Every time you see a sportsperson actually crying with joy there's always another trying not to sob in despair.
Having forever loved sport as theatre, in the Pumas' 25-15 victory over the All Blacks in Sydney we saw the ecstasy a famous victory brings, and how cruel defeat can feel. Here are nine reflections on the stunner in Parramatta.
1) This was the best rugby performance of 2020
We'll get to how bad the All Blacks were soon, but before that, let's hail the Pumas. Thirteen months without a test, $10 underdogs with the bookies, 12 players and the coach having to deal with Covid-19, and they play with a divine fury as if the lead-in has been seamless. They were more passionate, smarter, tougher, faster and, in fact, better in every way. The ten-point winning margin was flattering to the All Blacks.
2) This was the worst rugby performance of 2020
The most disturbing thing about the debacle in Sydney was that apart from flashes of attacking flair from Hoskins Sotutu, the only All Blacks who really stood up were the veterans, Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock.
That vital mix of young and old that made the 2015 All Blacks, for example, so potent, sunk almost without a trace. Good on Caleb Clarke for getting things right for the consolation try in injury time, but you looked in vain for the exuberance and energy of youth.
3) To quote Pauline Hansen, "please explain?"
We all know that a tactical kick needs to be not too long, and not too short, but just right. Of all the technical issues that let the All Blacks down, aimless kicking was the worst. Current All Black selector Grant Fox was a great first-five, and his forte was the clever kick. If the current players need a wise word he'd be a good man to talk to.
4) Sackings may eventually be the answer, but not right now
If the All Blacks were a English Premier League club Ian Foster would already be gone. But New Zealand Rugby's plan was always to make a decision about the coach at the end of next year, and as rightly aggrieved as many will be after the calamity in Sydney, that's the right thing to do.
I was part of the media mob baying for Graham Henry's head in 2007 after the World Cup quarter-final loss. We were all wrong, and the NZRU decision to reappoint him was right.
Three poor performances out of five is a poor start for Foster's All Blacks. But in the bitter analysis of the loss to the Pumas there are too many echoes of the criticism in '07, from criticising a lack of calm, and having no Plan B, to poor leadership on and off the field, to not feel a knee-jerk reaction about the coach would be premature.
5) Read the Charles Upham book
Macho posturing on the field now is just that. Nobody throws a punch, and the game's better for it.
All of which makes the stupid slaps on the head (hello Dane Coles) and grabbing collars after the whistle (and hi to Shannon Frizell) all the more pathetic, because nothing that involves pain and injury is actually going to follow the showboating.
In Tom Scott's terrific book on double VC winner Charles Upham we learn how in wartime Upham's rage in battle was controlled to the point of being icy. Being angry and being hot headed are very different, and in the fortnight before the next test with the Pumas Gilbert Enoka, the man in the All Black camp charged with helping the players mentally prepare, will need all his considerable skills to teach his charges the difference.
6) By the powers, they need a good game in Newcastle
No pressure, but another loss to Argentina just wouldn't be acceptable. Being beaten in Newcastle would mean the old phrase All Black coaches are fond of using, "we don't want to spend summer with pebbles under the towel at the beach", would need to change to "Punakaiki pancake rocks under the towel."
7) They know the problem. Fixing it may be another story
At test match level, our greatest coach, Sir Fred Allen, once said, the abilities of most players are not terribly different. "It's attitude that wins games."
So two listless All Black efforts in a row is scary. There's time now for whatever it takes to find some of the fire in the belly that's been missing. How Foster and his coaching team do that without revving up players so much they act like idiots is a challenge that may define his tenure.
8) At least they can stop whining about the haka for a while
Of course the usual suspects offshore have reacted with savage glee to the travails of the All Blacks. Stephen Jones suggests relegation from the tournament, and an Aussie scribbler took huge satisfaction from the "glum looks" on the faces of the All Blacks. If that stings keep in mind who's saying it. Jones has been predicting the demise of the All Blacks since 1988.
9) Some wise words of comfort, if you're still feeling upset
After his beloved Warriors had a bad loss a fan said to Sir Peter Leitch the game had been a disaster. Sir Peter replied, "Did anyone die? Were any kids hurt?" "No," was the reply. "Then it's not a f*****' disaster, is it?"