The Ted Lasso Way
June 7, 2023
Sorry it has been a hot minute since I have written. I have missed all of you. I will tell you that I have been busy and there is something brewing at Safe Space Life Coaching. More to come! My friend Carrie Newcomer—an American singer, songwriter, and author—wrote the piece I am sharing with you today.
When I read Carrie’s blogpost, I felt like her words were my words. Clearly, we have similar taste when it comes to what we are drawn to. We both love the imperfect character Ted Lasso. We love the humanity of Ted. Even though it’s difficult, there is something beautiful when he is struggling and is vulnerable. But wow do we love it when he is courageous and shares his philosophy of living a good life!
So, with no further ado, please enjoy Carrie Newcomer’s delightful blogpost! If you are interested in reading more from Carrie or listening to her music, check her out here: carrienewcomer.com and carrienewcomer.substack.com.
Why I Love Ted Lasso
This week a good friend sent me a link to a NYT opinion piece by Tish Harrison Warren about the TV series Ted Lasso. I have to say, I have been utterly charmed by the series since I first started watching. If you haven’t been watching the program, the story begins when an American football coach from Kansas (Ted Lasso) and his assistant (Coach Beard) are invited to come to Manchester, England, and coach a soccer team. You find out in the first few minutes that Ted knows almost nothing about soccer, and the owner of the team (for personal reasons) has hired him because she thinks he will run the team into the ground. At first Ted seems over the top folksy and very naive, but before long we begin to sense that Ted has much more to offer than expertise as a soccer coach. He operates in the world with genuine sincerity, a kind of quirky dad humor, and is consistently, unguardedly kind. People immediately underestimate him. I mean how can you be an effective leader in a dog-eat-dog world when your superpower is believing in the inherent goodness possible in humanity? But it is a superpower, and in the course of the program you see how in large and small ways, his acts of daily decency change those around him. Ted is not a perfect character; he is incredibly human, and I love that the show has brought mental health and mental health care into mainstream conversation. I love that the show continues to show that sometimes stepping away from the rules and conventions of a culture may look odd to others, can even be lonely at times, but also shine a light on where those rules or conventions are not life-giving or actually all that good for us.
I mentioned this series because I believe that in these challenging times, we all need stories that describe human decency, grace, and humor. The world is so full of messages to be afraid and act according to that fear, messages that encourage us to mow down or be mowed over. We need to be reminded that every single day we meet and encounter people of good heart and intention. We need to remember that kindness is not just human size and doable, but actually world changing. I think we need to encounter (or remember and embrace) stories of those who have bravely stood counter to the rules of the culture, when those rules needed to be changed or challenged. I think we need to hear stories of how the echoes of a life lived with good intention and simple decency can resonate far beyond what that person may ever know.
A Holy Fool is defined as a form of asceticism that has been practiced within the Russian Orthodox church for centuries. Its practitioners engage in exhibiting unusual or even foolish behavior (in relation to the cultural norms of the society), in order to provide the community with spiritual guidance. When I think of the most wise and holy people I’ve ever known, one of the things they pretty much share is a highly developed sense of humor. I know by nature I can lean into being a pretty serious poet-type. Over the years, I’ve come to so appreciate how much humor and finding delight even in small things consistently shifts my experience. I have loved encountering just how funny we are as human beings. We humans are so incredibly beautiful, sometimes disappointing, utterly inspiring, totally bewildering, exceedingly clever, often foolish…. but oh, we are so so very funny. Being able to find a good-hearted sense of humor in my own complicated humanity has been salvific in so many ways. I am grateful for those holy folks in my life that remind me to laugh, to look kindly at the world whenever possible. I’m grateful for their encouragement to keep showing up as my authentic self, and trust my heart’s deep knowing, even when it might mean I am out of step with my culture’s idea of conventional wisdom.
What do you think about the concept of a “holy fool”? Do you have an inspirational story of someone who stood up or went against the conventional norms of the day?
I just finished Michelle Obama’s newest book; The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times. It’s fabulous. While there are no easy answers to navigating the current world, we all face, Michelle Obama shares that we can lean on some practical and essential strategies to stay hopeful and grounded during these uncertain times. Also, you can watch her interview with Oprah on Netflix. Both are comforting, human, and inspiring.
There is so much to share. While times are difficult right now, I am noticing all the people who are standing up, taking a stand, going against the grain, and supporting their fellow human beings in one way or another. I find all these examples of people making their voices heard most inspiring. It warms my heart. It makes me feel connected to others. Every time I read about someone standing up for those who are marginalized, the amount of hope I feel increases dramatically! Keep standing up for others! Take a stand and love your neighbor no matter what and remember always that we are in this together!