By Our Mystery Correspondent P. Dantic.
You hear a lot of commentators say that.
‘He just wanted it more’.
They say it to explain why, in a contest, one side won. It could be two players chasing the ball, or in an aerial dual. One wins it. Dogged and determined indomitability is what made the difference. He wanted it more. ‘Top wanter wins’. That’s the rule. Even a five year old child knows that.
Did you ever wonder what happens when they both want it equally? Would the commentator ever say ‘They just wanted it equally’? Well, it doesn’t work like that. There is no equality when it comes to ‘wanting’ it. In a 50-50 tackle did you ever see them split the ball and share it? One side always wants it more. It could be that neither side wants it much at all. But one will still want it more. Sometimes you can see the difference. Sometimes you can’t see the difference. But there must be a difference, because one side got it.
They’re saying that if everything else was equal the one and only thing that separated them was just the amount they wanted it. It could be a little bit more, it could be a whole load more. The commentators don’t seem to think it is important to specify the exact gap between how much each player wanted it. The difference makes no difference. In the end one wanted it more than the other, and we know who that was because he got it. That might be why they use the word ‘just’.
I could put ‘just’ in quotes, italics, bold, underlined or any combination of all four, but I couldn’t be sure that it would give you the meaning of the ‘just’ being used here. So I’ll say it in another sentence. It’s the same way you’d mean ‘just’ if you said ‘it’s just the way it is’. Don’t ask questions and just accept it. Now say ‘He just wanted it more’ with that kind of a ‘just’.
To me, the problem is that there’s an unspoken commentator criticism of the loser because he didn’t want it as much as the winner. He’s implying he’s not trying. He had his chance. He could have got it. He just didn’t want it enough. He had a lousy wantitude. Where do you draw the line between not wanting it enough and throwing the match? It’s possible that you really want something a lot, but the other guy just wants it a lot and a bit extra on top.
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