Bears 5's - a players point of view
Paul McAnespie, age 55, has attended 32 Bears 5’s sessions including festivals. We asked Paul how he feels about his Rugby League journey this year:
"As a rugby union fan, I became aware of Coventry Bears when they started playing at the Butts Park Arena. My wife and I had watched a couple of games. I found out about Bears 5’s from advertising in their programme and on game days. I had played a little bit of Rugby Union back in my school days but was more of a fan than a player!
Having made a life changing decision to give up drinking alcohol after recomendation from my doctor to cut down just over a year ago, I also wanted to improve my fitness and think about losing weight. I was nervous about attending my first session as my fitness was really poor and I was overweight, but I was looking forward to it as one of the players, who was also a coach, had told me it would be fun following a Coventry Bears game.
That was it, I was hooked! My first session was great fun and I was completely shattered afterwards but felt so good. Since starting, I have lost almost two stone in weight (see before picture), my confidence has improved and I am entirely alcohol free. I would like to continue to keep my fitness up so I still attend as often as I can, but the most significant part is the people I've met who have supported me in my quest to be healthier, they are a great bunch and the coaching is great even by the young Apprentice who is not a player.
I've told a lot of people about the sessions and my son is going to start coming soon and hopefully I can convince more to come along. I've gained a lot more understanding of Rugby League and become a huge supporter of the club. There is such a welcoming atmosphere both on game days and in the community led sessions.
My wife and I have become season ticket holders, we have been to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and we watched the 4 Nations Double Header in Coventry in November. My new business, Brain Mechanic, is now a sponsor on the Coventry Bears playing kit which I am extremely proud to support and my wife also sponsors her favourite player.
Bears 5’s is hard to compare with anything else, but I love it and it has helped me significantly improve my life. I have so much confidence I have even started football training at the tender age of 55 in addition to my Rugby League!"