Football As Life: ‘Ted Lasso’ Fans Find Hope at Lassocon

How to have a feel-good convention in lockdown.

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The first online gathering for Ted Lasso fans was birthed in the typical fashion: a bit of a joke in Clubhouse by people who met on Twitter. And so LassoCon came to be. Thea Newcomb, Chris Yeh, and Tim Taylor jumped in a Clubhouse room to Talk some Ted. Eventually, it became a standing appointment every Sunday that people would float in and out of as they pleased. Sometimes folks would stop by just to say hello, and other times deeper conversations about the show or something Lasso-adjacent would get going.

“It’s a show that just drew people in, and we’d just talk about the show through all kinds of different lenses,” Taylor said to open the conference. “And for me, Chris was the tributary to the ocean of love and laughter that is Ted Lasso.”

It’s the odd cultural phenomenon, in that people gradually discovered it during the pandemic and came to appreciate the show mainly in isolation. There were no watch parties or live tweets as most of us didn’t give the show a shot until after Apple released the entirety of the first season. And the show has one of the highest enthusiasts-to-hater ratios in television history, with very few agnostics sprinkled about.

Because so many isolated people found meaning in a show that, at its core, is about our shared humanity, the idea of getting Ted Lasso fans together made a lot of sense. And so last weekend, powered by Zoom and Eventbrite and zeal, it came to be.

The gathering felt a lot like a recovery meeting where nobody was currently in crisis. Everyone who attended was encouraged to share if they wanted to. “We don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t participate if they’re not on the schedule,” said Yeh. “Raise your hand, jump up on the stage, share what’s on your heart. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned from Ted Lasso, it’s that we are all in this together.”

A handful of the 40 people from around the world in attendance that day recounted how the show grounded them during the difficult past 18 months and how Ted Lasso reflected their brokenness while giving them hope for the future. Particularly striking were the people who shared about their loss during the pandemic, some in the form of relationships and others because their loved ones died when our typical rhythms and grieving practices were impossible.

“I’m going through a divorce,” shared one participant. “I see myself in Ted and I’m trying to be the better person. To lead with love and kindness and hope.”

Some of the sessions were loosely organized, with Thea coordinating trivia time, artists sharing how Ted Lasso has inspired their work, and a panel for those of us who have started Ted Lasso podcasts. I facilitated a discussion on Ted Lasso and the Divine Feminine while Chris and Tim laid out what we can learn about healthy masculinity from the show. And Jeremy Swift himself was kind enough to record a greeting for the event, which was just perfectly lovely.“Hello Tedheads,” Swift said. “I just want to welcome you to this lovely festival celebrating the show and its hilarity and its positivity. Have a lovely chit-chat.”

The whole thing felt like a needed deep breath as we embark on the new experience of enjoying the show together. Instead of the “I found this great new thing” vibe that defined much of our Season 1 experience, we now get to enjoy a “we are in this together” paradigm for season 2. Lasso Con was a great reminder that we will both laugh and cry a lot over the coming weeks, but we get to do it as a community this time.

Check out the author’s Ted Lasso podcast: Richmond Til We Die: A Ted Lasso Podcast

Ted Lasso Season 2 is streaming on Apple TV+ now.

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