If ever there was a Ted Lasso move, raising funds at Thundergong! last weekend would have been it.
The care and enthusiasm which Jason Sudeikis gave for the charity on a Kansas City stage were totally like Ted, the character he plays.
But then audiences have come to expect little else of the creator and star of Apple TV+’s award winning show. “Be the change you wish to see,” Sudeikis has said many times, quoting Gandi, and clearly meaning it.
Volunteering is wholly part of who Sudeikis is. This weekend’s music and comedy evening was the sixth Thundergong! which he has hosted for the Steps of Faith Foundation providing prosthetic limbs to those who need them. But there’s also his work for The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas, Chicago’s Poverty Alleviation Charities, the UK’s Red Nose Day, the NBA All-Star basketball celebrity.
Study after study has shown that volunteering not only makes us feel good about ourselves, it also contributes to better health and longer life expectancy. And it’s no coincidence that volunteering found its way into Sudeikis’s hit show.
For those who might somehow have missed the legendary Ted Lasso, Sudeikis plays the lovable American coach who arrives in the UK to turn around the fortunes of a fictional Premier League soccer team. You don’t need to understand or even like soccer to enjoy the show. His character doesn’t understand the rules either – it’s how the fish-out-of-water comedy works.
But you do need to pay attention to the show’s message of kindness. Ted is all about helping people be better versions of themselves. And that’s where the comedy breaks new ground – it inspires its audiences in their own lives. Volunteering, written into season two, is all part of it.
A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that adults aged over 50 who volunteered for four hours a week were 40% less likely than non-volunteers to develop high blood pressure four years later.
Another study published in the American Journal of Sociology followed a group of mothers over a thirty-year period for and found that of those who volunteered on a regular basis, only 36% experienced a major illness, while 52% of those who did not belong to a volunteer organization did.
Volunteering is like the superfood of the positive psychology world, according to Dawn Carr, MGS, Ph.D., “Later in life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one’s health than exercising and eating well,” she says. “Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer.”
Sudeikis clearly knows this.
Lucy Broadbent is the author of What Would Ted Lasso Do? How Ted’s Positive Approach Can Help You.
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Ted Lasso, seasons 1 and 2 available on Apple TV+. Season 3 due in early 2023.