photo of Ted Lasso holding a soccer ball and waving

The Vulnerable Power of Ted Lasso

Last week’s episode of Ted Lasso was really good (spoiler alert). Yes, it was funny and clever and involved men running around and kicking a ball and crass remarks and all the inane and beautiful things long-time viewers have come to expect. 

But this episode was also a meditation on the power of vulnerability.

The short plot summary is that the team finds out that their teammate Colin is gay. The significance of the episode doesn’t come from that revelation, but rather from the way his coaches and teammates respond.  

When Coach Lasso talks to the team about why they DO care that Colin is gay (not because of any stigma attached but because they want to support him), he shares his own story of a time when he failed a friend and left him alone. There is no scolding or sermonizing here. Just an appeal to see each other, to stand with and care for one another.

Later, when Roy Kent silences a noisy press conference who want to know why the team captain accosted a rude fan, he too shares a personal story of his own failure as a friend. 

I could say this episode is about sexual identity, or about friendship, or about compassion, or about the importance of dealing with our emotions rather than allowing them to burst out of us in angry tirades—and all of that would be true. But more significantly, it’s about the power of vulnerability. As I’ve written before, to be vulnerable literally means we are able to be wounded. But it also means we are open to give and receive love. 

Love is a very different power than anger or fear or shame. As the Apostle Paul writes, love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor 13:7). Roy’s story protects Isaac. Ted’s story protects Colin. When one person makes himself vulnerable, that same vulnerability becomes a means of protection for others. Anger, fear, and shame are all ways to try to protect ourselves. Love is the way to protect one another. Thanks, Ted Lasso, for showing us how.

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