Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin is used to chasing down quarterbacks who scurry when he darts unblocked in their direction. However, between July 7th and July 14th at 8 a.m., rockets will be released and Babin will be the sprinting in the opposite direction of an even bigger foe. He'll be pursued by charging half-ton bulls at Pamplona, Spain's annual Running of the Bulls.
The Kentucky Derby's most exciting two minutes in sports doesn't hold a candle to the frantic and dangerous 131 seconds that the Running of the Bulls provides. The history of Spain's Running of the Bulls traces back to the beginning of bullfighting in Pamplona in 1385. It became tradition to run the animals throughout the city beforehand. While the Running of the Bulls has taken place since 1592, live people weren't introduced to the equation until sometime in the 1800's.
Babin means that literally, as many runners partake in the running after a night of copious drinking and partying. However, alcohol plays a large part in injuries and participating in the run while tipsy is prohibited but difficult to enforce.
Everyone thinks it's dangerous and hazardous,Babin said. But it's not if done correctly and soberly.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and other teammates are concerned about the Eagles defensive back's safety. One cause for concern for Babin or anyone considering running with the Bulls is while nobody has been killed since 2009, 15 people have been killed in the last century and dozens people are injured each year after getting gored, trampled or from running on the slippery cobblestone road.
According to most observers, Americans are most likely to get injured because they don't understand simple rules to avoid getting injured. For example, John Rhodes of BullRunning.com told the Los Angeles Times, If you fall down, stay down in the fetal position.
It's better to be trampled by six bulls than to be gored by one. said Rhodes. This has saved many lives.
However, the images on television often exaggerate the scale of the race.
All in all, most runners generally last 15 to 20 seconds which is approximately three times longer than the average NFL play and the bulls only run a distance of 900 yards between the fenced off course. Only six bulls are released each day along with eight oxen with bells around their necks. Two more oxen are released afterwards to run any slower bulls along.
Americans come here with the image of The Sun Also Rises and just don't realize how dangerous it is and how easy it is to trip up, Daniel Ross, an American vice consul in Spain, told the New York Times.
Hopefully, Babin has been doing research and can use his 4.6 speed because compared to the bulls in Pamplona, his 260 pound frame and weight room strength won't mean a thing if he gets sacked by a bull twice his size.