Ted Lasso’ed My Heart, and Might Have Saved It
Yes, I took the easy joke out. Keep reading anyway, why not.
My dad died in January.
How’s that for a clever first line, right? Except no, sorry, because ever since my dad passed, I don’t feel clever. Or funny. I seem to not accomplish half of what I want to do, but at least I feel endlessly guilty about it.
My mojo has fled, lumbering away like a Bigfoot into the woods. I run through the forest, leaving Cheez-Its and Dr. Pepper Zero to attract Bigfoot. “Come back!” I cry. “I don’t feel like me anymore,” I add with a whimper.
“Your brain is mush,” replies my Bigfoot-mojo, her surprisingly musical voice wafting through the trees. “It’s depressing me, and shouldn’t you take a shower?”
In my goal to Accomplish Literally Any-Fucking-ThingTM, I’ve tried making lists. They sit there, taunting me. I’ve tried writing, which is now an exercise in staring at a digital page as if magic words will jump from pre-January-26-me onto it. I think to myself…how can I perform so poorly at not being awesome? And why is not being awesome so fucking hard? It should be the easiest thing ever!
Can one double fail? Fail to the second power? Fail-on-fail sandwich, please, and put a whole bottle of mustard on it so I splat my boobs properly when I attempt to take a bite.
In the midst of my jumbled Bigfoot/sandwich/mojo metaphors, my husband put on a TV show called Ted Lasso. Starring Jason Sudeikis (meh), in a truly horrible mustache (urgh), about British football (yawn).
Joke’s on me — this brilliant show made me cry. Because in all my self-flagellation about losing my mojo and grieving and struggling to just get through a damn day without my hair catching on fire, I could not for the life of me figure out what had left me: belief.
I need so very badly to believe again.
So here’s some non-spoilerey plot if you haven’t seen this show — Ted is a(n American) football coach who is hired in the UK to coach (British) football, which is obvs soccer. Insert comedy here, and there’s a lot of it, for this show is delightful. Everyone involved is utterly wonderful, bless them. The footballers are struggling, and who is this wacko American coach with the goofy down-home accent and mustache full of optimism? He’s Ted Lasso, and he teaches a misfit bunch of semi-losers to BELIEVE. He even puts up a sign to remind them, one I may or may not have made my desktop background like a true cheeseball.
I’m a person who always believed. I believed in me, even when people said I was too weird, too different, too loud. Those ain’t humblebrags; being different is not recommended in publishing. Or in life, if we’re being real. But I never cared about any of that. I was confident and refused to be anything other than true to my awesome self. Haters can kindly fuck off.
And then the universe hammered me with the inevitable — something I try not to believe in.
In my grief and existential flail, I forgot that belief in myself even existed as a concept. Everything got so hard, I gave up at, well, everything. To parrot a greeting card probably — without belief, we’re fucked. Not believing is like trying to put on a shoe while you’re already wearing another pair — your effort is pointless, and you’re not even managing to get anywhere in the shoes you’re already wearing.
Belief is the start, and it’s the only way to get to the finish.
Belief is not about never falling on your face. You get plenty of that when you don’t believe, right? As Ted Lasso says: it’s the lack of hope that kills you. And boy, have I been feeling that. My dad believed in me, and I know he’d rather I have hope.
Putting “BELIEVE” as my desktop background isn’t going to magically solve grief. I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that thinking “BELIEVE” is a helluva lot better than internalizing “AAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!” which is where I’ve been for months. But I’m doing my best, and it’s my hope for better days ahead that will keep me alive.
I hope you can believe a little more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today. Be the Ted Lasso you want to see in the world.
Maybe minus the mustache, tho. Porn-cop mustaches are one thing I choose not to believe in.
Martti Nelson is the author of awesome comedy novels “Lyssa Strata” and “Attack of the Rom-Com,” which will debut January 2022, as well as some love letters to Totino’s in honor of their fine Party Pizzas. She’s been featured on such luminous sites as Weekly Humorist, The Belladonna, Robot Butt, Daily Drunk Magazine, and Slackjaw. In addition to writing brilliant stuff that is often referred to as “stop mentioning menstruation so much,” Martti enjoys yard work with power tools that make her feel important. She creates funny books because she believes that humor can inspire joy, bring people together, and save the world, even in times of darkness. This bio has gotten a tad deep, so she will end on another joke