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Community and Mental Health – The “Ted Lasso” Effect

My wife and I changed cell phone companies recently, and we ended up with a trial subscription to Apple TV – three free months!  For a couple of years now, we have been hearing people talk about the drama-comedy “Ted Lasso,” so we figured that we would use this opportunity to check it out.

It didn’t take long to see why people like the show.  [Small Spoiler Alert!]  Ted Lasso is an American football coach, hired by a London soccer team, AFC Richmond.  The new owner, Rebecca Welton, has hired Ted because she hopes to sabotage AFC Richmond and thereby hurt her ex-husband.

The problem for Rebecca is that Ted is incredibly likeable, as a person and as a coach.  And despite his unfamiliarity with soccer, he is a natural coach who quickly surrounds himself with people who know the game better than he does.  The team does not fail, as Rebecca had originally hoped that they would.

Toxic Masculinity?  Not Really

However, the action on the soccer field (football pitch) is secondary to the interpersonal relationships between the characters and the ways that the characters lean on each other to navigate the ups and downs of their lives.  Given that AFC Richmond is a men’s team, the majority of the show’s main characters are men, and the show demonstrates how the male characters relate to one another in non-stereotypical ways.  A couple of the characters exhibit stereotypical male behaviors, but no one stays in that position for long.

Together, the characters learn about mental health, communication, and relationships.  No one is perfect, everyone is a work in progress.  But together, they are better than they would be apart.  And they have a LOT of fun!  Their team becomes their community, and the community challenges each of them to be a better version of himself and herself.  The show has a very light touch, though, so despite the occasionally heavy content, the shows stays down-to-earth.

Mental Health and Community

“Ted Lasso” premiered in August of 2020, five months after the pandemic began.  The creators of the show could not have anticipated how relevant this message about resilience and community would be, since they started working on the show in 2019.  But we can be thankful that the show came out when it did.

We, as the audience, are along for the ride.  My wife and I only have a few Season 3 episodes left before we are caught up – I’ve enjoyed it so much, part of me wants to go back and start over at the beginning.

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