Once everything has settled down, the heavy wooden gate swings open and a few seconds later a mammoth beast appears often snorting and looking like it’s ready for business. They usually come out at this point with the cocky attitude that so characterizes them throughout the world, as if to say, “That’s right. I’m bad. What fool is looking to mess with me?” Within a few seconds, though, the true nature and stature of the bull comes to light. Many start charging around wildly at anything that moves, making a great impression on the crowd but at the same time tiring itself out. I can assure you that this is intentional. Others trot around with a look on their face that says, “What the hell is going on here?” Which makes sense, because they have been plucked from some remote field and dumped into an arena surrounded by 20,000 onlookers…looking upon them. And if you’re Ferdinand the Bull, you just sit your butt down and smell the flowers while the matadors futilely try to rouse into chasing them around. I have never quite seen that, but I do recall a couple of occasions in which the animal would wander back to the way it came in…but this time there is a difference: the gate is shut. That kind of bums me out because you can sense that the animal is scared and doesn’y like the looks of things and yet its fate is practically sealed.
Most bulls, however, enjoy a vigorous sprint towards a lare pink cape known as the capote, that’s right, as in Truman. In this preliminary stage, the bull charges full steam at the cape whose owner takes the time to show off a little and at the same observe the behavior of the animal. This is the moment to decide whether or not it should continue…if I were the bull and understood the rules of the game, I know what I’d pick.