A collection of clutch performances—and a few epic flubs.
This rich gathering of thrilling finishes in sports history are mostly of recent vintage and cover the range of sports, including professional, collegiate, and Olympian. There is horse racing (Man o’ War, by far the oldest entry here, way back a century ago), the famous victory of the United States over the Soviet hockey team, Doug Flutie’s “hail Mary” pass, Brandi Chastain’s World Cup soccer goal, the New England Patriots comebacks during Super Bowl performances. Then there are famous individual performances from such stunners as Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles. Lest they be forgotten—as if they ever will—there are the world-class chokes such as Bill Buckner letting the ball go between his legs, Jean Van de Velde losing a three-point lead at the 1999 British Open on the last hole, Lindsey Jacobellis “showboating” to a loss in the Olympic snowboarding race in the final seconds. In the end, Doeden asks the question that nags at readers throughout the book. Are there just plain old clutch performers, or are they just the best players on the team doing what they do best—score? The answer, Doeden sensibly suggests, is in preparation and the handling of nerves. A fine collection of archival photographs accompanies Doeden’s fast-paced, colorful storytelling.
As breezy a collection of sports stories as anyone could want on a lazy afternoon. (Nonfiction. 10-16)