[June 11, 2017: My First [and last] Bull Fight in Plaza de Toro!]
Before leaving for Spain, many people told me “Don’t go to a Bull Fight!” or “You know what happens at a Bull Fight right?! They kill the Bull!” In America, a Bull Fight would be met with hundreds of Animal Rights Activists as opposed to a mass of people swarming the stadium in a sea of colorfully decorated fans and beers. I’d probably say that Bull Fights here are the equivalent of any sporting event back in the U.S. except there are no announcers and stuff- which was odd in my opinion.
[A full stadium for the last Bull Fight of the Season]
Now let me just start by saying that I will present both sides of this argument. I will share the good and the bad and all of it in between.
But first I must address another question, “Why did I go?” Well that’s simple, I will never have the chance to do it again. There is no other country in the world where this is as popular or as big a part of their culture, and I figured, like most things here, I’ll give it one shot.
Now to some that may not seem like a good enough reason to justify having spent good money to support a “treacherous and disturbing sport”. But to me, experiencing this once in a lifetime opportunity, surrounded by Spaniards who truly support this sport and feeling the excitement of the crowd was important for my cultural experience.
Anyways, let’s start with the popular U.S. opinion – it’s BAD, gross, and disturbing. My response to that, “Yes, I agree”. I honestly have no problem with the flag waving and the teasing of the Bull; however, once the swords and spears came out the camera was quickly put away and often my eyes were averted. I also found out after some research, that these Bulls are not only tortured and killed in the arena, but also in advance of the fight in order to agitate it and give the matador an advantage during the fight. I won’t go into too many details because it’s honestly horrific, but let me just say, I don’t particularly think it’s fair – if you’re going to have a bull fight then have it be an even match of wits, speed and strength!
On the other hand, the Spanish people rally around the matador. To be able to control and maneuver a beast of great height, weight, and strength PLUS the huge horns is an amazing feat. The finesse with which they wave their flags and control the attention of the Bull is amazing to watch. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the entirety of the Bull Fight was just this haha.
Click here to see the flag waving s section on the Bull Fight- no gory film enclosed ——–> https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPRXoc8pkp2ccqPRdkp9Uholh0tri-mG9Tf6u6l
Now you may ask, what is the origin of the Bull Fight? Well it dates back to about 300 years ago from the Romans. Bull fights were used to celebrate royal weddings and the like. So I guess it’s really the Romans we should blame? Who knows.
Another question may be, “Why do they continue doing this?” Let me just ask you this, ” Why wouldn’t they?” As a long running part of their culture this has become common place to them. Not to mention that while not occurring in most places in real life, most of society continues to endorse films that have content similar to this. For example, Gladiator. Gladiator is a movie about Ancient Romans where a slave is forced into the ring to defend himself. This movie had great reviews!
Now I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, its just a different point of view.
To wrap up this very long Blog (sorry guys, lots to say!), I would say my first Bullfight will definitely be my last. The gore of it all is just too much for me honestly. However, I will always remember the pulse of the crowd as they cheered on the matador when the bull raced past him. I will always remember the moment where one of the matadors flags got caught on a horn of the bull and the crowd gasped, praying to not witness the death of a matador (he was fine). And I will always remember the strength of the Bulls that literally fought to their very last breath.