Losers can be defined by many different things. They may have hunched shoulders. A sure sign that the owner of those shoulders is trying to make themselves shrink away from the public and any onlookers.
The person may refuse to look you in the eye, as if a simple glance would be illegal. Experiencing a 0-10 start to the BBL season could also be considered an indicator that the person in charge of that team is a loser.
But don’t tell Tim Lewis that.
Tim Lewis is the man with that unenviable record to his name but that is the only knock against an otherwise confident and upbeat man.
The Essex Pirates have started their league campaign without a single win and at times, their losses have been great: A 52 point loss to the Worcester Wolves in only the second game of the season was followed by a 69 point blow out to the Newcastle Eagles – just two of the crushing defeats handed out to Lewis’ team.
It’s enough to make a team quit. But that is one thing the Pirates Coach has no intention of doing “I thought we were robbed when we played Worcester (a 95-92 OT loss in October) – the players really deserved that win.” said a defiant Lewis “We’re undersized and undermanned to compete with teams in this league but we’re playing better”.
It takes a strong person to see the light through the increasingly dark clouds but luckily for Essex, they have one man who refuses to be brought down by the naysayers.
“We’re relying on the young kids to learn week in and week out and I don’t think they, or the ball club, get enough credit for that. It’s not about today. Sooner or later it’s going to click and we’ll get two or three wins on the bounce.”
It’s easy to laugh at such predictions when they are being said by a man who is yet to get a single W in the win column for the 2010 season but when you realise that the man stating it is also involved with the Great Britain Under 20’s, the laughter quickly stops.
“We set this (Essex Pirates) up and I was part of that establishment that started it and the reason was to prove that the British kids from this country could play in this league and that it’s not necessarily about wins and losses. We want to win and in the long term and we will” said Lewis.
Tim Lewis speaks with candour as he discusses his players, his side and his vision for the future of this ball club. He’s confident about where his team is going and doesn’t seem fazed about the terrible start his team is currently enduring.
It’s refreshing to hear a win-less coach speak openly with a reporter following a loss; no venom in his voice, no weariness towards the stream of tedious questions being pushed his way, just a quiet confidence that what he is doing is right and that all the doubters will become apologists when his vision is realised.
“We’re about the bigger picture here. We’ve set 5-7 years as a plan and in 2015 we’ll be playing in Europe, we’ll get there and it’ll be with a core of British guys”.
Tim’s shoulders are pulled back, his head held high and his stare fixed on me. This is a man who, against all odds, is supremely confident. And with that kind of confidence, the Pirates future is looking brighter than ever.
Keith Firmin is a freelance journalist who reports for the Leicester Riders