Hidden gems abound in this Streaming Age of TV. Who would have thought that Jason Sudakis and Zach Braff could come up with such a delightful sports sitcom? On Apple TV, Ted Lasso, is a show about a successful “American” college football coach at the lower levels who is brought in to coach a Premier League Euro soccer team in fictional “AFC Richmond” in England. Ted has a reason to take the job. His wife needs space. His insanely positive attitude (about absolute everything) has worn her down, and she just can’t take it anymore. Ted knows nothing about soccer, but he knows how to encourage and just generally “be sweet.” It’s off putting at first, it’s that sweet. However, the more we watch Ted connect with his new owner the more we see he may be onto something. Sudakis explains the premise well here — he’s “Jimmy Stewart meets John Wooden.” We didn’t know we wanted it right now, but wow is Ted Lasso cathartic.

In his first meeting with the team owner, Ted tells her that he would like to have a morning briefing with her in her office to start each day. She wants this enterprise to fail, so she initially declines. Ted then pulls out delicious “secret recipe” pastries that he promises to bring to each meeting. Those pastries take on a story of their own — has Ted found a pastry spot here in Nowheresville, England, already? Is he making these from scratch? The owner is overwhelmed by the moist pastries, so she agrees to the meetings. It’s truly a classic “Jimmy Stewart/John Wooden” move. It’s so disarming, yet so “not” manipulative. Ted Lasso can sell anything to anyone. He does it with a lot of corny dad jokes, and they work! He controls by not coming across as controlling.

Much like Mockingbird favorite Friday Night Lights, Ted Lasso is about the coach and his relationships with his family, his staff, and his players. The grace with which Ted treats the “team manager” (who has been bullied for years by a team of overpaid athletes) is worth the $5 Apple TV investment. But Ted’s Fred Rogers sentimentality also puts him at odds with those who can’t stand such a sweet, loving, and positive person. When things go wrong, he is likelier to have a funny quip or a relevant story than get angry.  He doesn’t blame or find fault, but stays upbeat and encouraging. With his unending grace, Ted Lasso wins over the club and the ownership. But to the jaded cynics, Ted was expendable — his wife, his previous sport, and anyone annoyed by his corny, positive spirit.

As we consider that the “Hound of Heaven” who drags us across the line of salvation and doesn’t let go — straight past sanctification, and into glory — we have to ask, “What can I do?” The answer? Believe that you’re loved (by faith) and love others (and shake it off if you don’t receive love in return). That sounds like what a good disciple is. Ted Lasso doesn’t judge or criticize, but heaps grace upon grace on everyone, expecting nothing in return. He’s right, too; a lot of these guys don’t return anything.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a great baseball player. I had a good run with it, but that dream died in high school. When I became a Christian, I wanted to become moral and virtuous and a “kingdom builder.” I wanted to be “transformed” into a bit of a Christian dynamo. I have given my soul and vocation to that for most of my adult life. I made the sales (i.e., got a lot of converts) and you know what? Now I just wanna love people. I wanna be Ted Lasso. This guy just seems to believe by faith that he is loved — even by the wife who has sent him divorce papers. He is just a dude who “walks by faith, not by sight.”