You have to wonder that at some point the bull comes to the conclusion that something awfully wrong is going on. After about six minutes of galloping around the ring chasing a big pink cape, plowing into an enormous horse and having a lance stuck in its back several times certainly these thoughts must come to mind: “This is not what I planned on doing when I woke this morning.” And he’s right, because in about fifteen minutes, he’ll be dead.
Unless fate has something.
You see, up to this stage, the experts have been eying the animal carefully and pointing out its strong points as well as its weaknesses. They analyze the size of its neck, its horns, its musculature. They watch how it runs, how it charges, how and when it lifts its head, and so on, all to test how it will perform as the encounter progresses. If any major defects appear, i.e., unquestionable signs of weakness, the crowd begins to get restless and protest. They whistle, shout, wave their white handkerchiefs and beg the president for a change. If he agrees, then he tosses a green handkerchief out and the bull gets yanked from the ring. To get him out, a team of steers trots out onto the arena and lure him back into the corral. Disgraced, possibly, but still alive. But he doesn’t know the difference.
This is not the case for most bulls. In a sense, we are at the point of no return. Once you’ve made it that far, there is no turning back.
Stage Two: the banderillas.