Fear and Loathing at a Bull Fight in Madrid

Editor’s Note: This essay comes from a student who participated in a SUNY Cortland Sport Management study abroad program for two-weeks during the summer of 2017. Students travelled to Spain and Portugal. 

Twisting and turning.

My stomach is stuck in knots. Lots of knots.

As I walk into the stadium I am nervous and have no idea what to expect. We walk around forever to find our seats.

Nauseous. My stomach is messing with me, telling me things my brain doesn’t understand.

We walk up the concrete steps to find our bench surrounded by the locals of Madrid.

Roasted. I smell roasted nuts as concession workers hawk their food.

The sun has slowly been making its way down. It glistens in my eyes. I am not well. Nauseous. Sweating. Hot. But, now it’s time.

The bell rings and it gets eerily quiet. Horses start to walk around the ring carrying men in bright colors and holding spears.

Now come the Matadors. Lateral small black hats are placed on their heads. Glitter and bright pinks, oranges, and yellows are their apparel.

Everyone gets in place. Two horses with men appear, followed by four other men. The baby beast comes out. Big for its age. Strong for its type.

I am glued to the edge of my seat. I want to watch and keep my eyes shut at the same type.

The woman and her bilingual husband in front of me explain some of the basics about their culture. Her nephew she says, will be in the ring next and not to worry, this is entertainment.

Not to worry.

What do you mean not to worry? He will face something three times the size that could kill him. As I brace myself into my seat I see it. The weapon ever so slowly being lifted up in the air. BAM! Unreal. I am shocked.


Again it happens. And again a third time. The Matador violently spears the bull. Time after time, with no hesitation, they do this.

Blood. Bright. Red. Blood. Oozing out of this poor helpless animal. An animal, once a warrior, is now paralyzed and powerless. An amused crowd of hundreds of people are roaring. Celebrating the death of this bull.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.