Meet Liam Spivey.
Mental health is the biggest killer in men under 45, and those who are bisexual, gay or transgender are at the highest risk. The Hull Roundheads is an inclusive rugby team and a safe space for all, regardless gender, orientation, race or religion. As a team we hold high values and beliefs of equality. We do not and shall not discriminate, those values are not just instilled in inclusive rugby but rugby as a whole.
As someone who has and still does struggle with mental health and particually keeping a leash on the black dog for many years, I can honestly say joining The Hull Roundheads has not only kept that leash on but put that black dog back in its cage. There has always been an uphill battle to find happiness. Little did I know it was just one scrum away!
We all have our own struggles in life on and off the pitch, and sometimes, one of those darker days come back. Having something to focus on and motivate me has not only allowed me to focus on something as a distraction, it has allowed me to have the head space to clear out negativity. It doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day, once you step on the pitch, whether it be training or a match, because that black dog is always lurking what ever the situation, just knowing you have the full support of everyone on that team somehow lifts those clouds. It allows you to see the kindness in everyone. It allows you to appreciate and value those around you again and most of all it allows you to have your self worth and belief back.
Everyone on the team has either battled with or known someone who has battled with mental health, and I am proud to say that no matter what, nobody gets left behind with The Roundheads. There is always an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on or a scrum to vent out in. Whatever your way of dealing with your own mental health, I can recommend training sessions with the team has been the best medicine. The physical side of playing for the team has not only improved my physical fitness but as a consequence this itself has also improved my mental health. I can be at the peak of my physical fitness ( Slight exaggeration there, moderate physical fitness ) and I can be who I truly am while still enjoying the sport I love. That alone has allowed me accept myself more. Be myself and be part of this amazing team. I actually look forward to training, which means I look forward to physical activities. Which is not a sentence I would of said a year ago !
I know full well my anxiety almost got the better of me on my first training session but honestly it was the best decision in my life to get out my car that night and get stuck in. I have never looked back since. Pulling up palms sweating, heart rate racing, physically shacking, ( thats before even doing a warm up ! ) but as soon as I step onto that pitch and was greeted with everyones smiles and laughter, it all went away very quickly. I felt welcomed and my only regret it that I didn’t join sooner. I finally felt at home.
We are not only a team, but an extraordinary family. I had no confidence in myself and lost who I was before I joined this team, now I feel I can take on the world. Just to know that no matter what, they will always have your back, on the pitch and off. I know I can approach any member of this team and each and everyone of them will give you that support you need. To me it’s not just about playing rugby, attending social events. It’s about being part of an amazing team with different people from all walks of life and been able to be the best you that is in there.