Letter to the North American Falconers Association (With Actual Response!)

Dearest North American Falconers Association,

Recently, I was fortunate enough to find myself at a falconry demonstration at a local Renaissance Faire. Due to an inner ear infection, I was forced to take frequent breaks from looking skyward to avoid vomiting. During these breaks, I was struck by how engaged and well-behaved the children in the audience were. Not a one was daydreaming, mouthing off or looking to score drugs from the dubious Jamaican shopkeep manning the incense stand nearby!


From this sight came an audacious, yet marvelous idea – bring falconry from the outskirts of the country suburbs and introduce it to inner city youths. Currently, I am pursuing a degree that will allow me to become a sports coordinator for the New York City county school district. Upon beginning my new career, I intend to implement a full-fledged falconry initiative that rivals the excitement of all current school sports combined, and yet does not exclude the smaller, slower and dumber students.

The goal of this initiative will be to teach classic school skills such as teamwork, goal achievement, grammar and human sexuality through the enjoyment of falconry.

Ultimately, my vision is to create a new hybrid sport based heavily on the traditional teachings of falconry. Here are the rules and regulations I have so far come up with:

•    Each team consists of 7 falconers and 7 birds
•    Two teams compete on a football-sized field
•    The birds score points for their team by navigating a whiffle ball through a small hoop
•    The whiffle ball will be brightly colored for the benefit of spectators
•    Numerous hoops with different point values will be placed throughout the field
•    Competing birds battle for possession of the ball
•    A foul system will be in place to keep bird combat friendly, though rules will be lax to promote a fast-paced game
•    Games will consist of 4 quarters, each 25 minutes in length
•    Team jerseys will be worn by both the falconers and the birds for ease of team distinction

I believe the benefits of this new sport are apparent and will easily be approved by governing school boards. However, I would like to run a pre-season of sorts to better understand the strong points and weak points of my above-mentioned rules. I really want to dazzle the school committee so I can get this great idea off the ground (so to speak) ASAP.

This is where you come in. I was hoping your distinguished organization would be able to put me in contact with some birds so that I may use them in my trial runs. Of course, I would also love your endorsement and/or sponsorship once the initiative is approved. I would prefer a good mixture of osprey, hawks, falcons and owls, but anything you have readily available should do fine.

Vultures might also make good goalies.

Be advised that your assistance in helping curb gang membership, drug use and dropout rates among our next generation would not go unrecognized. I appreciate your time and thank you in advance for any help you may provide.

Gerald Randall


What follows is an ACTUAL (condensed) response Pleated Jeans received to the above letter from a real NAFA representative:

Dear Mr. Randall –
While I admire your enthusiasm and good intentions, your proposed sport is running into some impossibilites. Please bear with me while I attempt to explain.
* With the sole exception of the Harris hawk, raptors do not and cannot cooperate. This will inevitably result in a fight and if one bird is larger or ambushes the other, a death. Friendly is simply not an option. Fourteen birds on a football field would be an unmitigated disaster.
* Raptors do not normally carry items. If possible, they will take small prey to a safe location to eat it but their carrying capacity is minimal and they cannot understand the concept of “fetch”.
* Raptors are not corvids (crows). They are predators – essentially they’re winged snakes. While they are amazing athletes, they do not have the mental flexibility to learn “tricks”.
* Raptors do not typically tolerate the presence of other people, either, and have been known to strike out at those they feel are intruders. You can imagine how an insurance company might view this, not to mention a school.
I certainly applaud your desire to reach out to these children. However, falconry is most likely unsuitable.
Sincerely yours,
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