Peru saw him born, but Spain raised him. Maybe too fast. Andres Roca Rey He fought his first calf when he was seven years old. Now it fills the places with 25 and is lined up with the main figures. Such a meteoric rise had not been remembered for a long time. He is an overwhelming bullfighter with an overflowing personality and heartbreaking courage. He admits at one point he thought about what he was doing in this world, but his doubts dissipate when he steps into the most burning land in the ring, his true homeland.
-You are eagerly awaited. The last time he made a paseo in Las Palomas, he forgave a Santi Domecq bull.
The last afternoon I fought in Algeciras was very special. It’s often said in interviews that afternoons are special, to the point where the word loses its value, but in this case it really was. I was indeed lucky enough to forgive a bull. This is always exciting. So the idea of going back and repeating a passionate afternoon like last July excites me.
-Since childhood, you have lived an adult life due to your decision to become a bullfighter. Did you sacrifice a lot?
No one forced me to be a bullfighter when I was a kid. I was blind to the bulls, as others loved football. It was what filled me the most and made me feel great. But when I started this profession in earnest at the age of ten, I realized that there are very few people my age. The teachers, the people I work with, the teams… they were all older than me. So there were times when I felt alone. Looking back now, I appreciate it. Being surrounded by experienced people, I was able to learn from them and did not expect anything bad to happen to make a mistake.
– Why are you risking your life? Is it for the money or are there more decisive reasons?
It’s nice to have money, I won’t deny it. However, the ambition to be the best outweighs even more. After all, these two reasons will simply remain lame, because I don’t think anyone would risk their life either to be the best or for money. At least in my case. At any moment a bull can hurt you and kill you. Am I ready to lose my life for money? Is it because you are the best? No. I think it goes even further: it’s a feeling, a philosophy of life, a passion. Other questions motivate you, but deep reasons are different. Even if I don’t fight, this philosophy of life accompanies me every day. I also feel like a bullfighter on vacation and that makes me happy.
-And isn’t the ambition to be the best sometimes faltering with the passing seasons, troubles, and gorging?
I risk my life for an emotion, but sometimes people stop feeling. And yes, it has happened to me many times, at some point, I stopped feeling and asked myself: what am I doing here? Many times I even considered retiring despite my short time on the job. I am a normal and ordinary person and therefore I have doubts in my mind. Then as the days go by, I realize that if I don’t fight, something is missing in my life. It would be sad and absurd for me to live without a fight.
-You have officially chained cervical hernia with the epidemic. For all this, he spent months without getting dressed in the lights. How did you deal with all this?
-I felt very bad. Fatal. It’s something that makes you happy when accidents happen and you’ve been out of the ring this long, when you realize something is missing. When you fight every day, even if you succeed, you want to take a break. It’s happening because you’re living it. When a person has something as much as he wants every day, he desires the opposite. I learned a lot during the injury and the pandemic. And although I admit that I was afraid that things would not be the same after Covid-19, I came out stronger. Or when would it end? Also, I don’t think life is exactly the same now. But I think it’s good that the next day isn’t the same as yesterday. If you live with this mindset, you will free yourself from worries.
How do you see the future of bullfighting?
-Sometimes, to be honest, I’ve seen the future suck, black. Especially in times of pandemic. But now I see fans walking around, bullfights and fairground desire… People have been locked up for a long time and want to get out. It also impresses me to see so many young people in the squares excited for bullfighting. There were times when young people, even some of my friends, thought bullfighting was a thing for old, serious, boring people. And of course the world of the elderly, of course a very serious world, but not boring. The world of bullfighting is for everyone, for people of all ages, social classes and ideologies.
Does the fear increase or decrease over the years?
-When a bull catches you, you must overcome your fear. You have to convince yourself that he will never catch you again. On the contrary, if you are in a good moment, if you are calm, that fear is still there, but you know how to deal with it differently. It all depends on the moment each bullfighter passes. Maybe I was more scared when I was younger than I am now. But in three years, who knows. Life is changing and there are days when you fear more than others.
What would you do on Friday night if you didn’t have to fight the next day?
– If I don’t fight on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, if I don’t fight in two weeks, I go the same way with my friends. I also like to go out and have fun. Although my life is definitely not normal. I am very demanding of myself, I like discipline and focus on what I need to be.
– Is the legend that the bullfighters’ hotels are surrounded by women waiting for their return from the arena still true?
-That’s what I want: to have many women waiting.
– But is it easier to conquer a woman who is a bullfighter?
– There are bullfighters who flirt and those who don’t. Depends on how smart and how romantic you are. If you like a woman, you don’t have to be a bullfighter to pick her up. It sounds very rude. Going as a beautiful person, what you do doesn’t define you. Fall in love with him as a person, not as a bullfighter.
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