Copyright 2008 John Clements.
Strangers and pigeons
If you casually meet a relative stranger - Man or Woman - that stranger does not automatically assume you have a knowledge of quantum mechanics or any other rare subject requiring study or understanding. Indeed most automatically assume you don’t and if you don’t tell them they assume you are roughly as ignorant as they. If you do decide to enlighten them you are on an equally bad footing because most do not believe you and assume you are boasting. Most people assume (quite incorrectly) they have weighed up most people. Most think they have assessed the world and the value of what is in it because they understand recognised signs.
In pigeons a similar thing happens - most people - including those who know nothing about pigeons and are not even connected with the sport - assume there is nothing to know simply because the pigeon fraternity does not have an easily accepted strata of achievement and titles that demonstrate knowledge or expertise. There is no such thing as Doctor of Long Distance or ‘Reader’ in Sprint and Middle. There is no such title as Master of pigeon administration or even ‘National Black belt’ Councillors. We can’t even say we have a recognised handicap system as in golf or established convoyers who are qualified to liberate ‘National or International pigeons’ as they do with Referees or Umpires.
Because of this lack of easily recognised qualifications most fanciers rely on stuff borrowed from other sources that are recognised. They say how much they paid for a pigeon or how many first they have won and stuff like that. The ‘how much’ brigade have borrowed from commerce and the ‘firsts’ brigade have borrowed either from Horse Racing - the Dog Track or Athletics where first over a line really does mean something but in pigeons we do not have a line.
Nor can it be said achievement by velocity is automatically equal to the best for in most cases it isn’t. In short the sport of pigeon racing is in a definition vacuum and we unfortunately have passed on this vacuum to the general public who by not being able to say who or what is in what class or who or what has achieved this or that - assume there is nothing to know and in the entire sport there is nothing worth knowing. At best they put up with us - at worst they hate us.