Monday, April 26, 2010

Still Dangerous After All These Years

Photos: Spanish matador Jose Tomas seriously gored in Mexican bullfight

Tomas, one of the top Spanish matadors, is in serious condition after being gored during this bullfight in Mexico

When I was 19 years old, I was traveling in Spain.

In Valencia, we went to the big corrida to see an afternoon of bull fighting.

We saw the most famous and most popular fighter of that era, an 18-year boy-genius of the ring known as "El Cordobez."

That afternoon, he was twice awarded two ears and a tail for his startling, masterful triumphs over two terrifying fire-snorting blue-black monsters.

We made the hideous mistake off asking people around us how the young man compared with the legendary Manolete.

They glared at us as if we were mad.

"Manolete es UNO!" one outraged patron declared.

Bull fighting is a strange anachronism in the modern world.

No doubt many people are deeply offended by what can be seen as a barbaric and cruel ritual.

It is hard to argue with that position.

On the other hand, if you spend a day watching great fighters and great bulls, you cannot deny the fear and horror and excitement and adrenalin attack that comes along with the coca-cola or beer.

Today I might not return to the ring to see another six fights, but I cannot forget what I saw so many years ago.


Anonymous said...

The summer before last we travelled to Spain, a country I hadn't been to since the 80s (much has changed). During our trip we spent about a week in Seville where the famous Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is located. We poked our nose in but decided not to take a tour or visit the mseum. The building is quite beautiful but the 'sport' of bull fighting is abhorant to me and I have no sympathy for the matadors who are injured in the ring.


Anonymous said...

This probably won't get posted, but I'll tell the joke anyway...

A man was traveling in Spain and was dining at a fine restaurant. He noticed a procession of waiters carrying a covered tray to an important looking patron. It was uncovered and there sat two large steaming mounds, which the delighted patron started eating with great ceremony.

The traveler asked his own waiter, "Can I have what he's having?!!"

The waiter explained, "Senor, that is a very, very special dish. It is the testicles of the bull from the bull fight in the arena. You must pre-order such a meal months in advance!"

The traveler knew he would be through the area again in a few months and went ahead and made his order and reservation.

Several months later, the man was at the restaurant awaiting his meal after the bull fight.

A procession of waiters carried the tray and uncovered two tiny little morsels.

The traveler was taken aback and asked what happened to his meal.

The patient waiter explained, "Oh, Senor ... you see.....

Sometimes, the bull ... he wins."