There is nothing like a semi-final to provide the sharpest contrasts of emotions.
Anyone in any doubt at that statement need only have been in the bowels of Wembley on Sunday evening.
The beaming Ben Foster dad-danced his way along the queuing hordes of cameras and notebooks swigging from a bottle of Budweiser, with an unmistakeable look of glee all over his face.
Wolves players trudged by looking so upset and sad that it looked as if the very bottom had fallen out of their worlds, while Watford’s were on the sort of high that would make a junkie jealous.
The opinion that footballers don’t care is often put forward as a throwaway comment, usually by fed-up fans after a defeat.
But there was plenty of evidence to the contrary on Sunday evening.
I didn’t see any tears on the faces of the Wolves players as they made their way through the mixed zone – the area where the media get the chance to put their questions to the players, if they’re lucky – on their way to the coach. But it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit if that were the case.
In fact, goalkeeper John Ruddy, who was one of three Wolves players to speak, looked almost broken as he addressed the gathering of cameras and notebooks.
Leander Dendoncker’s voice was almost an apologetic whisper as he quickly admitted, unprompted, that he gave away a ‘stupid foul’ for the crucial penalty.
Both Dendoncker and Diogo Jota – the final Wolves player to talk to reporters – spoke for about a minute. But if their conversation was understandably thin, the pain, dejection and utter despair was written all over their faces.
OK, so it wasn’t as graphic as those black and white images from 1979. Back then captain Kenny Hibbitt was led off the Villa Park pitch crying, manager John Barnwell’s arm around him trying to console him after losing 2-0 to Arsenal, the midfielder having raised his sweat-soaked golden silk shirt to his face to wipe away his tears.
Forty years on, you could almost taste the dejection as the players trudged past. Apart from the three mentioned, not one made eye contact. That is in no way a criticism. This correspondent totally understands why they didn’t want to speak and would have done the same.
What could they say to make it better? Captain Conor Coady was one of the first to walk by, head bowed, his watery gaze fixed at a point on the floor in front of him. You will struggle to find a more bubbly character or media friendly player than Coady around the Compton training ground.
Not this time, and I was actually glad he didn’t want to put himself through it.
The same goes for Matt Doherty, who looked like he was attending a funeral.
Chairman Jeff Shi strolled by with sporting director Kevin Thelwell and managing director Laurie Dalrymple. Shi turned down my request for a quick word with a polite smile and a slight shake of the head before continuing his walk.
Just before the exit, Rui Pedro Silva, Wolves assistant head coach, caught them up and started what looked like an urgent conversation with the hierarchy that went on for several minutes.
Whatever was discussed seemed to be quickly resolved as the men went their separate ways.
While all this went on, Troy Deeney, the Watford captain, was being interviewed and chose to comment on the Sin Cara WWE mask briefly worn by Raul Jimenez when he scored.
Who knows what Deeney’s intentions were, but rather than the celebration of his team reaching their first final for 35 years, his comments calling Jimenez a ‘loser’ meant the agenda switched to the mask and the insults that followed.
Is that what he really wanted? Or was it simply a clumsy, ill-judged response whereby he didn’t engage mouth before brain? I would like to think it was the latter.
But that’s still disappointing, especially given he’s 30-years-old, a highly experienced player and the captain of his team.
Social media has since gone into meltdown in a tit-for-tat exchange, with Deeney shutting down his Instagram account claiming he has been racially abused, and some defending Jimenez counter-claiming the Watford skipper was being racist towards Mexican culture.
Then video footage emerges of a Wolves fan wading into Watford supporters, throwing punches at innocent people whose only crime was watching their team beat his, until he meets his match and ends up on the ground being kicked.
It is a reflection of today’s society that we get to see these snippets and posts; a couple of decades ago such spleen venting would have taken place in the pubs and clubs after the game over a pint or two.
Back then, that’s where those comments would have stayed – in the bar. But this is where we return to the Deeney argument, where you read ‘fans’ are actually questioning Nuno’s future on social media. Please, do me a favour.
Huge investment by the most generous owners Wolves have ever had has transformed a club and a city in the space of just three years.
Such is the scale of Fosun’s outlay and their ambitions that it’s difficult to imagine there won’t be more of these occasions – and this time winning ones – in the near future.
That this time brought the pain of defeat will surely make it all the more pleasurable for when Wolves finally do lift a major trophy again.
For now, we’re surrounded by the aftermath – gloom, insults but some optimism too by more realistic, sensible, positive souls who are looking at the bigger picture: Where Wolves have come from, from playing Stevenage and Crawley five years ago, from losing to Chorley in 1986 when they were being watched by 2,000 to 3,000 in a crumbling ground with two sides closed.
Fast forward to now and is it not expected that a minority will misbehave, or share views we don’t agree with following a highly-charged event watched by over 80,000 partisan supporters?
Perhaps. And I would always support free speech, the very essence of democracy, which comes with it the ability to post what you want, within reason, on social media.
But maybe just take a deep breath first before opening that mouth, tapping that keyboard or phone or drawing back that fist.