I suppose it makes me an evil person, in this day and age of compassion, but I enjoy watching a good bullfight.
Before I went to my first match, I was wary of how the spectacle would affect me. After all, being raised a middle class American suburbanite, I was taught that animals are our friends. It’s a bad thing to wear fur. It’s bad to club those little seals. But I always wondered. I never skinned a mink. I never clubbed a seal. But I indulge in the meat to eat on every corner, so where is the boundary of this hypocrisy?
The trip started on a sunny day with the four of us piling into the car for the four hour ride to Valencia to catch the best bull fight of the year in Venezuela. Or to be honest, we were going to see the Corrida del Toros, since the sport is identifiably of Spanish origin. Passing Polars (a local brew) around the car made the trip quite a bit shorter than it was. The approach to the stadium was the same as that to any major league ballpark in the States. Once inside, we sat on the shady side of the half-filled bowl with the rest of the spectators, because even us evil people don’t like sunburns. Then the Action began.
There were to be three matadors that day. With each having two attempts. Six bulls were to die in front of my eyes. Yet I didn’t feel repulsion or guilty at my lack thereof. I just wanted to see for myself. The six matches became a blur of blood, colors, gracefulness, death, excitement, and disappointment. I was hooked, much as the picador hooks the bull’s neck to start the flow of blood, which will tire the bull in anticipation of the matador. Over the course of that hot, four beer afternoon I went from bewildered, to fascinated, to critiquing the matadors technique. I wanted his sword to strike a clean death and was disappointed when his mis-strokes prolonged the match and agonized the bull. I didn’t mind the bulls death, but I wanted it to be an honorable one.
That day I found I had more in common with the matador and the spectators than with the bull. Perhaps this is the way the old Romans felt. In the end, I decided it’s not so bad being a evil person.