In a world in which people are constantly looking for new peaks and superlatives, it is not surprising that commentators also reach into this “bag of tricks” and try to inflate things for the purpose of attracting particularly large audiences. So if there are about eight “finals” and “five games of the year” for each team per season, and at the same time this applies almost monthly at least once for some other game, this is a perfectly permissible exaggeration. Today the spectator should be there. Today is important. Today is pure drama and excitement. Today is the day. Today is par excellence “the game”. You have to watch it. So far, so good.
This is the positive direction. A “Game of the Year” would theoretically sound implausible at some point if you only had it last month and the reader/viewer remembers – but it’s hardly likely that people won’t watch it because of this exaggeration. You might say to yourself, “Gee, now they’re exaggerating a bit. That one last month, that was the game of the year. This one is important, sure, I watch it too, but it’s not “Game of the Year”. In this respect: permissible exaggeration that does no harm.
Since it is shown here that the reporting everywhere has far more than just negative tendencies, but that these outweigh the negative, this trend of searching for new superlatives has now unfortunately crept in over decades in a negative sense – and is firmly anchored there. Of course, the question raised here in this context is again gladly, if slightly rephrased: “Cui bono.” Who benefits? Is the viewer to be lured in front of the screen because he can observe a particularly large increase in inadequacies today, like in “Oops, the Breakdown Show”? So that they can have a good laugh at how awkwardly these highly paid creatures drag themselves across the pitch, sneak, and even when they have the ball they can’t even get it more than 5 metres to their team-mates in this “mis-pass festival”?
Just think about this kind of exaggeration for a moment: The mispass festival. There, it can be assumed, the greatest artists in mispassing meet every year (!) and give us an insight into how badly everything can still be played? The highlight of the evening is when a player fails to get a resting ball to his teammate from one metre, breaks his foot instead and knocks out a few of his teammate’s teeth in the process. Well, that’s where we’re all going, isn’t it? It’s just a pity that there are ten such festivals all over Germany on the same day(!) – if the commentators’ words are to be believed.
When a team is leading 3:0 in a match and the other side is understandably a little disappointed and losing strength, apart from the “all men forward” tactic ordered by the coach after the 0:2, about 15 minutes before the end, this has already resulted in the 3rd goal: 0 and now, in the final minute, a breakthrough is made against a defence that has been relieved of most of its offensive duties, so that the 4:0 is actually in the offing, and the chance is converted, then it would be absolutely sufficient from the reporter’s point of view to accept this as a pleasing encore for the neutral spectator, since, if one is not spoilt by suspense about the outcome, one is at least prepared to be pleased about a goal here or there. Instead, however, attention is drawn to the chicken hawk that wants to call itself a defence or, even better and nowadays almost customary, whereas in the past it might have been left to a training game comparison, it is paraphrased with “in training you have far more trouble scoring a goal there.” Yes, that’s the boost that makes it really vivid – if you still had a listener willing to laugh at that incredible great wordplay, or listen at all. Selling expected hair-raising mistakes accompanied by scurrilous gloating and schadenfreude as a ratings argument is unlikely to cut it in the long run (in the opinion expressed here it doesn’t either, it’s just hard to argue with possible lost ratings).
Similarly, when once (well, no question, the score was 0:2) the poor tackling of one team was chalked up – a very popular statement, which is almost always applicable and “reveals” almost nothing except the score (of course, it is the cause, but…) — the good man was keen to confirm this statement a bit more vividly. “How they fight the duels, no, that’s not duel management, oh, you can’t call that duel management. How they avoid the duels.” Yes, that’s how you know … exactly who’s leading. That’s how it becomes vivid. That’s how you make things vivid. And how right he is. You really don’t want to see something like that, such a mess. That’s why I’d like to give you the (so) intended advice: Don’t look, don’t listen, switch off. Thank you, long since done.
However, an effect has set in, which strangely enough, within the framework of the (negative) addiction to exaggeration, misses the intended goal of magnifying gloating. From a purely logical point of view, it is even weakened. Well, this might at least be a little pleasing. But only if it were meant to be. But it certainly isn’t. It’s more about a kind of lack of understanding, which extends from football to logic and grammar, on the part of the person saying it. Here’s a small collection of recent (repeated) exaggerations of inadequacies over the course of a weekend:
If you reflect on these word constructs for a moment, what do you find? Yes, all negative, no question. Surely the author chose them in a mean way?! And the “super cool to the power of three” or “this one will be submitted for the vote for the most precise cross of the year” or “more than perfectly delivered”, or the “circles the ball into the net with millimetre precision, no, nanometre precision, oh what am I saying, picometre precision”, he has dutifully omitted these, the naysayer.
No, these were not heard, the exaggerations in the other direction and any recording that would produce something like this in German could later serve as evidence — apart from its growing value — so keep it carefully and well! Or send it in!
