Finding parallels between ‘Ted Lasso’ and living with IPF

The comedy TV series reminded a columnist of his health journey

Samuel Kirton avatar

by Samuel Kirton |

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Have you seen the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso“? In it, Lasso is a fictional U.S. football coach who was recruited to manage a soccer club in the U.K. He was recruited because he knew nothing of European football. The club’s owner, Rebecca Welton, wanted the team to fail out of spite for her ex-husband.

I didn’t watch the series when it first aired but binge-watched it later. I could see parallels to my journey with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which included having a bilateral lung transplant.

Allow me to share a few of the life lessons and parallel themes I noticed while watching “Ted Lasso,” based on some of the characters.

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They call them the Diamond Dogs

Lasso is an unassuming, straight-talking person. He brought an understanding of team sports to the role of soccer coach, along with an infectious, positive attitude.

He hung a sign in the locker room with one word: “Believe.” He wanted the team to believe in themselves and each other. Shortly after my IPF diagnosis in January 2017, I wrote “BE POSITIVE IN ALL THINGS” in my journal. My attitude during this journey is reflected in these five words. I believe we were saying the same thing, although Lasso was more succinct.

If you have IPF or are a caregiver to someone who does, you’ll know that there are bad days. Another character in the series is Roy Kent, an older footballer on a team of younger, less experienced players. Known for his gruff attitude, Kent’s hallmark opening for any sentence or situation is “Oy,” which is used to get someone’s attention. He also often swears.

On bad days, I may have channeled a little bit of Kent. For example, experiencing an uncomfortable procedure may have caused me to utter the words, “Oy, that hurts like a [expletive].”

A few of the other characters formed a group with Lasso named the Diamond Dogs, where they would discuss and resolve issues brought up by its members. The Diamond Dogs functioned exactly like my care team. During my journey, I’ve had exacerbations and issues with a narrowing bronchial stem. When they happened, my care team discussed them and crafted solutions.

Finally, the fan base for the club Lasso manages was typical of any professional sports team. I am a longtime Buffalo Bills fan, and the Bills Mafia is known for their unwavering support of the team. I think it pales in comparison to the passion European football fans have for their teams, though. My village — the people who surrounded my wife, Susan, and me — exhibited the same passion as the fan base for Lasso’s club. They cheered us on during the good and bad days. Their support remains unwavering today.

Oy, thanks for indulging me in this analogy. It’s another way I can make every breath count.

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


Karen Carns avatar

Karen Carns

Another good story and analogy about life and how sometimes it just stinks! And, yes, there are other words to be used there.

Hope your Thanksgiving was great and that you are getting ready for the holidays that are fast approaching!

Samuel Kirton avatar

Samuel Kirton

Hi Karen,

Thanks for reading my column and your comments. The connection between Lasso and life as a patient became so clear.

Sam ...

kathleen daley avatar

kathleen daley

I loved your story my husband also had a lung transplant

Samuel Kirton avatar

Samuel Kirton

Hi Kathleen,
Thanks for reading ym column and your comment. I hope your husband is doing well and enjoying the gift he received.

Sam ...

Ana Q avatar

Ana Q

I'm trying to get my husband on the list for a lung transplant. We're about to start our journey. Wish us luck and many days of positivism, even in the face of less than perfect days.
Ana Q

Samuel Kirton avatar

Samuel Kirton

Hi Ana,
Thanks for reading my column and your comment. Being positive on this journey will take you far. It will also help on those days when nothing seems to go right. Can I ask you come back and let me know how you two are doing on this journey?

Sam ...


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