Ender’s Game for Sam Obisanya

“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is a science fiction novel set in Earth’s future, where humanity is preparing to defend against a foreseen third invasion by an alien species known as the “buggers.” The story follows Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a young boy recruited into an advanced military space academy to be trained as a future commander. Ender is isolated, manipulated, and pushed to his limits to develop his strategic and leadership skills.

In the context of “Ted Lasso,” Ted and Coach Beard give Sam Obisanya the book “Ender’s Game” as a form of mentorship and encouragement. They see parallels between Ender’s situation and Sam’s potential and challenges. Like Ender, Sam is young, talented, and finds himself in a situation that requires him to grow rapidly and face significant challenges, both personally and professionally.

Ted and Coach Beard likely see the book as a way to inspire Sam, helping him to recognize his own leadership qualities, resilience, and the importance of making strategic decisions. They want Sam to understand that, despite youth and external pressures, he possesses the inner strength and intellect to overcome obstacles and lead effectively. The gift of the book is a symbolic gesture, signaling their belief in Sam’s potential and their support for his development, much like the mentors and commanders in Ender’s life.

The Beautiful and the Damned for Jamie Tartt

“The Beautiful and the Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel set in the early 20th century, focusing on the lives of Anthony Patch, a socialite and presumptive heir to a fortune, and his wife Gloria. The story explores themes of greed, moral decay, aimlessness, and the disillusionment of the American Dream. Anthony and Gloria’s lavish lifestyle, fueled by expectations of a large inheritance, leads to their eventual downfall, as they face financial ruin, relationship struggles, and personal disintegration. The novel critically examines the pursuit of wealth and beauty, highlighting the emptiness and futility that often accompany such superficial goals.

In “Ted Lasso,” Ted and Coach Beard give Jamie Tartt the book “The Beautiful and the Damned” as a form of insight and reflection. Jamie, much like Anthony and Gloria, is initially portrayed as a character obsessed with fame, external appearances, and his own status as a star footballer. However, his superficial lifestyle and arrogance mask deeper insecurities and a lack of fulfillment.

By giving Jamie this book, Ted and Coach Beard are likely attempting to mirror back to Jamie the potential pitfalls of his current path. They want him to see the dangers of living a life driven by vanity, ego, and the pursuit of empty pleasures. The hope is that Jamie will recognize the parallels between himself and the characters, prompting a moment of self-awareness and growth. The gift of the book is a subtle nudge for Jamie to reevaluate his priorities, understand the deeper values in life, and start his journey towards genuine self-improvement and meaningful success.

We can only hope that Jamie takes the book out of the trashcan and learns the lessons the coaches were aiming for.

A Wrinkle In Time for Roy Kent

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle is not just a tale of cosmic adventure but also a profound narrative of personal growth and leadership. The story centers around young Meg Murry, who, along with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O’Keefe, embarks on a quest across time and space to save her father. Under the guidance of mystical beings, Meg faces challenges that test her self-doubt and fears. It’s through these trials that she realizes leadership must come from within herself, embodying courage, love, and acceptance of her own imperfections.

In the context of “Ted Lasso,” Ted and Coach Beard give Roy Kent this book as a subtle guide towards self-discovery and leadership. Like Meg, Roy is initially fraught with personal doubts and struggles to express his deeper emotions, masking vulnerability with toughness. The story of Meg’s transformation is a parallel to Roy’s journey; both need to confront their internal battles to emerge as leaders.

By presenting “A Wrinkle in Time” to Roy, Ted and Coach Beard are encouraging him to recognize that true leadership stems from embracing one’s flaws and stepping up in moments of uncertainty. They want Roy to understand that, much like Meg, he can navigate the complexities of life and leadership by acknowledging his vulnerabilities and using them as strengths. This book serves as a metaphor for Roy’s potential growth, urging him to lead not just on the field, but in life, by facing his fears and owning his journey just as Meg did. It’s a call for Roy to find the leader within himself, realizing that, in the end, it must be him.

As we see at the end of this episode, Roy is not thrilled with this (as he cusses at Phoebe and tells her to mind her own business), yet picks up the mantle of leadership and leaves to confront Jamie Tartt about bullying. That is clearly the next step in his leadership journey.