by Jerrad Peters
It begins as it always begins, because the pageant is always the same. There is a grand entrance and the grim-faced men come out and face the royal box. It is a great show and a grand paseo and the men stand expressionless and stone-jawed and the national anthem is played. The king stands, too, and he is also grim-faced. There is a great commotion in the plaza de toros and everyone is making a noise except the king and the men who have made the paseo. Then there is a whistle and the corrida has begun.
For a minute or two there is apprehension. This is the first act of the corrida and apprehension and caution and watchfulness precede the second act. The first act is vital because as la Roja experiment with the bull the matador is watching how the bull behaves and is learning its weaknesses. Iniesta and Fabregas and David Silva are the banderilleros and they goad the bull and make little passes and Xavi, like Belmonte, watches and thinks about the bull and learns its behaviour. Then the matador strides into the centre of the plaza de toros and makes five or six passes of his own. He is not yet looking to kill; he is testing what he has learned about the bull.
The kill is only a part of the pageant just as the banderilleros and later the picadors and all the acts are part of the pageant. If it is the most important part—the moment of truth—it is because it is the final part and the final act. To kill before the part of the pageant reserved for killing would be to dishonour the corrida and invite shame from those in the plaza who paid and who expect to see a pageant. If the bull is blind or depraved and must be killed before the final act then it must be killed and the next bull is awaited. But each bull must be given a chance to show its valour and the valour is what makes the pageant fascinating.
After the matador has made his passes the picadors enter the plaza and weaken the bull. Busquets and Xabi Alonso are two of the best picadors and if the bull has courage they will harass it and while it is harassed the matador will show it several passes. This is the quite and the harassment and occasional passing will tire the bull. If it is good and tired the banderilleros will have an easier time placing their banderillas and preparing the bull for the moment of truth.
When Iniesta and Fabregas and David Silva have probed the skin of the bull and coloured it with the banderillas it is time for the faena, the final act, and the matador returns to the centre of the plaza de toros with a muleta and a sword. The pageant has come down to the matador and the bull and while the outcome, barring a serious goring, is inevitable the killing must be done only after the matador has made his final, most impressive passes and prepared the bull to be killed.
With the red muleta the matador executes his passes and with each pass allows the bull to charge nearer his turning body. The matador is vulnerable but with each pass gains more control over the pageant, over the bull. The faena is truthful and captivating but it is also grim. The matador is expressing himself with his footwork and the movement of his body but his face remains severe. Only after the moment of truth will he, if he has killed well, allow a smile.
The bull is now tired and frustrated. It has been bled for several minutes and its energy is draining. The banderilleros have done their work well and the moment of truth has arrived. One last time the matador and the bull are engaged in a moment of honest mortality and then it is finished. Xavi’s final pass has found Jordi Alba and the final act has been completed. It was done well and clean and the plaza de toros knows it has witnessed a grim act done honourably.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
The Juventus jersey for the 2013/14 was released earlier this week. Be the first to wear the colors of the Old Lady.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.