My nephew, Sean, sent me an article about the Arizona edition of the Running of the Bulls, much like the Pamplona, Spain event that has garnered much fame from being featured in the Ernest Hemingway novel, “The Sun Also Rises”. The premise behind this bull run is people running through the streets trying to avoid the raging bulls running behind them, all in the name of sport. Sean thought maybe it might make a good blog subject but I was initially unsure: how could I make a story about Running of the Bulls have a “parenting angle”? Enter my oldest son, Ryan.
I returned home from a trip visiting my mom and sister in Texas to find Ryan and his girlfriend, Brooke, waiting at my house. He asked about the trip, made some small talk about school and baseball, and then sprung it on me: he had run with the bulls. I was obviously taken aback by this news: was he kidding?
“No, Mom, I’m not kidding,” he contintued matter-of-factly. “Jason, his brother, and I all did it.”
My shocked response: “Why on Earth would you run with bulls?”
“Something to cross off the bucket list,” was his retort.
“More like a “kick-the-bucket” list,” I said, still in shock.
“That’s why I didn’t tell you first,” he admitted to me. Ah, the old “ask-for-forgiveness-instead-of-permission” tactic.
“What was it like?” I asked, not wanting to sound like I was condoning his actions, but curious about the event.
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“There were about 21 bulls, but they were smaller than the ones they use in Spain. They also had their horns shaved,” Ryan explained. “They’re not bred to fight, Mom,” he said as if that made it ok. He also explained that these bulls were not destroyed after the event, as they are in Spain.
I was still stunned by his stupidity. I realize Ryan and his friends like daring adventures; (skydiving has been mentioned more than a few times), however, this wasn’t anything I expected. The only item that gave me momentary relief was my knowledge that Ryan can run a mile in less than six minutes. My guess is having angry bulls chasing him only made that time a little bit faster.
Ryan then detailed the actual event and how the bulls were let loose and he and his friends took off on the dirt track. He laughed as he recounted how he had to scale the white fence around the perimeter to get out of the way of the bulls. Hysterical, I assured him sarcastically.
“Didn’t you have to sign a waiver?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” Ryan said. “It was like seven pages long. It said we couldn’t sue them for anything.”
“Ah, hello, you are on my insurance. If anything had happened to you…” I started.
“But it didn’t, Mom,” Ryan answered, almost as if I had nothing to worry about.
“I did think I was going to lose it in my shorts,” Ryan added.
Somehow, the Arizona version just lost all the romance of a Hemingway novel.