I had found it pretty well throughout my college going out with Sammy while studying Wild life management in Birmingham University. Sammy was from Spain and on many occasion had told be about a popular sport held between March and October every year in his culture called the Bullfight. Although I have on many occasions come across it during the course of my wild life study on animals in sport or animal rights subject but I never gave it a thought to see one neither was I against or in favour of animal right movement.
‘’we shall go to Spain to see Bullfight’’ said Sammy in one of our conversations. I concurred to go with him that summer because I didn’t want to go home to see mum and dad as I had visited them 5 months ago and more so, it was a good opportunity to be in Spain as well see things for myself.
‘’sure I will like to visited span paddy’’ I concurred to his request.
Sammy was super excited more than me. He began to give me preliminary information about Spain from that day hence forth. Any time we met he always talked about Spain and how he missed the Bullfight. Finally, we made our trip down to Spain and Sammy with his younger sister took out me for sightseeing on some natural architects of nature which Sammy knew was my major area of interest. Nothing was more interesting that waiting to see the Bullfight. In one of our discussion about the Bullfight, I learnt different terms used in the fight.
The D-day came and we walked into the arena to see humans in their thousands; some seated, others standing here and there in small clusters having a discussion while some parents were taking their kids to different sections of the arena and many more were coming it. Humans were like sand of the earth. I was still engulfed by the mammoth crowd when I saw people cheering up with standing ovation.
‘’What is going on, where is Sammy’’ I look around to asked Rose: Sammy’s younger sister who had accompanied us to the event. She was very much pretty of a girl any man will like to associate with but my shyness couldn’t allow me be myself in her presence. Right from day one she welcomed me to their house; I so much liked her but still battling to overcome myself. She is tall, eloquent, hospitable and endowed with all feminine features. She felt extra free being with me as Sammy had told me earlier on that she has never since his sister being this happy. I understood that very well the massage he was passing across as he teased me. I smiled and behaved like I didn’t hear him. Rose held my hands to pull me up to join the crowd to stand.
‘’ There is Sammy’’ being ushered into the arena as the matador; the chief participant of the Bullfight. ‘’How come?’’ I manage to increase my voice so she can hear. Her mind was not there as she was vigorously waving at Sammy who immediately located us and gave a kiss in the air.
Sammy was introduced to the audience as one of the best Bullfighters (matador) and was about squaring up with the most dangerous Bull in the district called Ranto. From the record Ranto had killed three fighters and injured a dozen more. My heart skip and I asked Rose if she knew about this as I began to feel comfortable with her.
‘’ Ya, our family is a linage of bullfighters and Sammy being the first son of the family will fight the Bull when it was the turn of the village to produce the matador’’
‘’Hope he is good at it’’ I asked curiously.
‘’Hahaha, Sammy has not lost a fight as a Bullfighter since he started 3 years ago she replied
After some minutes the stage was set for the fight. There were three different stages involved in the fight which the matador must undergo before the fight is considered completed. The enthusiasm to win increase as the time passes on if Sammy must stand a chance to win. That was freaky night mare that will last not once but second and third. ’’ So Sammy must be at his best to win this’’ I contemplated. There was no going back once a fighter has sign in for the fight. The fight began with the first stage called........
The tercio de Varas
This stage was basically meant to introduce the wild Bull that will go head to head with the matadore. Ranto was released into the arena where the matadore had to test the Bull’s ferocity called tercio de Varas ‘’the lancing third’’. The matadore used this stage to carry out a lot of observational movement, charges and quirk made by the Bull. This he carried out using the capote. This is very important because matadore inability to study the Bull very well can lead to sad end and probably death.
This was followed by another participant called the ‘’Picador’’ who entered the Bullring by horse armed with a Vara (lace). The Horse used here was well protected using a padded covering called ‘’peto’’ from being harmed by the Bull’s horn. Without this covering, one is very sure that the horse will be the first victim of the game.
The Picador made a charge towards the animals with two objectives in mind; to let the matadore do his study and as well to weaken the Bull. The manner and movement of the Bull gave the matadore all he needed to know about the Bull especially which horn the Bull used most. Like some of us are familiar with either using our right hand or left hand at ease, likewise the Bull uses his horns too. Ranto on sighting the picador charged towards the armoured Horse to take it out of the contest, this alone was enough distraction and a disadvantage. It changed everything about the Ranto and his chances of survival. The Horse having distracted the Ranto gave the picador the opportunity to stab him at the ‘’morrillo’’ which is the mound of muscle located on the Ranto’s neck which led to Ranto’s first lost of blood. This was a very bad sight to behold to many that hate seeing blood but I was kept amazed how almost the crowd cheered at the successful execution of the game plan.