No, what else is striking about it? It is best to go through the word formations one by one:
If “too hasty” is mentioned in a conclusion, then it is first clear, as usual, what has happened: an attacker has failed to make use of a chance (the “failed to make use of” is conventional. today it is called “wasted”, “missed miserably”, “stumbled” and quite modern and “state-of-the-reporter-art” at present “he left the chance”). Sure. But how big the chance was remains open. The one so harshly criticised was certainly anxious to close quickly before the gap closed again, a defender was with him or at all. You don’t get much time or space in football, much less at the highest level. Moreover, we know, of course, that if he had sunk it, he would not have received the praise of the “super cool”, but rather the catastrophic positional, allocation or coverage errors would have been rubbed in the noses of the defenders, if the so hackneyed – by word creation and content – “collective deep sleep” had not been insinuated. No, it’s all clear and the (rather reporter’s) rule that arbitrarily transparently reveals total cluelessness. A “clue” could only be attested in the case of differentiations; so it is rather only tapes that could be put up just as arbitrarily according to the score and outcome of individual actions.
But there is something else that is striking about it: it is in itself an inadmissible intensification. Grammatically speaking. If it were possible to increase it, it should (can) read: Überhaste, überhasteter am Überhastensten. This is simply not possible. The prefix “über” already contains the intensification. “Hasty”, “overhasty”, “overhasty”, which is identical with “too hasty”, but not “too overhasty.” It just doesn’t work.
Well, if this were the only problem, it would still be harmless. One would have to call it: journalistic exaggeration, which is also allowed to be expressed in new creations, for entertainment purposes. They are not only permissible but even desirable in themselves. The man could still dismiss the fact that it now goes into the negative as an “individual case”, as I said, referring to the above, inverted exaggerations. Example: “The word sensation needs an intensification. How about sensationst.” when someone is freaking out with excitement.
No. It is a permissible form of exaggeration, which would be chalked up here merely because every such creation runs in the direction of increasing inadequacy. And thus would not only be wrong, stupid, pompous, unsuitable, not worth listening to, inappropriate, but would actually run counter to his goal of captivating as many viewers as possible to the programme (for which the programme director would now again be responsible to pay attention to).
No, the bigger problem with what he achieves with his intended attempt to increase is that he logically misses his target. Let it roll off the tongue again – because it’s just so gloriously bad: “Too rushed.” Compare it very briefly with if he had simply said “overhasty”. Did the prefix “too” have an increasing effect compared to “too hasty”, or did it not? Let’s get to the point. Which is worse: “overhasty” or “too overhasty”? The assertion now: “too rushed” is less bad than just “rushed”.
If the sensation does not immediately arise, here is a logical examination of it:
Suppose there were a scale on which to examine this property. Since there is not a suitable term for every condition, one could simply classify everything that is not noticeable as “normal”. Neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil. Normal. Not too loud, not too quiet, not worth mentioning, normal. The term “overhasty” could perhaps be contrasted with “cool”? Just compare: one striker tries to finish quickly, the other one delays, looks, gets the ball right – and puts it in. “Cool” the second, “rash” the first? Yes, that would work, it’s conceivable. So there is a scale from cool — normal — overhasty.
Since the attempt is made here to make gradations, there is therefore a “very cool”, an “uppercool” a “coolest”, right at the top. Then there’s a whole range of “normal”, though conceptually nothing fits well here. “Very normal” could be said, but then it would be rather, since it refers to “normal”, as close to the middle as possible and not at the top end. Very well. It would be the same for overhasty. Very overhasty, about less overhasty, hardly overhasty. All possible gradations, made measurable.
As soon as one speaks of “too overhasty”, one automatically makes “overhasty” the normal state. In other words: if it had only been “overhasty”, it would have been normal, i.e. not wrong or bad. This scene was only remarkable because this man was “too hasty”. The speaker has, so to speak, shifted the scale of measurement and not considered the terms “cool” and “normal” at all. For him, through this word creation, there is only the scale “overhasty” on which he has to rate. This one was hardly overhasty, so very good. The next one was “normally overhasty”, well, just, normal, not worth mentioning. This one, the last one we are talking about, was guilty of an offence worth mentioning, he was “too rushed”.
If one looks at the distance from normality, which the speaker intended to increase, then he has reduced it (if the scale as a whole always remained the same). The distance between “normally overhasty” and “too overhasty” is in any case smaller than that – on the overall scale – between “overhasty” and “normal”. The attempted increase in malice has failed.
It is the same with “too imprecise”. “Inaccurate” would suffice if one wanted to point out a failure. When one says “too imprecise”, it virtually legalises the “imprecise”, because the “too” only compares it with “imprecise” and not with “precise”. It wasn’t imprecise at all, it was a little imprecise, it was very imprecise (well, that’s just fine), it was too imprecise. Oh, we have to mention that. The normal imprecise would pass. There would be no point in saying it.
Of course, the considerations made also apply to all the other creations. Still, it’s fun to keep looking at them: “Too complicated”. Yes, it’s the same over and over again. The hope, it seems, is that an attack will reach a successful conclusion. You imagine that, somehow, the now to the, now faster, it should arrive, it shows itself there, yes, there with the ball and on it and in. But the defenders are still there and intervene, thus fulfilling their task. He covers the one who is still free, he runs with him, he attacks. The dream of the combination does not come true. One way or the other.
