Having only seen bullfights on television, I hadn't realized that what I had seen were the highlights of the "contest" between man and beast. Judging from the experience we had watching in person in Puerto Vallarta, the reality of the "sport" is that there is very little sportsmanship involved. The bull was teased and aggravated by a number of men who hid behind walls and briefly exposed themselves to taunt the bull until he raced toward them. At that time, they quickly turned and hightailed it behind the wall again. After tiring the bull in this manner, one "brave" matador came forward and addressed the bull from a safe distance. He waved his cape at the bull and stepped aside in plenty of time to avoid being struck by the bull, each time looking to the crowd for applause and admiration. After a little while, riders on horses with extensive padding entered the bullring and proceeded to wound the bull with sharp instruments designed to stick in the bull's upper back and slowly bleed and thus weaken the animal. When the matador believes the bull is sufficiently weakened, he returns to the ring to challenge the bull to a fight to the death. We were there on a day when four such matches were scheduled. At this point of the first match, the matador had underestimated the strength of the bull. The matador approached to taunt the bull with his cape as before, but this time the bull hooked the matador's legs and threw him into the air over the bull's head. Immediately, several other matadors came to the fallen gladiator's rescue, drawing the bull's attention away without getting very close themselves. Eventually the original matador regained his composure and tentatively resumed his place in the arena. Unfortunately, so much time had elapsed and so much of the bull's blood had been lost that the "contest" was all but over. The matador attempted to slay the bull with a long sword and missed the mark twice before finally sinking it into the bull's body up to the hilt. The bull staggered briefly, refusing to fall before finally collapsing in a heap. The proud matador bowed to the crowd, expecting much applause, but had to settle for a very small amount of praise. What we witnessed that day was very disappointing for us, although we realize that it may have been the exception to the rule. We left before the second "contest" began.