‘’This is really unfair to the animal’’ I muted at myself
This spilling of blood was necessary to weaken the sole strength of the Bull. The neck was the power and efficiency of the horn and all the Ranto had to give a good fight was denied him in a second in the name of sports. The effect of this unemotional act resulted to the Ranto severely injured which necessitated fatigue that made the Ranto not to confront the Horse and picador any further. Another thing here was that the Ranto was finding very difficult to lift his neck as he slightly began to lower his head and horns than normal. All this treated melted to the Ranto was all the Sammy needed in the next stage of the fight.
‘’this was an unfair expedition’’ as my orientation about the whole event began to change.
The Tercio de Branderillas
This was also called the third Branderillas where each of three banderilleros sole plan was to make effort to plant at least two banderillas: a sharp carved stick into the shoulders of the Bull. The branderilleros started making some moves. Ranto still battling with the blood flowing from his neck and three persons in front of him, this made things difficult for him to specifically target any of them than to go defense, waiting for any one that will attack him. He was turning around at 360 degrees as the bandarilleros moves round about him. Ranto was such a big fighter from the way he moves as well as his keen sight. Ranto I guess had made an imaginary line in his head where nobody can encroach so easily. So, whenever a banderileros steps into this line, Ranto will charge him out of the line but the continues lose of blood get him weaker by the seconds.
After some certain moves, Ranto had to charged towards one of the banderilleros in what was a planned set up and on turning back to return to his circle, one of the three bandorilleros waiting at the touch line lifted the sharpened stick as much as his muscle can go and place in on the shoulder of the bull as expected. The moan from the Ranto reinvigorated him as he agitated in anger and survival. This scene told me that it wall better to die from a gunshot that the hard way and has since remained planted to my brain, my emotion for him began to increase.. The arena roar in another cheer as the Ranto dangles to gain balance. This was a case of standing strong in the face of prosecution no matter the odds like the German armies during the World War 2 never stopped pulling the trigger no matter how many bullets has entered their body until they were flat of the ground.
‘’what a worst way to die and best way to fight’’
The Tercio de muerte
This was the final stage of the festival called ‘’the third death’’. Here the matador( Sammy) had to re-enter the Bullring this time alone with a red cloth called ‘’muleta and a sword. This red cloth can vary in size as it is believed that the red color at the sight of the Bull triggers the anger of the Bull to charge once again as well the colour of the Bull’s blood.
The matador at this stage was meant to bank on the Ranto last aggression to the thrilling of the audience as he made some passes as he used the muleta to attract the Ranto as well as wearing the him down for the kill. Most times Sammy went closer to the horn of Ranto but his speed and agility was very paramount to dodge the horns thrown at him. I think at this point the Ranto had begun to dizzled at the sight of the muleta with images appearing in multiples. The Sammy performed different dances with a fake sword made of wood or aluminium to entertainment of the audience.
The final series of the passes which marked the end of the game involved the matador to maneuver the Bull into a stabbing position between the shoulder blades but this time around with a steel sword called the ‘’estoque de verdad( real sword). Sammy target now was to piece the heart of the aorta or brutalise any other major blood vessel to induce quick death. Despite proper execution of his plan professionally, Ranto refused to fall down which made the angered Sammy to device another means to achieve his plan. Sammy changed to ‘’descabello’’; a sword like steel but much more a heavier dagger blade at the end of the steel rod and thrust the Bull between the cervical (neck) towards the spinal cord.
No animal could stand the treatment melted to the Ranto, he was tired and down. He knew the game was over as he struggled to stand to his feet but everything had fallen apart. He has long gone color blind and was just running around to take out anything along part with him. This scene lasted a couple of second as the crowd watched in admiration the most painful way for anything blood to die. Finally the Bull went down to his knees and finally fell flat groaning in pain.
‘’torturing animal for entertainment’’
The professionalism of the matador granted him the award of the two ears and tail of the Bull at the end as well denied that Bull to be granted a pardon called ‘’indulto’’ by the event president to Bull that fought bravely to return to the ranch for treatment.
Sammy was celebrated including Rose who couldn’t decipher my mood as I was so moody
‘’Don’t you like it’’ she asked. I was in no mood to talk as people started trooping out of the arena. Checking my time, l learnt I have spent three hours to see how a Bull was tortured and murdered with nothing to fight with to the admiration of human. From that day a had a freaky experience to join the animal right movement.
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