The problem with this phrase is evident. I think it’s partly down to the sing-song intonation. It just sounds disparaging and belittling, mocking even. Patronising pat on the back. It gives the impression of someone leaping to tackle a robber and falling on their face, or being run over trying to stop a vehicle being stolen. It sounds like a half-hearted but well-meaning klutz. I think it sounds like an insult! I suspect that it has its roots in the sarcasm-free zone of the US and is supposed to be a heartwarming and earnest description. That is all very admirable but I see an act of selfless courage as more majestic than that – ‘diving in head first’, has more urgency about it than, ‘having a go’. Well it does!
“Have-a-go-hero”, is usually used in the context of describing an individual who, whether successful or not, chose to risk their own well-being, safety, life or limb in an attempt to protect or help, usually, another complete stranger. They should be called ‘selfless brave heart’, ‘shining knight gallant’ or ‘courageous citizen’…. ‘lion-heart’, ‘plucky bystander’…… ‘some hardcore mofo’! I reckoned they’ve earned it. This isn’t some tryout for a much-considered career path. There’s no time to choose to “have-a-go”. These folk are the very strength of our community – defenders of the innocent, protectors of the weak, crime-fighting badasses.
However haphazard or cackhanded their attempt, I’d want one available in my time of need.
I believe this lady is my inspiration for a language change. She didn’t just ‘have a go’, she foiled the crime and sent a sledgehammer-wielding gang packing. Respect.