Pigeon Catching 101

Posted on May 13, 2013


I never thought I would see the day that I saw a child catch a pigeon. Throughout my entire life, I have watched, with much amusement and a certain level of disdain, children all over the world chase after the rats of the sky, arms out, in the hope of clasping onto the winged buggers and showing the world. It is the child equivalent of Rocky chasing the chickens. It is a difficult task, but if successful you would become a hero. I had never seen a child achieve success in this quest. Yesterday, I finally saw this.

Context isn’t so important in this story, but I will provide it regardless, as I am often prone to doing. After much (read: slight) deliberation, I decided that it would be a good day to go see my first Serbian football match of the summer, this being Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) Belgrade against local rivals OFK Beograd. I knew that my buddy Nikola, King of Time Hostel, was an OFK fan so I figured he may be interested. An Aussie called Daniel had also expressed an interest, so we heading towards Slavija Square to meet Nikola. After a little bit of confusion (mostly due to me being super dumb), we met Nikola. Now, usually you would get a bus out to the football stadiums, but today we decided to walk. The weather was nice, so why not? I am very glad we did, otherwise I may have missed this incredible visual.

As we approached the first bus stop on the hill up towards the Cathedral of St Sava, we noticed a little bit of commotion. There were 2 Gypsy kids there, but surely they weren’t the focus of the aforementioned commotion? Surely not?! Well, wrong Bills, they were. Or at least one of them was, and the boy had one hell of a huge grin on his chops. The reason for this became clear as what was sitting in his hand became clear. Flapping helplessly in his paws was one pigeon. Yes, this child had caught the pigeon. My initial thrill quickly turned to blind fear because I don’t want a confused bird to be launched at me, but this also quickly subsided as the kid started posing for pictures. He was immensely patient as well, as Daniel’s camera decided to cack in at that point. We stood around for about 5 or 10 minutes with the kid, before continuing the walk on. I genuinely never thought I would see the day a child caught a pigeon. Well done, Gypsy Child.

We made it to the game, got our luxury (300Dinars/3euro) tickets and headed into the stadium. The game was being played the Red Star stadium, affectionately known as the Marakana, after the Brazilian stadium of the same name. Whilst the quality of the football wasn’t classic Brazil, the Red Star fans still put on a fantastic showing in the first half, complete with flags, flares and smoke. You can pretty much always count on these guys and their choreography. Immense. The second half was a slightly tamer affair as nerves rose, but this all subsided with Red Star winning a penalty and running out comfortable 1-0 winners. This means that the most perfect scenario is on. Next week is the super derby, Red Star vs. Partizan. Partizan are top of the table, 2 points ahead of Red Star, thus making this game a complete championship decider. The games between the teams when the league has already been decided are always super tense, so this one will be off the freakin’ chain. I’ll be going (provided I can get a ticket), and holy balls I can’t wait.

It’s also the same night as the Eurovision Song Contest and Night of the Museums.

Serbia, you’re pretty awesome you know.