If you’re a rabid fan of the ‘Ted Lasso’ show on Apple TV (like me), then you already know why the most recent episode of the hit series deserves just a tiny bit of attention here (and if you’re not watching the series, what are you even doing with your life in the offseason?)
Quick recap for the uninitiated: Ted Lasso is a former American college football coach (for the Wichita State Shockers) brought in as head coach of the Richmond Greyhounds, an English futbol team playing in the Premiere League. Lasso knows nothing about soccer rules - which was the point because the new owner, reeling after divorcing her husband for cheating on her, was aiming to ruin the team that she took over in the divorce settlement.
But fortunately for the team, Lasso does know about coaching young men to be the best version of themselves - and that’s exactly what he does as he wins over the players, the owner and now millions of ‘Ted Lasso’ viewers.
And in the latest episode released Wednesday, Coach Lasso tells a poignant story in a sincere moment at halftime in the locker room in which a teammate is somewhat forced to acknowledge being gay.
The show does it in classic “Ted Lasso” style, using genuine sentiment to convey acceptance while not getting overly dramatic and adding humor at just the right moment.
And that’s the relevant part for this audience - Lasso’s story is all about a friend who was a Denver Broncos fan in the heart of Chiefs’ territory during Denver’s back-to-back Super Bowl run in 1997 and ‘98.
“When I was growing up back in Kansas City I had a buddy named Stevey Jewell. And he was a huge Denver Broncos fan. But we were smack dab in Chiefs Country so he used to catch a lot of grief about it. But me? Me, I told him it didn’t affect the way I felt about him at all, you know? I told him that ‘I didn’t care.’ And I didn’t.
“But then in 1997 and 98 he had to watch back-to-back Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos in ‘em all by himself.”
Lasso describes how his friend spent both Super Bowls “eating an entire seven-layer dip from Price Chopper” by himself - which resulted in $9,000 damage to his parent’s basement toilet the first year.
Lasso reminisces that his friend must have thought it was good luck to do it the second year (which, for the record, made me laugh out loud because even though I did not eat a seven-layer dip during those games, I absolutely tried to mimic my Super Bowl Sunday in 1998 for good luck).
Then bringing his story to the point, Lasso noted that he wasn’t sure why his friend did it again because he wasn’t there, adding “Because ‘I didn’t care’” with air quotes.
“But I should’ve cared, you know? I should have supported him. I should’ve been at his house both them years. Sharing that seven-layer dip with my friend while his garbage-ass team wins back-to-back Super Bowls.” (definitely laugh at that because you know my family and I did!)
Having made a very serious and decent point, the show kept the moment from getting too sappy by having the player ask the coach if he just compared “being gay to being a Denver Broncos fan?”
Lasso responds, “You know what? I did and I regret it. Yeah. Sorry about that” before the team’s best player asks, “What the f*** are Denver Broncos?”
Thankfully for everyone, Lasso brings it full circle by telling Colin that the team does care, they acknowledge how difficult it must have been to feel like he had to keep his sexuality a secret from his team and that they all support him “a thousand percent.”
It’s a great episode for a lot of reasons - not the least of which is that it was a reminder of the days when the Broncos were way better than the Chiefs.
And I always like to think about that.