If it hadn’t been for…

My other blogs are quite specific in nature, for example teaching French or reflecting on the nature of golf.  This new one is a bit more general – ok, a lot more general – and just aims to record some thoughts about odd things that you notice in life.

This isn’t supposed to suggest that I think I’m witty or wise.  I’m just a very ordinary person.  It’s true that a relative told me that I was very self-indulgent (her words, not mine) for doing my French blog, although I have to say I think that was pretty silly.  On this one she might have more of a point!  But I do hope these observations strike a chord with others – and if I fail to see an obvious point, I’m sure someone will let me know.

I mean, there are a couple of sports expressions which commentators and players often use, which are totally nonsense. For example, in football (soccer):”the final pass kept going astray”.  Of course, it did – that’s why it was the final pass.  If the ball had reached the intended target there would have been a chance for another pass (which may or may not have turned out to be the final one).  But the commentators always speak as if that one would have clinched it.

And then there’s the other reflection along the lines of “If he hadn’t missed those two chances the score would have been 3-1, not 1-1.” ; or “If the winger had scored that [rugby] try the result would have been a draw, not a narrow defeat”.

Well, this is make-believe.  Take the last type of example.  The winger failed to score, and maybe as a result there was a scrum near the corner flag with a lot of general excitement and all the players lined up in a certain way.  But if he had scored, all the players – all 30 (or 26) of them – would have been in different positions, many of them taking a breather while one kicker set up a conversion attempt.  And when the game eventually re-started it would have been from the half-way line.  So from that point on nothing in terms of players’ positions on the field would be the same, not to mention their  mindsets.  

The same applies of course to the football example.  The outcomes, depending on whether a shot hit the post or went into the net, are entirely different, and nothing else would have been the same for the rest of the match.  In fact, any subsequent goals might well not have happened, because everything would have been different. 

But it wouldn’t give the managers much to complain about, would it?


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