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"El Juego del Torro"
Wed, 21 Mar 2001

Another ViewPoint by Jim
"The Bull Fight"

As I have traveled over the years in Mexico I have struggled to come up with an explanation of the psychic of the people. The nation seems to have two sides. On the one hand are the plazas. They are adorned with trees and flowers, surrounded by quaint shops that beckon the weary traveler to rest for a while and enjoy the beauty that envelops him. The music of the people floats through the air affecting one's demeanor as a tonic prescribed by the physician, that brings sweet rest to the soul.
But something happens when the average Mexican driver enters his car. All bets are off. A drama very different begins to unfold. One of the ancient events of the people - imported from Spain over 500 years ago - was the bullfight. The bullfight allows the common man to set aside his labors for a few hours and permits the passion of the battle between matador and bull to fill his senses. Nothing compares with the thrill of the battle between beast and man. The one ton toro charging the matador, passing within only inches, excites the senses in a way that none other can. Cheating death is the name of the game. "Bravo!!! Bravo!!! the people cry. With only inches to spare the matador is victorious and the bull pays with his life. Chalk this one up for the matador. But once in a while the conclusion is very different and el toro wins the battle. Now, the matador must pay the price. He has laid his life on the line and El Torro exacts his payment - if not death then severe injury may ensue.

I know the game sounds barbaric, but without the possibility of such a high payment, the thrill of victory for the matador would not exist. I am persuaded that this spectacle is not confined to the bull ring but is carried out in the everyday life of the people. The training begins early in life. The children, usually boys, by the time they are ten or so have become adept at the game. With their bicycles they weave in and out of the heavy traffic of the city - always within inches of death. As long as they are successful and cheat the bull, they are praised. "Bravo!!! Bravo"!!! They are to be honored as much of a man. The matador wins again.

With time the stakes get higher and the battle more intense. The next step is the motorcycle, that goes faster and is able to weave in and out of the narrow streets of the cities more successfully. Next come the cars, the buses and the trucks. All this on streets built for horses and buggies. Closer and closer the vehicles are compacted. In order to play the game correctly you must be within only inches. A foot or so just wonīt do. The closer to death the driver gets the more respected he is. His lack of fear to challenge death is revered.

Now I donīt have a degree in psychology, and this is simple my personal observation, but one doesn'tīt have to look far to see the mentality of the bull fight at work. The bus must meet its schedule. The size of the vehicle gives it an advantage as it plows its way though the maze of smaller cars. The adept matador maneuvers with in inches of his competition. Surely you will hear the schreeching of tires and the scraping of vehicle against vehichle. My eyes are closed. I am listening for the certain impending disaster that will surely occur. But no, somehow in the time it takes to open my eyes, each driver has unentagled himself without incident. No one seems to be any worse for the ware, and they rush forward, seeking to participate in another game with el toro.
"El Toro!!! El Toro!!! Bravo!!! Bravo!!!. Next from the side street a motorcycle suddenly appears. The tope installed to slow the traveler momentarily in his jorney has failed its purpose. The workman had allowed a small passage, a break in the speed bump, just enough for a bicycle or motorcycle to continue unabated through the intersection. Sliding sideway with his trusty mount he cheats torro once more and proceeds to his next encounter.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year - in the streets of the cities, in small town and in autopistas, the game goes on, as it has for hundreds of years. "Toro!!! El Torror!!!" "Bravo!!!Brovo!!!". For the game, you see my friend. is life itself. The story can be told a million times in places far and near. Some we win and some we lose. But we dare not stop for we must push on, that the victory, however small, might be ours.
Toro awaits, for time is on his side and sooner or later he will win the game. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable." It is in Christ that we can be victorius both now and forever. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men."