nearly half a billion debt (euros) and still players are bought for 100 million?
- Salaries of 300,000 PER WEEK?
- Offer 2 Billion for just a football club?

This world has become crazy. One of the 7 top teams will soon win the Champions league, the others have no chance whatsoever. We know that already. Is that fun?

What I will never forget either is the Ajax team of the old days. When even clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan came to the Netherlands with trembling knees to be destroyed by the Dutch.
Ajax recently played again against Barcelona, they did pretty well indeed, but lost. Of course I would say.

Will there ever be European glory again for us Belgians and Dutchmen?

No way.
On the bench Barcelona had reserves that represented more money than ALL major league players in the Netherlands are worth together.
Granted, Ajax has a miracle team again, but with that I mean the youth team below 20. A good omen? If only that were true, because they will not have this fantastic team for long. The question is not IF Ajax will again be deprived of all these talents, but WHEN. And how long people will still accept it and keep going to the stadiums.

Pigeon sport (or rather, what is left of it) deteriorated further and further and still is.

Since 2000 there are 450 fewer clubs in the Netherlands. Do not take me wrong, I do not mean fanciers but clubs! Fanciers there are now nearly 20,000 (!) less than in 2000. And 2000 is not so long ago.
In pigeon sport the only one thing that is flourishing is, as it seems; what we call "mega lofts".

- Take Team Freddy de Jager. They employed 2 loft managers and oops, shortly after they became almost unbeatable in their area.
- The Herbots family say they have never raced better than in the last two years, mainly thanks to two super loft managers, Filip and Jo frankly agree.
- John van Wanrooy is the rising star in Holland. Thanks again to 2 loft managers.    

- Also observe that International flight from Dax some years back.
Seegmuller won with his 40th nominated bird.
Heiko Hermes was 2nd with his... yes you read it right, 228th pick bird.

Can you believe that? His 228th nominated?

Piet de Weerd once said:

"The pigeon is the racehorse of the little man."

And I once said:  

"If we lose the little man we lose pigeon sport."

The point is also that pigeon sport is so different in many ways.

It is the only sport where the participants (so the birds) who achieved the good results do not get the credits they deserve, but the owners.

They get all the credits. It is HIS name that is on the result sheet.

And the easiest way to get even more honour is to enter 100 birds or 100s of birds in a race. Those people know too well that if you enter five birds your name cannot be on the result sheet 30 times.

And we all let ourselves be fooled.

30 prizes from 80 pigeons is more impressing than four prizes from five birds while the last result is numerically far better.
Take the race from Ruffec (750 km) last summer.
The great names like Verkerk, de Bruijn,  v d Merwe etc. did what they were supposed to do: Win many prizes.

Those 3 together had 197 pigeons in the race and won 83 prizes. I admit, it was not representative for them, but still.
The brothers van de Kooy had together five pigeons in the race, all five of them won a prize. Later on you could read about the many prizes of the great names, but where could you read about the brothers? Nowhere!

It is the story of the bird that won 1st National for Vercammen. It was his 66th nominated bird from 88 birds he had entered. He got much publicity and deserved it. Winning a national from 22.818 birds is not easy. However: Patrick Boeckx won 20th prize National and he entered just ONE bird only.

As for me HE was the star of that National race.

Jeroen and Mark v d Kooy 


Do not take me wrong. Also "mega lofts" that perform well deserve respect.

When they enter 200 birds for a race they do nothing that is forbidden.

But one of my frustrations is that people who deserve MORE or even all the honor and respect seldom get it.

Because we fall for the men who win 30 prizes from 80 pigeons.

And we overlook the man that won 4 prizes of 5 birds. And that hurts.

So my message is this:

Watch out when reading race reports. The greatest names do not necessarily mean the greatest fanciers.

Recently a baby was sold in USA for no less than 35.000 US.

"Pigeons the race horse of the little man?"  Hmmm.