Ted Lasso is streaming on Apple TV+. All 10 episodes of Season One are available. Season Two began on July 23, 2021, and new episodes are released every Friday.
Sports are theaters where ordinary people have a chance to do extraordinary things together. Players learn what they are capable of and how they might grow from their interactions with a team. Regular rituals enable members to transcend any disagreements they might harbor outside the game. Sports may well be called "the toy department of life," providing entertainment and satisfaction, but these games also offer transformative experiences that shape the characters of all those involved.
1. The Story
Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is an American football coach who led the Wichita State Shockers to a Division II National Collegiate Athletic Association championship. He is a cheerful soul who derives pleasure and joy from leading and being with the athletes.
Lasso is hired to coach an English Premier League soccer team, AFC Richmond. He arrives in England with his quiet spoken and faithful friend, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt). When fans find out that these outsiders know next to nothing about the sport they adore, a tidal wave of criticism and anger decks the Americans.
Public dismay, egged on by a hostile press, is only one of the many challenges Ted Lasso faces. He has to get the team to play well together despite deva players like Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) who are used to doing their own thing. The team owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), only hired him because she was sure he would fail, fulfilling her desire to get revenge on her ex-husband who had owned and loved the team. He does get some support from the locker room manager turned assistant coach Nate (Nick Mohammed), the team's timid financial manager Higgins (Jeremy Swift), and the team's publicist (Juno Temple).
But Ted has a secret weapon in his coaching and his relationships with management: kindness. He is patient with those who criticize him, he empathizes with foreign players on the team who are homesick, and he tries to mediate the bad blood between the star players. Always he is positive, pointing to a "Believe" poster in the locker room. His admirable personal qualities are contagious not only on the soccer field but also in the living rooms of the series' viewers.
2. The Wit and the Wisdom of Ted Lasso
The screenplays for this deeply spiritual series have been written by some clearly talented comedy writers: Jane Becker, Leann Bowen, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, Bill Lawrence, Jamie Lee, Jason Sudeikis, Phoebe Walsh, and Bill Wrubel. Many of the funniest scenes revolve around the classic fish-out-of-water plot.
To give you a flavor of the spiritual themes which punctuate the drama, here are seven quotes which illustrate the Ted's homegrown ethical wisdom.
"You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It's a goldfish. You know why? Got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish."
"For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It's about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field."
"Be curious, not judgmental."
"I want you to know, I value each of your opinions, even when you're wrong."
"You're beating yourself up is like Woody Allen playing the clarinet. I don't want to hear it."
"I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad. And that is being alone and being sad. Ain't no one in this room alone."
"I believe in hope. I believe in Believe."
3. Character Qualities of a Spiritual Evolving Human Being
In a time when moviemakers are filling screens with countless murder-mysteries, violent zombie tales, and endless horror flicks, it is uplifting and spiritually elevating to savor the goodness, positivity, and hopefulness of Ted Lasso.
Here is a rounded human being who models spiritual character qualities that can serve as seedbeds for our own growth. He is far from perfect as he struggles through a divorce, feels homesick, wards off his own flaws, and tries to be tolerant of the flaws of others.
One of the hallmarks of goodness is putting others ahead of us. This spiritual practice, beyond being its own reward, has many practical values. Ted Lasso gives us a chance to see and discuss how goodness is manifested in a variety of relationships. It shows us how to bring it alive in our lives. Relentless goodness, like Ted's, strikes a match and inspires others to reach out in the darkness and shine their own light.
Take some time to meditate and talk about this extraordinary series's depiction of spiritual qualities which our culture is in desperate need of today. Here are quotes from a Buddhist, a Sufi, and a Catholic to catalyze your reflections.
Do Good, Get Good
"I think if you care about someone and you got a little love in your heart, there ain't nothin' you can't get through together. Do good, get good. Goodness radiates and sticks to people."
-- Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu in Meeting the Monkey Halfway
Bringing People Together
"Whatever brings people together for a good is good."
-- Kabir Helminski in The Knowing Heart
Goodness's Mysterious Way
"We never know where the good we do will come to fruit. The important thing is simply to keep doing it in strange places in uncertain ways so that the heart we know least can be gifted, whether we know it happened or not."
-- Joan Chittister in Gospel Days
Ted Lasso makes a strong case for the uplifting powers and benefits of hope. Does this ragtag soccer team really have a chance to win? It sure seems like they have a lot going against them. But then . . . their coach believes in them, crazy as that might seem at times. As you laugh along with Ted's efforts to win the team over to his attitudes, you will find yourself thinking a lot about how hope operates in your experiences.
This character quality is portrayed as an emotion that feels good, that changes how our minds work, that transforms our future, and that puts the breaks on negativity. Here are some spiritual quotations by a theologian and a psychotherapist who both agree with Mercy Amber
Oduyoyo who admonished spiritual people to "wear hope like a skin."
Stretching What Is Possible
"Hope stretches the limits of what is possible. It is linked with the basic
trust in life without which we could not get from one day to the next."
-- Mary C. Gray in The Outrageous Pursuit of Hope
Seeding Lonely Ways
"By growing hope within ourselves and sharing it with others, we brighten darkened paths and seed lonely ways with love and positive possibilities."
-- Sue Patton Thoele in Growing Hope
Ted Lasso sees soccer as a rough-and-tumble sport where players make the most of practice, learn the benefits of teamwork, and try to be creative on the field and off the field.
Here are four of our favorite soccer films that explore the complex yearnings that animate those who believe the sport is the most adventuresome and exciting one on the face of the earth.
Bend It Like Beckham is a rousing comedy about an Anglo-Indian girl and her efforts to become a soccer player.
The Cup is an endearing drama set in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where soccer is immensely popular among the monks in training.
Goal: The Dream Begins is a story of a young man who has dedicated himself to become a star on the international stage of soccer.
Offside is a poignant Iranian film about some passionate female soccer fans.