That there is a person
Ted Lasso's reminder that dunking is mostly lame
Sports journalist Trent Crimm is going to write a book on the Richmond Football Club, coached by Ted Lasso and veteran footballer, Roy Kent. Crimm isn’t a bad guy, for a journalist. He says what he means and is a good listener. That’s why Ted seems to trust him enough to let him into the team locker room to eavesdrop and write his book. Roy Kent though is not amused at the presence of Crimm in Richmond’s space. Kent goes so far as to have the team be silent when Crimm is present, making his work almost impossible.
Lasso pulls Roy Kent aside and tells him to put an end to whatever beef he has with Crimm. Shockingly, Kent listens and has a one-on-one with the discouraged journalist.
“I was 17,” says Kent, with pain and anger in his voice. Kent pulled out of his wallet a crumpled piece of paper that has clearly been there for ages. It read:
"Roy Kent is an overhyped so-called prodigy whose unbridled rage and mediocre talent rendered his Premier League debut a profound disappointment."
Crimm looked at the floor and pursed his lips. He knew very clearly now why Kent had opted to make his life more difficult. Crimm’s cheap shot at Kent from over a decade ago had hurt the young athlete.
“I was just trying to be edgy and make a name for myself,” Trent sighed. He didn’t think of Kent as someone who could be hurt by a few nasty words in print. He was wrong.
This Is The Way is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
When is the last time you stood atop someone else to give yourself a little boost?
I know the last time I did was (at least) Friday of last week. There was news out that a Disney+ show called Willow was not being renewed for a second season, and I opted to Quote Tweet the news and be sarcastic at expense of the show and its (relatively few) fans. No harm done right? After all, who is the victim?
One person called me out on it and noted it was snide and unkind.
I thought about it for a while. That person was right. It cost me nothing to just say nothing. But I did it to score points and dance on the grave of a show I find to be silly. I guess I did it for the Likes. Lame. Something about dunking on stuff feels good. The thing is though, that show is in fact the blood, sweat, and tears of a bunch of human beings.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do film/tv criticism.
Stuff must be scrutinized. But I had zero stake in Willow, I hadn’t even watched it and didn’t a hoot about the quality of the work. I just had something clever to say about its somewhat predictable demise.
It’s not a perfect analogy to what Crimm wrote about Roy Kent in Ted Lasso. But I hope you get my point. Crimm is a talented journalist in Ted Lasso, he was going to be successful no matter what. Cutting down an insecure 17-year-old soccer player is not what made his career a success.
Two things are true at once.
1) We should all strive to be tougher than Roy Kent was in being criticized by a journalist desperate for attention. Everyone should strive to be less affected by words. 2) However, IRL….words do still hurt. I can’t tell you how many times I have had my attention devoured for a day and into the night by an unexpected criticism from a random human online. It sucks.
Choose your verbals barbs carefully. I want to be clear, sometimes people and things deserve to be criticized . But take a moment to think about the subject of your scorn as a human being. Then make a choice.
That there is a person.
And you may never know how your words impact their life, for good or ill. Save your breath for words that will do some good.
This is the way.