Textbook Clutch

Roy Halladay’s no-hitter tonight was a quintessential clutch performance – but not in the way many sports fans think about. Most fans use the term too broadly. In Clutch, I set the bar higher and define clutch more precisely: it’s the ability to do what you can do normally but under pressure. The player who hits the game-winning home run is not clutch – there is too much luck involved in that. The great pitcher who wins the playoff game could be clutch. But Halladay’s performance tonight has set the standard for textbook clutch performance. After all, he threw a no-hitter in May when the only pressure on him was self-imposed – no small feat, mind you. But tonight, he repeated that under the intensity of the playoffs. It would be foolish to say that throwing a no-hitter in the regular season is ‘normal conditions’, by my definition, but he threw one and then repeated this incredible, pressure-packed feat under even greater pressure. Now that Tiger Woods is off the clutch stage, Halladay has made his case for being the most clutch athlete of our time.

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