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  • Sue Schleifer

It Smells Like Potential


Ted Lasso arrived in my life at just the right time. I wanted to watch something funny and with this program I received so much more. I read (Jan Risher’s Acadiana Advocate column) about Ted Lasso, the Apple TV+ series, but hadn’t given it much thought. The topic of a soccer coach in London didn’t seem like my cup of tea. But then I saw Jason Sudeikis win a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a television series, comedy or musical, and he seemed so shocked to win. His humbleness struck me, and I thought I should give the series a look.

Ted Lasso exudes joy, possibility, goodness, curiosity, and empathy. Being a coach of a different stripe, I see parallels to what I strive to do. Ted’s philosophy is to “be the best version of yourself on and off the field.” He demonstrates to his players how to respect one another and to be kind. Even in the cut throat world of sports, Ted cares less about winning and more about how they play the game. I love that. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to win a game and be successful in my endeavors. And I want to do so while enjoying the process, being true to my values, learning along the way, and enjoying being with and supporting the people with whom I interact.

When Ted first walks into the locker room of his new team he says, “I do like the smell of a locker room. It smells like potential.” And that is how he views each person he meets. He “sees” everyone from the person who greets him at the airport, to the first person he sees on the field, the “ball boy.” Ted asks his name, and then remembers it later, much to Nathan’s surprise. He connects with people where they are and finds ways to enter into their world.

In one episode, each player discovers a gift in his locker, an individually selected book. Oh, and on the flight to London Ted is reading Jack Kerouac. It is the small details that add to the fun and surprises in this series, as well as the wonderful soundtrack.

The Ted character is funny, goofy, and kind. Ted helps people move beyond shame, blame, and guilt through his own example. However, the TV series doesn’t shy away from tough topics. It confronts sexism, racism, ageism and the challenges of relationships and friendships. It does so in a way that makes me think while I am laughing. I am looking forward to watching the series again with my husband who hasn’t yet seen it. I know that I will hear and see details that I missed the first time. Let me know if you watch it and what you think.

Sue Schleifer | Life and Leadership Coaching | sue@lifeandleadershipcoaching.com | 2021