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Lessons from Ted Lasso

We are at the end of the third and final season of the hit comedy Ted Lasso TV show. For the past few years it has entertained, delighted and enthralled audiences all over the world, and in the process has won a few Emmys. It is brilliant in every aspect.

The show was suggested watching for me from my walking buddy, Margaret. She had heard about it from another friend and had watched much of the first season and loved it. I suppose it could be called a “sleeper” in that it had to catch people’s attention before it actually became a super hit.

But that’s not what got me into it. It was during another of my COVID time walks when I was listening to one of my very favorite, and now no longer being produced, podcasts called “Unlocking Us” with Brene Brown. In this specific podcast she interviewed the show’s creators, Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, who are two of the most talented writers and actors alive today. In Brene’s vernacular, the show is all about being awkward, brave and kind.

Kindness is key in this series, so is being authentically oneself, and learning to love people in all of their messiness. It gives a nod to the fact that we are all pretty messy, and yet, all very deserving of respect, honesty and love. The premise is ridiculous, a college football coach from the US (Ted) is recruited to manage (English term for coach) an English football (actually soccer) team as a revenge move from the team’s new owner. I could go on and on, but you get the gist, this is great stuff for comedy.

When Ted gets to the AFC Richmond team’s locker room he posts a sign with one word “Believe”. He firmly believes that the team will succeed when each and every player believes in themselves and each other, and he has a thousand other antidotes that point to how people need to treat themselves and each other.

In this season, the theme could be redemption. And you may be wondering, how does this relate to Life Coaching? Well, we’re not all going to go to the extremes of some of the show’s characters, like Nate the Great, or Jamie Tartt, however, their stories serve as excellent examples of how we as humans can certainly screw up and once we realize just how and who we hurt along the way, can make changes, can ask for forgiveness, and prove we aren’t who we once were.

Maybe that resonates with you? Have you ever found yourself profoundly confused by how badly you’ve behaved or thought even? I know I have. And while my bad behavior may not have been at the level as the characters in Ted Lasso, it was still probably quite hurtful and confusing to those around me.

In an early scene from the episode “Mom City”, Ted’s mother shows up in London (all the way from Kansas City) to see the country so she says and to also stop by to see Ted. He’s taken by surprise and is a bit dismayed she’s even there. So during the events of her stay – which include a very high stakes football match against an arch rival, Ted doesn’t want to be distracted by her. But he can’t stop thinking about why she’s there – her excuse sounds just like that, and excuse and not the real reason.

It is revealed at the end that Mom is there to remind Ted that his son, who is growing up with his mother and Ted’s ex-wife in the US, misses him. It stings Ted to hear that, and in that moment he barks back at her about how she behaved when he was a boy and his father had died. Her response, which is something we’ve heard Ted say often, was simply “I did the best I could at the time”. That melted him.

Bottom line. We are all doing the best we can in each and every moment, and while we may look back and be upset, dismayed, really angry with ourselves, we would be much better served being kind and remembering, we were doing the very best we could at the time. And now that we know better, we can do better. Simple as that. Now go be a goldfish. (Season one)

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