An attacker waits with a face-off because he would also have the fantasy that he would have to get the lying ball with his heel over his own head exactly into the run of his teammate and the latter could chase it into the triangle with a bicycle kick, but he also knows that he would not succeed at first go, if ever, let alone the consequences would be assured. So he hesitates, looks, where is the teammate. And, not unusually for an attack, he becomes nothing like that. It doesn’t become a goal. That applies to far more than 90% of all attacks. So it wouldn’t come to anything in the other case either. The smart aleck speaks up: “Too complicated.”
Yes, you could always ask the speaker what the right action would be now and exactly how the attack would have to continue so that he would be satisfied with it. He would also answer, here you go, sure, yes, “He was standing there on the left, completely free…” or something like that. Only if it happened — the defence would be to blame again anyway and would have to reckon with his increased efforts by being “too unfocused” in the situation, for example. Well, it just doesn’t work. But it is also certain: with this attempted increase he got nothing out of it in the negative sense.
“Too central” also shows it a little better. So you get a ball on goal, which should surely be the dream goal of every attack according to the coaches. Because a) the ball can hardly go in if it doesn’t hit the goal, b) only a few attacks end with a shot on goal, according to the old school of football you are actually already content with a finish even if it misses, and c) maybe it will go in at some point if you try often enough. But to declare “too central” a weakness is simply nonsense. “Central, more central, most central.” No, the finish was on goal, a primary goal achieved. It takes more than that to strike. There’s no question about that. Because even placed shots are parried often enough. Only then it would be said that “the lack of chances” was to blame. Just like that, instead of praising the successful, good finish. When he scores, you know what you’re going to hear. And lately the Jabolani ball is supposed to be responsible when the keeper lets one slip through…. presumably on the model of the railway barrier…
Might as well point it out with “too half-hearted”. Because actually, in comparison to “too central”, for example, here one already introduces a value measure, a value number. With half the heart. Less than half the heart would be, for example, three-eighths of a heart. Well, because it’s so funny: “twenty-six and fifty-third hearts”. How about that? That is very, very close to “half-hearted”, but could perhaps already be “too half-hearted”? Or where does it start? At “two-sevenths-hearted” perhaps? It doesn’t work. And it doesn’t achieve a heightening effect. You could call it “fizzled out gloating”. The word creation was clearly too ill-considered, and if you think about it carefully, it comes to the man’s defence. Even if only minimally and to that extent inadvertently….
The frequently heard “too harmless” also gloriously demonstrates the pointlessness of this construct. For if one only said “harmless”, at least one thing would be guaranteed: The attacks would not score a goal, if they did score one, then it would be by chance and, moreover, guaranteed to score less than the opponent (well, logically, with clear favourites it can happen that it is said even if the number of goals is the same). The attack is harmless, the storm is harmless. Negative as it is, if by chance it really should be true for once, then it would definitely do justice to the facts. The “too harmless” elevates the “harmless” to the standard and thus achieves no increase.
It has been said very often recently that the team or even an individual player is “too passive” in a duel. Of course, the same applies here as with any other “too” construct: the increase does not make sense, but rather weakens it. One could only philosophise about “too passive” to the extent that it is always used when an attack either actually leads to a goal or at least brings the highest danger (where, in the case of repeated failure, the attack is then dubbed “too harmless”, of course, thus simply, as usual, both teams are bad, and much too much too much bad). However, at least in a Bundesliga match, where the commentator is supposed to be neutral (which he is not in that sense anyway, since only the catastrophic mistakes on both sides catch his eye) and he is supposed to be happy about a successful attack with a goal action, he should at the same time convey this joy to the viewer/listener. From time to time, one should remember Sepp Herberger’s saying that one always plays as well as the opponent allows, which also applies to an individual duel. If the attacker has the better means in an individual case and actually escapes his opponent with a feint, gets the cross into the penalty area or even fires the ball towards the goal, then one should a) accept it with thanks and b) enjoy the better response of the striker. For one should not deny that almost always the defenders have the better means due to the need to prevent.
“Too easy” is really not to be put in the category, because there is both an intensification — easy, simpler, easiest – and actually the phenomenon. Sometimes something is just “too easy”. It is no longer fun. You have a puzzle in front of you, you have prepared the popular cup of coffee (no, tea, it has to be tea!) and you are looking forward to the popular quiet hour “just for yourself”. When the puzzle is solved in five minutes, you sit there with your seven-eighths cup of tea. Hmm. I’m glad I figured it out. I must be a genius. But it’s a shame there’s nothing left to puzzle about now. Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick one with a higher degree of difficulty? That was “too easy”. Exactly.
Applied to football and reporting, it is only mentioned in this chapter because “too easy” is always used precisely when one of the other attributes is not applicable. So if the dream of a successful shot on goal was realised, and neither too complicated nor too hasty nor too inaccurate nor too unfocused and also not “too passive”, (in itself an impossibility, but)…, then it was just — “too easy”, because the opponent offered no resistance at all. So if the man has eyes – of which there are minor doubts — then one guesses what he can see with them. Black and white. That’s all there is. Regrettable. Most unfortunate. Most regrettable. But why does he have to commentate on football matches? There is, among other things, a green lawn and a round ball?