You’ve heard the expression, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” But what do you call a guy who is both?

Ted Lasso.

The hero of the Emmy-winning adult comedy TV series is a good-natured, people-loving, underdog you can’t help but root for. Especially since the deck is stacked against him from the start. He’s a guy in over his head, mocked by players, fans, the press, and even the owner who hired him. Ted has no shot. But no one should underestimate Ted Lasso.

  • “Do you believe in ghosts, Ted?”
  • “I do. But more importantly, I believe they need to believe in themselves.”

Ted is a good guy. He’s a believer. And he’s what Dostoyevski called Alyosha Karamazov — a “lover of humankind.”  What’s more, Ted is much tougher than he seems. He’s a lover and a fighter. This leads to today’s question:

Who fights for you?

See the Champion

Somewhere along the way you’re going to need someone to stand up for you. Whether in the locker room or the board room, somewhere, some time, you’re going to need a Champion.

In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, Tom Rath describes Champions as friends who…

  • accept you and sing your praises 
  • have your back, standing by you under pressure
  • can’t tolerate dishonesty, but can keep a confidence
  • are proud of your successes and share them with others
  • thrive on your accomplishments and happiness
  • stand up for your beliefs and promote your cause
  • are your best advocates 

The Champion is the friend who loves you, believes in you, and most of all fights for you. These are the homies who stand by you when you’re outnumbered. 

Who’s got your back? Who defends you when you’re under attack?

You need to see the people who stand by you, Recognize what a gift a loyal friend is. Do you see them? Will you free them to do what they do?

Free The Champion

There I stood, at the water fountain, a helpless little guy, when a big kid walked up and said, “Hey, punky first-grader! Last year you were in kindergarten. I’m in the second grade.” I don’t know who the kid was, but he clearly had the grade-school pecking order thing down. I stood there trembling.

Just then Vinny Serino walked up. Vincent “Vinny” Serino lived across the street. He was a fifth-grader and towered over the little bully, Vinny stared down at him and said: “Hey, punky second-grader. Last year you were in the first grade.” And that was that. The bully ran away and I was okay. Vinny stood up for me. Vinny was the man. Vinny was my Champion. 

But what if I’d have said, “Hey, Vinny, mind your own business!”? Or if I began to defend the bully? I might lose an advocate and find myself short on allies when I might need them.

Your Champions will fight for you if you let them. So let them. Let them know you appreciate them. A real Champion will also fight with you for your own sake — calling you to self-advocacy and strength — if you let them.

Free your Champions to do what they do best — fight for you and your cause.

Be The Champion

My oldest son, Nate, is a lover and a fighter.

When he was younger, he talked of becoming a lawyer.  In that season of time, I remember telling him, “If you do become an attorney, I want you defending me.”

“Why?” he asked. 

“Because,” I said, “I know that if you’re arguing my case and we lose, it’s because I’m guilty.”

Nate has always been smart, tenacious, and articulate. And he fights for the people he loves. I saw this in 2020, a difficult year of change and transition for me, Nate was a trusted ally, always in my corner. Was he always objective? No. Did he always say I was right? No. But I didn’t need him to.  I just needed him on my side, looking out for me and for my well-being. Nate did just that. 

Sometimes you need to be the Champion. Nate the Great has grown up to do just that. Not just for me, but for women and men coming home from prison. The deck is stacked against these people. They’re mocked and in over their heads. They have no shot. But no one should underestimate them. Nate doesn’t.

He loves, believes in, and fights for them and their families. He has chosen to be the Champion.

Look around you now. Who is getting picked on? Who is being targeted or overlooked? Is there someone in a vulnerable position who needs an advocate? Maybe you’re in a position of power — will you use it to be a voice for the voiceless? Maybe you have no clout — will you speak up anyway? 

Takeaway Questions…

  1. Can you see who has been a Champion for you? (List them here.)
  2. Who is free to play this role in your life? (Invite them to do so.)
  3. For whom should you be a Champion? (Who needs you to step up for them right now?)

Cut and paste your answer to any of these questions into the comments box on my blog page at
Or write me at

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