Another Week, Other Experiences.
Sunday night is bullfighting night on the telly box here in Algarrobo. Fight after fight. Now I know some right minded folk are entirely opposed to the whole concept of bullfighting but I commend those of an open mind to read Hemingway’s "Death in the Afternoon" which sets out the history, majesty and artistic aspects of the theatre that is the bullring, removed from the undeniably gory dimensions of the bloody encounters.
One fact from hundreds about the bullfighting encounters is that until the bull enters the ring it has not, in its entire pampered and cosseted life, seen a man stand on his own two feet. In all it’s life men will always have been on horseback. (Football coming in a moment) Bulls are extremely intelligent and if they see men on the ground before the fight (ever) they can work out the distinction between the man, how he moves and where he stands in perspective to the matador’s cloak which is always held to the side.
Any bull mistakenly exposed to a man standing is immediately removed from the prospect of fighting. Similarly all bulls fight only once, win or lose and for the same reason- they learn extremely quickly.
There is bravery on both sides in what is a gladiatorial contest that has links back to ancient times. It is a case of David and Goliath.
I have written previously about my miming and poor Spanish language attempts to find out who is the best Spanish born Goalkeeper and who is second best. Whenever I agreed with the gathered Hombres that Castilla was number one, I then asked who was number two? Meaning in my mind who was the reserve Goalkeeper? and that question if answered was to lead to me then asking what made Casillas better than (major que) the number two Goalie. (My investigations know no bounds on your behalf)
However, stumped again by my lack of language the locals thought I was asking about who was the best full back whenever I said "numero dos?". Puyol! They kept saying: Puyol! Puyol!
Now Puyol is indeed a stunner of a player but not the most handsome. He is a Goliath with the guile of a David, he is the bull with the knowledge of the Matador. Unlike Casillas he is not exactly joven (young) but he is Rubio (blond) and he has something Casillas does not have, curls!
He is a bull in the tackle but looked at as a neutral he is full of skill around his patch with the air of the Matador-supremely confident in his abilities and determined to achieve the best outcome for the team.
He shows the type of leadership every Manager wants in his team, not a shouter or bawler or bully, but leading by example, by 100% effort, by grit and skill. He rampages when needed but usually his method is firm tackle, (Bull) followed by swift distribution, (Matador).
He is not a glory boy but a he is what Princess Diana would have called a rock around which the defence of the national and his club team are designed.
He may not be a good looker ready for the shampoo commercials, nor is he one for the Wilkinson Sword smooth chin poster boys (even with the Tiger Woods current vacancy) but in a fair world of matching sporting talent to products he should be used to advertise Tonka Trucks, 4 wheel drives, rump steaks or fork lift trucks, not necessarily at the same time.
Rough but always ready, he is a solid player + skilful player + team player = Puyol. The Bull who can make it through the china shop without a booking!
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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