The inaugural season of the Cheshire Bears Women’s American Football Team, will be a year we all as players, coaches and committee members will remember for a lifetime. To make it to Finals Day and to place 3rd in a division with so many professional and hardworking outfits is an achievement we as Bears are all extremely proud of. However, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for our #8 Amanda Staples. A little over 6 years ago Staples decided after years of supporting her husband on the gridiron, she wanted more than to watch from the sidelines, she wanted to pull on that helmet and play herself. With no women’s teams in a close vicinity, Amanda and Coach Tom Staples decided to collaborate with the Chester Romans to establish one of the first Women’s teams in the North West. Little did she know, that this wasn’t just the creation of a team, but a family. So when Staples announced a few weeks ago, she would be hanging up her lid and cleats after 6 years of playing American Football, came as a tremendous shock to all us Bears. It’s impossible to even imagine not playing along side her anymore and to only hear her cheering for us from the sidelines.
Joining a new team can be a daunting experience for any individual, however, as marketing and recruitment manager, Staples has paved the foundation of an all inclusive women’s American Football organisation.
The 2018-2019 year has been one of the best seasons in Amanda Staples’ playing career. The first tournament of the season away at Teesside saw Staples join the “Chain Gang” with an interception and named Defensive MVP for her outstanding contributions on the field while playing out of position at MLB. Unfortunately during one of the first plays of tournament three, Staples broke multiple fingers meaning she was unable to carry on for the rest of the season. However not wanting to let the team down, Staples bravely strapped and padded up her hand over her splints for Finals day and unbeknown to the rest of the team kitted up as a Bear for one final time. The end of season awards saw Amanda honoured for all of her dedication. The Delaney-Staples Award was awarded to Amanda by our General Manager for her outstanding contributions as a player and committee member to the Cheshire Bears organisation. The Players Player award is voted by all current players and it came as no surprise to us that Staples was voted as this seasons players player; the impact she has in helping players on and off the field, as a friend, team mate and an experienced DB has been unwavering.
As a player, your number becomes part of your identity. It determines the position you play on the field, and the sense of pride you feel when you pull your jersey over your pads on game day. When you think of the number 8, you automatically think of Amanda Staples. To see any other player wear that number as a Bear just wouldn’t be the same.
The retirement of a number is one of the highest honours any player can receive. It’s a tribute to the hard work and determination you have put in as a player, it shows the impact you have had on a team and why your influence cannot be duplicated. At our End of Season Awards Night our GM, Arran, announced the retirement of the #8 jersey, a fitting tribute to one of the trailblazers of the Women’s game.
I think I can safely speak for all players past and present, that it has been an absolute pleasure, honour and privilege to play alongside you, Staples. Thank you for everything you have done, both as a team mate on the field and as a friend, because of you and this club, so many lives have been changed for the better. You have brought people together who wouldn’t necessarily have met in day to day life, relationships and bonds have been created because of you. And the love of American Football passed through to each rookie class coming through. You truly are an extraordinary individual. Your absence will leave a massive hole on the gridiron, it won’t be the same without you playing alongside us.
Enjoy hibernation #8.
Written by Charley Jeffries – thanks so much Charley lovely words!