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Follow the kids: Ted Lasso, S3 E1

“Yeah, but you can still be friends, right?,” Ted Lasso’s son Henry asks when the coach explains why Lego Nate is separated from the rest of the group in the model they built during Henry’s visit. In response, Ted moves Nate’s figurine, locking it in right next to his own. Their Lego hands nearly touching. A foreshadowing of the season ahead?

The child isn’t interested in the new team Nate now coaches, or even that he has spent most of the episode attacking Ted and AFC Richmond. The child cares about the friendship.

In the long-awaited season 3 premiere of Ted Lasso, “Smells Like Mean Spirit,” the kids take the lead, teaching the adults some great lessons about the importance of relationships.

Phoebe & Uncle Roy

Phoebe, Roy Kent’s niece, pulls no punches with her uncle. While buckling up in the backseat after being told about Keeley and Roy’s breakup, she initiates a conversation:

Phoebe: Uncle Roy. Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?
Roy: I don’t know.
Phoebe: Can I say a bad word?
Roy (the king of bad words): Go on.
Phoebe: I think you’re being stupid.

He is. Phoebe and I long for Roy to realize he’s got his priorities out of balance. What matters most, is the value Phoebe sees in his relationship with Keeley.

I’m trusting the writers to reverse this breakup or at least make me feel better about it.

Surrounded by poopy

Maybe the most important child-led lesson, however, occurs as the team meets in the London sewer. When asked why they are “surrounded by poo-peh,” as Jamie so eloquently describes it, Coach Lasso tells the Greyhounds how he learned of the sewer tour:

On [Henry’s] plane ride over here, the fellow sitting next to him on the plane was watching the horror movie It, and, well, Henry accidentally ended up watching it too. So then, when he heard about this tour, he asked to go on it in order to face his fears.

To which Roy, the king of bad words, responds, “F**king smart.” Agreed.

The kids are leading the way. Follow them, “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14, NIV).

All one body

The lesson Ted goes on to share in the sewer, is about more than facing one’s fears. He tells the team they need to build a sewer system within themselves to handle the “poopy.”

Then connect to each other’s tunnels, help each other keep that flow. So if you’re ever having a crisis of confidence, borrow some of Jamie’s. Or if you’re feeling down, get some Dani in your life….

Guys, all we gotta do is remember to stay connected to one another and let anything we don’t need flow right through.

This idea of borrowing from one another—whether it’s confidence, joy, skill, or faith—is one I have long found fascinating. For me, it’s an illustration of what it means to be “the body of Christ” (see 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, or my thoughts on it from Bruce Springsteen).

Upon arriving in the locker room after their sewer field trip, the team immediately has a reason to apply it, and it’s the biggest child that offers guidance.

As the team is riling up at the latest nasty comment about them from Coach Nate, their former assistant coach who is now leading West Ham, Jamie Tart is the voice of calm. “Hey, hey, lads, lads, lads,” he again so eloquently begins. “Remember, it’s just poopy. Let it flow.”

Let it flow.

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