Ted Lasso, the Olympics, and Talking About Mental Health

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Throughout the history of television, there has been one image of a psychotherapist: a well-dressed person in a well-stocked office, perhaps holding a notebook, and asking much more direct and directed questions than the average therapist would ordinarily do. From Lauren Bracco Yum soprano To Niecy Nash on the current season of I never did before, This is the original form.

In the new season of Ted LassoSarah Niles’ Dr. Sharon Fieldstone is thoughtful and calm, and rides a folding bike to work – proof of that Ted Lasso It’s the kind of show where people have honest conversations about mental health.

Throughout its first season, and now in its second season, the Apple TV+ series has distinguished itself by being clever, sinister, and downright enigmatic. Seriousness drips from every sight. But instead of taking in a few hours of positive detox every season, lasso—is a workplace comedy about an NCAA soccer coach (Jason Sudeikis) who is recruited to lead a soccer team in the Premier League (football) — actually creating a space where everyone talks, including Corrupt soccer players, expressing their feelings in a way rarely seen in fictional sports stories.

Its candor is so revolutionary that writer Charlotte Clemmer, in a recent newsletter, revealed what she calls the “lasso test.” Like the Bechdel Test, a test of sexism in films and television, the Lasso test scale is simple: “At least two men talk to each other about their mental health or emotional well-being in a frank, fragile, and loving way without having to involve women as means or guides to improving themselves.” If you You think this is an easy test to pass, you don’t watch enough TV.

Of course, this does not mean that everyone Ted Lasso These conversations go easily all the time – Dr. Fieldstone exists for a reason, after all. But he shows a willingness to talk about mental health at a time when it’s needed most. Sixteen months into the Covid-19 pandemic, things are still tough, and as Clymer points out in her article, “Domscrolling has gone offline and has become a huge thinking.” Even when people aren’t scanning for updates on a delta variant or the latest vaccination numbers, they are still walking around the world trying to figure out when to wear masks, or battles between those who do and those who don’t. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts seem to be at an all-time high and affect performance in the workplace – even for athletes.

On Tuesday, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles knocked herself out of the women’s all-around competition at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, saying she was not in the place to compete. Her announcement comes after tennis star and fellow Olympic Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon, citing the psychological losses caused by participating in the major tournaments.

Just a few years ago, perhaps the narrative in the sports world was that athletes of their caliber should be able to absorb it and play through the pain. But in 2021, for the most part, they’re being lauded for being the self-care champions.

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