When learning to ride a motorcycle, I was taught to look where I want to go. It’s tempting to look at the pothole you don’t want to hit, but a rider has to fight that instinct and focus instead on the blacktop next to it — where you want to go. I’ve discovered that’s a lesson that applies to other parts of life (and wrote a sermon about it here).
In episode four of Ted Lasso’s third season titled “Big Week,” many of the Richmond faithful become distracted by the potholes in their lives.
The funniest moment comes as Coaches Beard and Kent tie themselves in knots strategizing for the big match. As they prepare to play West Ham United, coached by their former assistant Nate and owned by Rebecca’s husband Rupert, their anger consumes them. So, when Beard explains their strategy to Higgins, he says,
So we gotta stop thinking like Nate and start thinking like Nate would think we would think if Nate were thinking like us, and then do the last thing that Nate thinking like us thinking like Nate thinking like us would ever expect us to do. Have Zava drop back and play Nate’s False Nine.
Their focus on Nate and the pain he caused them, has completely taken over. They barely mention their team — or even the other team — but Nate’s name appears six times in those two sentences that are supposed to be describing their strategy.
Consumed with revenge
Rebecca also desperately wants to beat West Ham, but not because of Nate. She wants to beat Rupert. Her obsession is so great, that during the game we see her spending as much time watching Rupert as she does watching what’s happening on the pitch (field).
She isn’t thinking about what it would mean for her club to be in the first place in the league. Her focus is entirely on besting her ex.
And when Beard and Roy show the team the surveillance video of Nate taking down and ripping the iconic “Believe” sign at the end of season two, the players are so enraged they turn the game into a wrestling match—more red cards than goals, as Jack puts it late in the episode.
As Richmond unravels in the second half, the announcers capture the moment (and the episode) well.
“Richmond have completely lost the plot.”
Temptation of spectacle
It is so easy to lose the plot when you are focused on the wrong things.
I see it happening all around us. Politics is filled people more consumed with beating the other side than doing the work of governing. In our churches, so many are more focused on proving others wrong than they are in doing the work Jesus calls us to do.
Rage is everywhere, and I can’t help but wonder if we haven’t lost the plot. If we haven’t lost focus.
Lighting the way
There’s something about the lights that Jamie and Roy wear to work out at 4:00 a.m. that symbolize the goal. Attached to their foreheads, the lights illuminate what’s in front of them. By the end of the episode, it is clear that Jamie is looking where he wants to go.
Ted has the right idea. When Beard and Roy ask Ted to punish them, he refuses. Instead, he simply refocuses them on what lies ahead.
Shake it off, fellas. Lot of football left this season.