When Dan Rather, CBS's necessary buzzkill, broke into the Arizona- Gonzaga game on Saturday night with a minute left in the first overtime and the score tied at 87, and announced the latest on the Screaming Eagles wounded in a grenade attack at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait, he finished, almost reproachfully, by saying, "And now, back to basketball." To which play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg replied in the only way that one could. "It's tough to make a transition," Enberg said, "from Iraqi war news to the relative security of basketball." With that, he began to describe the game's electrifying denouement.
Said Arizona's Luke Walton, after his team's not-quite-epic victory, "It was a war out there."
In truth, such a game was the opposite, war's photographic negative: a celebration. Milton, in Paradise Lost, minted two phrases so vivid that they remain—even now, as clich�s four centuries old—the best ways to summarize the bipolar week just past.
"Heaven on Earth" was one of those phrases. "All hell broke loose" was the other.