An inspiring (fake) interview with Coach Ted Lasso

How to be a goldfish and other words of fictional wisdom.
The Apple TV+ show "Ted Lasso" stars Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach who heads to the U.K. to manage a struggling London football team.
The Apple TV+ show "Ted Lasso" stars Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach who heads to the U.K. to manage a struggling London football team. [ Universal Television/Entertainment Pictures ]
Published Oct. 7, 2021|Updated Oct. 7, 2021

The Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso is ending its second glorious season like Willie Nelson — on a high.

After receiving 20 Emmy nominations, it won seven. The creative genius behind the project, Jason Sudeikis, plays a Midwestern American football coach, a joyful spirit. He accepts a strange job offer from the owner of a struggling English soccer (football!) club.

In spite of his corny wisdom, the new coach captures the imagination of a cynical press, a passionate and disillusioned fan base and a dysfunctional team.

The stories are heartwarming and surprisingly naughty, with Ted Lasso as the fictional saint we need at this moment.

Because I coach writers and because I spent more than a decade coaching girls soccer teams, more than a few folks in St. Pete call me “Coach.” That led me to imagine attending a coaching clinic with Coach Lasso. Using his quotes from the series, here is how I imagined it might go:

Coach Lasso, some of our politicians in Florida have been accused of being bullies. Have you ever been bullied?

Roy, I learned two pretty big lessons on the rough and tumble playgrounds of Brookridge Elementary School. One, if little Ronnie Crouch offers you a candy bar, you immediately say no and get the hell out of there cause there’s a good chance that little son of a gun has pooped inside of a Butterfinger wrapper. Number two, if a teacher tells a bully not to pick on someone, it’s just gonna make it worse.

Coach, we have had almost two years of pandemic now. It’s been such a challenge. How do we know if we are doing things right?

Takin’ on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, Roy. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong.

We’ve had to make so many changes during the pandemic. We want things to be the way they used to be. The changes seem so scary.

I know change can be scary. One minute, you are playing freeze tag out there at recess with all your buddies. Next thing you know, you’re getting zits, your voice gets low. And every time your art teacher, Ms. Scanlon, leans over your desk to check and see how your project’s going, you feel all squiggly inside.

I don’t know, Coach. Some days I feel as if I am letting everybody down.

You beating yourself up is like Woody Allen playing the clarinet. I don’t want to hear it.

Oh, by the way, may I offer you a cup of tea?

I always thought that tea was just gonna taste like hot brown water. You know what? I was right. It’s horrible. No, thank you.

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You know, Coach, my wife Karen and I have been married for 50 years. Because of COVID and other issues, this may have been our toughest year.

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.

When the pandemic is over, how do you think we should look back on it?

You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? Got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish, Roy.

What’s your advice for neighborhoods that are torn by political or social strife?

When it comes to neighborhoods, I like ‘em just like my mother’s bathing suits. I only wanna see ‘em in one piece.

Do you think it’s just a coincidence that we have a pandemic and social unrest and political strife?

That’s the funny thing about coincidences, ain’t it? Sometimes they just happen.

Now that you have become something of a TV star, I’m curious of what you think about the Kardashians or the Trumps.

I like the idea of someone becoming rich because of what they gave to the world, not just because of who their family is.

While you have been in England, Coach, the teams from the Tampa Bay area have been winning a lot: the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, the American League pennant. You must have some thoughts about those coaches.

For me, Roy, 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.

What would you say to me if I told you that sounded a little corny?

I want you to know, I value your opinions, even when you’re wrong.

What would you say to folks who are feeling insecure about themselves and their future?

I have a real tricky time hearing folks that don’t believe in themselves. I believe in hope. I believe in believe.

I try to stay reasonably fit, Coach, but I think I may have torn a hamstring muscle this morning, just bending over for a stretch.

You tore your butt. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

How would you like to be remembered, Coach?

Our goal is to go out like Willie Nelson — on a high!