Copyright 2008 John Clements.
I have almost finished sawing up some wood for firewood. Years ago, in the days of Orange Boxes from the back of the Co-Op I would have then have given my back teeth for timber of this kind but alas that was in the days when money was scarce and community spirit was abundant.
Alas, attractive as it is - I am not here to wallow in nostalgia but to carry on from my last article (Strangers and pigeons) where I used the phrase ‘a definition vacuum’ to describe how the pigeon sport in the UK has so far failed to define quality and difficulty in competition as they do in other sports.
As a consequence of this lack in definition the general public have no idea and nothing to latch onto when they meet a pigeon fancier, all they can ask is - ‘How many have you got?’ or some such inane question designed inadequately to find where you are, how much money you have got, at or what level you have achieved in the world of pigeons.
In truth the public are totally unaware of the different levels within the sport and thus class us all on the basis of what they know which unfortunately happens to be not much.
We have only ourselves to blame for this state of affairs - The sport has totally failed to get across to the public and the general media what is excellent about pigeon racing and what is excellent about individual pigeons. According to most members of the public we are all just a bit above street pigeons - in their minds they see not much difference. This state of affairs is the fault of every one of us.
Up to now no one has really tackled the problem of public relations - definitions and identity so here I go feet first into the fray.
The racing competitions could be defined in the following order from the top down: International - National - League and then Club.
INTERNATIONAL and International results are the top and self-explanatory in that they are when pigeons race against other countries.
NATIONAL - is where pigeons race against the whole of a nation where the nation is described by its National boundaries; thus it is possible to have a Welsh National or a Scottish National but not possible to have a Midlands National or a North West National.
A NATIONAL Result can also be a part of an International.
LEAGUE - Describes Regional competitions within a Nation. Thus the Central Southern Classic, the London South East Classic and all specialist clubs that are not National and whose radius excludes certain areas would be at LEAGUE level.
Finally there would be ‘CLUB.’
CLUB would include everything else including Federations large and small.
There is a small problem with the above definitions - the problem is how to define sections within National or sections within Specialist Club events. These would be described as NATIONAL SECTIONS - or - LEAGUE SECTIONS depending who or at what level the parent organisations were.
Anyway this is how I see it - it would be an enormous job to implement and no doubt rule changes would have to be made but we have even fallen behind when it comes to the identity of the sport and the general perception by the public .
For this reason future RPRA delegates that compose the RPRA Council should be based on a popular postal vote so that they then had popular consent and the subsequent authority that goes with popular consent. As it is at the moment there is an official ‘consent/ approval vacuum’ at the top - but that should be part of another article and is an equally difficult subject. I am now getting back to sawing wood, my saw arm is killing me and the winter of my discontent with identity and public perception still remains even though the sport has at its core a miracle display of what nature can and does do every time we get a pigeon home from a long race.