Every late July, high in the Peruvian Andes, the village of Coyllurqui (coy-YOUR-key) celebrates Yawar Fiesta, or Blood Festival. This celebration is much like our 4th of July but with more blood. The highlight of the Fiesta is a bullfight that pits a few of the local lads against a bull. In order to stoke their courage, these amateur bullfighters suck down copious amounts of chicha, a locally produced corn liquor. Now, the folks in Coyllurqui want the bull really, really enraged for the fight and so, to make the bullfight uniquely outrageous, they capture a condor with a wingspan of seven feet or more, spruce it up and lash its feet to the back of the bull. Neither the condor nor the bull are happy with this arrangement.
First, the bull tries to shake the condor using all the usual bull tactics while the condor tries to peck the bull’s eyes out. Once this process is well established and both bull and condor are truly irritated, the local amateur bullfighters enter the arena with their chicha-pickeled brains and little red capes. At this juncture, bedlam ensues.
Animal lovers should know that the bull is not killed and neither is the condor, at least not on purpose, because a dead condor is considered a bad omen for the coming year and such a negative sign usually costs the local mayor–the host of the fiesta– his job. Most of the blood spilled and grisly deaths occur among the bullfighters, whose double vision and carefree approach to possible death parallels that of an American college freshman the night before the homecoming game.
One must give creative credit to these folks living high in the Andes where the air is very thin, a possible explanation for this particular wrinkle in bullfighting. Except for the seriously or mortally gored, everyone seems to have a whoppin’ good time. The snorting, screeching, flapping, pecking, goring, running, screaming and bleeding make for some serious entertainment craziness.
In contrast, some American sports are very low in their innate bedlam quotient: baseball and golf come immediately to mind. Both could use a shot of entertainment adrenalin.
Baseball does have its rare moments of excitement and mirth, usually experienced during the “bloopers” video that plays on the big screen between innings at the ballpark. The actual game of baseball is mostly spitting, sign giving, sign rejecting, scratching, desultory throws to first, protective cup adjusting, yawning and delivering new baseballs to the home plate ump. Nary a condor nor bull in sight.
Professional golf offers even fewer options for bedlam. In fact, crowd activity or celebrations of any kind are only allowed after a player has initiated a shot and these vocal demonstrations are suppressed “awwwwws” or “ooooohhhhs” followed by polite applause. A few boors in the crowd may actually yell something but virtually no one thinks that these jerks are mirthful, except for themselves. Strapping condors to their backs is an interesting thought.
Using the Coyllurqui method of creative thinking, I have some suggestions for how to improve the bedlam quotient of baseball and golf.
To liven up the routine baseball game, I would lash a turkey buzzard (America’s version of the condor) to the home-plate umpire’s shoulder. Besides creating an entertaining distraction for the ump and fun visuals for the fans, it would make his visits to the pitcher’s mound to break up player/manager conferences much more interesting. The buzzard would have new attack targets, whose eyes can be pecked at, gathered in a scrum. Second, I would dress the grounds crew in red and during the third and sixth inning infield dragging process, release an enraged bull from the center-field gate. The bull will be enraged by being forced to listen to John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” I’ll bet that even those people not much interested in baseball would pay to see this version.
Golf is more of a bedlam challenge. Here, I would institute two rule changes. First, every golfer would have the one-per-round option of loudly yelling “Bullfight!” during an opponent’s back-swing. If a player does not use this option during an 18-hole round, the option is carried over to the next official round, thus giving the player the chance to build up multiple “Bullfight!” shouts for important tournaments. Finally, all players and caddies would be required to drink a shooter of chicha (imported from Peru for the tournaments) after completing each hole. I predict that by the time they reach the seventh tee, players and caddies will be indiscriminately yelling “Bullfight” at each other and, like hockey, fisticuffs and wrestling matches will break out. If we could strap condors to the backs of obnoxious fans, it would be even more fun.
Further note for PETA people, the final event of the Yawar Fiesta is the releasing of the condor back into the wild. The condor then gathers the other local condors together on some precarious escarpment and shows them his or her gigantic silver “Champion Bull Rider” belt buckle.
Observoid of the Day: Cultured buttermilk may be socially skilled and have read all of the classics but it still isn’t really milk.