It's not the Yankees losing in the divisionals, nor a conference rival pantsing Alabama midseason. Nor is it quite the Lakers fizzling in May, or the Cowboys losing year after year after year after delicious year.
No, we won't truly feel the full, exuberant schadenfreude of No. 1 Duke losing until it happens, inevitably, in the Sweet Sixteen, a couple of months from now. And yet, each season, on the day when Duke first stumbles, and especially in losing to a team the Blue Devils have every historical right to regard as a weak-sister rival, America's collective heart grows a couple of sizes. In Heaven, the delayed radio call interrupts the feel-good Tommy Dorsey standards playing on the clubhouse PA, to cheer the gathered souls whose yuppie ennui at having found a frictionless eternal bliss needs a rousing news flash now and again. Birds and dogs and deer and meerkats and tapirs and narwhals, so sensitive to sounds and smells outside our conscious perception, perk up for no apparent reason, keyed in as they are to cheery seismic vibrations pulsing through the earth.
Duke lost. To N.C. State, or something. Dontcha know the Dookies just hate that.
Yes, they do. Here's evidence of that. It's a beautiful thing to behold:
NC State 84, Duke 76 [ESPN]