For the first time today I went to the Bull Fights. As far as I know they are now mostly only held in Mazatlan during Carnaval, however, they are being held again in March so what do I know? But this was my first time and I was lucky enough to go with my friend Ada-Lou who is a big fan and could explain the whole thing to me.
I didn't know what to expect and I didn't know if I'd like it or not. From what I've heard from others you either love it or you will never attend it. I could have easily ended up on either side of the debate. But Ada-Lou loves it and anyone who knows her would think that was totally against her personality so off we went!
First of all, it's great to go with someone who knows when to go, how to get tickets, which bus to take etc. but it was really easy! And I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go two hours in advance as some had advised. We arrived about a 1/2 an hour before the fights were to start, were able to get tickets very easily, and got some great seats that weren't too crowded (and lucky for me no smokers were around me). The weather was great today and there was a nice breeze which was great because many suggest getting shaded seats but we were in the sun and were okay.
Now on to the fights. They were great! It was very entertaining and the skills of the horses are amazing. There were two Matadors - one was clearly world class and exhibited superior skills. Quite remarkable. As a novice to the "sport" I had lots of "stupid questions". In the end, what I couldn't wrap my head around was - how can this be a sport when the bull can never win? First of all, the bull goes, likely unsuspectingly, into a ring not with ten of his closest friends (like the Matador has) and knowing what to expect, but by himself. He brings his hoofs to a knife fight. And whenever he gets the upper hand, he is overcome by however many men with knives it takes to overcome him. As a logical thinker and someone who values fairness, it just didn't seem fair. In one of the four "fights' that took place tonight the bull actually won. The Matador was taken out of the ring, carried by others. Instead of the bull "winning" as what I think should have occurred, another Matador entered the ring and stabbed the bull to death. How is that fair? He won! Now I get that he was probably so injured at that point that it would likely be inhumane to keep him alive, but at least let him have a public celebration of his win and then do what you need to do out of the sight of the public to treat him humanely. I know my comments are controversial. I know bull fights in themselves are controversial. My comments are strictly related to the notion that if this is truly a sport, if there are truly winners and losers, then the bull has to have the ability to win some of the times. The way this "sport" is run - the bull can never win. And that to me is the tragedy. Not the fact that bulls die, because we kill cows for meat everyday. One of the best part of shows is when these guys (I asked what they were called in Spanish but I forget - it is late and I have been to Gus Gus since then). They go into the ring and charge the bull. Everytime, they get bucked by the bull. The front guy got hurt to varying degrees every time. I was shocked! It's hard to explain in words, but I thought if you got a bull's horns into you or were thrown by a bull you would surely die. They didn't! But the bull didn't win again! It is certainly my nievety but that's what I thought the bull's advantage was is that if he connected with you, you would either die from a punctured organ or you would be thrown into the air and your bones would be crushed but that didn't happen. Again, hard to explain, if you've never seen it. But all in all it was a great cultural experience. This is Mexico after all and it is part of their culture and one I was privileged to enjoy.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that on the bus ride home, a couple of women got on the bus and immediately said to me "You're the singer! You won! You're famous!" I didn't know what to say other than "Thank You". They later tapped me on the shoulder and asked "Do you get a lot of people coming up to you and saying that to you". I said, "Yes, but not for my singing - but I'm kind of a big deal around here (that's my saying - in jest)!". I think my friend Ada-Lou didn't know how to take it and I don't think my poor friends Melanie and Deb who are coming in the next few weeks know what to expect. All is fun in Mazatlan! In any event, I'm not famous like Hank is!!