Rays of sun bathe the sandstone stadium. Crowds cheer in excitement while clouds of dust fly from the swift moving feet of bodies. They dance across the dirt stage. The crowd looks on but they are preoccupied. They eagerly wait for the drama’s finale. The dust clouds vanish into the blue summer sky and all is silent.
An Iron Gate rises from the right of arena to reveal a man dressed in gold and black carrying a cape of scarlet. He’s fearless as he approaches his adversary. The crowd greets him with sweet applause, like a hero summoned to vanquish a villain.
The man stops and stares into the black bulls eye of his enemy. A bull, as dark as a moonless sky, returns the man’s stare while heaving a heavy sigh. The man stands formidably waiting for his move. In a fit of rage, the bull charges at him with the fury of hell. The hero patiently waits and as his enemy reaches the scarlet fabric, he flawlessly brushes it over the bull’s sharp horns and strikes. Injured, the enemy trounces around the dirt floor of the stage and meets eyes again with the man dressed in gold.
Yet again the bull charges, enraged even more but not a care is in his heart. He knows he rages to his imminent death. Again, he’s struck! The bull, taking his last steps wishes he fought the good fight. He, unlike the hero, lives for the applause; applause not granted to him despite his effort. He’s vanquished.
The crowd erupts with cheers. They scream, “matador!” in utter admiration and throw delicate roses at his feet. They love him and he soaks up every morsel. As he exits stage right and the Iron Gate falls, he looks back and sees his motionless opponent. “A worthy effort, but not today my good friend,” he mutters with a twinge of reverence. He pays his homage and walks to greet the remaining day.
A good friend, and fellow member of matador encouraged me to look up matador’s definition. I thumbed through my small bookcase and came across the American Heritage College Dictionary. Upon opening it, I thumbed through each page until coming to the proper one, took my finger and searched each printed letter until I found, “matador”. Here’s what it said:
1.) A bullfighter who performs the final passes and kills the bull.
2.) One of the highest trums in certain card games.
Origin (Spanish; matar, to kill; Latin: matâre, to beat senseless)
Today, the word “matador” is much more than the definition provided by dictionaries. Matador is a symbol of adventure, of the formidable passion to explore and discover. It’s the person who gathers the courage to boldly stare in the eyes of the bull that is fear and say, “a worthy effort, but not today my friend.”
We dance with the bull of life: the chaos it presents, the great mysteries that surrounds it and yet, we continue to dance.
We are the matadors: the believers, the dreamers, and the travelers who see adventure where others see insanity. It is not the applause from the crowd that we seek, rather we dare to be bold and follow the paths less traveled in order to seek. It’s about being on the stage of life, dancing with fear, and all the while, embracing our inner spirit.
We are the matadors!