Should have scored from there” / “should have got a hand to that” / “should have looked up” / “should have made that substitution earlier” / “should have won that game”. You get the gist. What I find myself infuriated by is the implication that someone, somewhere, ‘should have’ done better. To most, I’m sure the seemingly harmless semantics of the broadcaster ‘on-the-hop’, are purely incidental to their overall enjoyment of a game. It’s just a particular way of voicing what, in their own opinion, amounts to: had the alternative options available been exercised, a more beneficial outcome may have resulted. But it gets on my nerves.
To me, the inference of the word ‘should’ is that certain elements of the sport are regarded by some as nothing more than the automated actions of a football-kitted vending machine. In dehumanising certain aspects of football, what those deviants using the word ‘should’ are in fact doing is depriving many of us (or possibly just me) of the much valued relatedness we find implicit in our love of the game.
I want the players and managers I support to be susceptible to all facets of the human condition: paralysed by self-doubt, enraged yet empowered by injustice, driven by their own narcissism, corrupted by the temptation to deceive, revelling in exacted revenge, foregoing their professionalism to embrace the inherent propensity in all of us to behave like a child – because it’s those things that make football brilliant.
Nothing extraordinary ever came from anyone doing what they should.
This was originally submitted as a Pet Hate here: #18 A commentator prefacing a statement with “Should have”. There are lots of other submissions by other bloggers there too, that you might like to read.