The Dance Of The Matador

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Have you ever been to a bullfight?

I have, as part of our trip to Mexico
when I was in the sixth grade.

The arena was filled with spectators.

Participants in the event entered
in a parade.

The bull was released into the ring.

The matador and banderilleros
tested the bull with a large red and
gold cape, observing its behavior.

Picadors on horseback stabbed the
bull with lances behind a mound of
muscle in its neck, leading to its
first loss of blood.

Each of three banderilleros planted
two sharp barbed picks into
the bull’s shoulders, further weakening
the animal.

The matador entered the ring alone
with a small red cape and sword.

He used the cape to maneuver the bull
into position to stab it between the
shoulder blades and through the heart.

Having performed especially well, the
matador was awarded one of the bull’s
ears.

During this choreographed slaughter,
I spent much of the time
staring at my feet.

I was conflicted throughout.

I wished no harm to come to the matador.
But I found myself quietly rooting
for the bull, who seemed to have all the cards
stacked against him.

In the past three years, three Mexican
states and some parts of Spain
have banned bullfighting,
declaring it barbaric and
cruel to animals.

An eleven-year-old could have
clued them into that some fifty plus years ago.