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Connor Bishop: An Indigenous Athlete's Journey from Logan to Collegiate Bowling Success

Connor's journey from Logan, Australia, to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia echoes a story of passion, ambition, and relentless pursuit. With a passion ignited at the tender age of three, he found solace and community within the realms of Tenpin Bowling, inspired by the resonating sound of crashing pins and the camaraderie of friends and family.

“The sound of pins crunching from throwing a good shot never gets old,” Connor laughs, reflecting on what has kept him in the sport for years. “It might sound cliché, but honestly, the people, my friends and family are also very invested in the sport, so it has just felt like the place to be, and I’ve never really wanted to do anything else other than bowl”.

The leap from Logan to SCAD represented not just a geographic shift but a leap of faith. With the shadow of more prominent collegiate sports looming over the prospect of bowling scholarships for males, Connor found his beacon of hope in Bek Commane, a SCAD alumna and Australian athlete. A fortuitous encounter led to a conversation that paved his path, introducing him to the guiding hands of Katie Thornton, SCAD’s bowling coach.

Transitioning to the US for college marked an exhilarating yet daunting phase for Connor. His flight across the Pacific marked not only his first international journey alone but also his initial experience of living without family nearby. Despite the challenges, this transition became a defining moment of confidence-building and humility.

In the classroom, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and delving into the realms of Social Strategy and Management aligns with his muse, Commane. However, Connor's collegiate journey faced hurdles, notably his freshman year's ineligibility due to grade conversion issues. Despite the setback, he embraced the challenges, transforming them into avenues for growth, navigating the complexities of being a student-athlete on an athletic scholarship.

As Connor anticipates his sophomore year, his reflections on the freshman season unveil a wise perspective. Despite encountering highlights like qualifying for the Intercollegiate Sections Singles, he missed the chance for a free trip to Vegas to compete against the top 24 in the country. Nonetheless, his aspirations for the upcoming season remain crystal clear: to ascend the ranks, compete in major championships, and contribute to a team victory.

Beyond the alleys, Connor's story holds an essential thread of Indigenous heritage. While not prominently emphasized in his bowling journey, it instills in him a sense of identity and community. With a desire to raise awareness and represent his indigenous heritage, Connor aspires to inspire others, showcasing that dreams, despite seeming far-fetched, are within reach with perseverance and support. “I do get a few shocked reactions when people find out that I have indigenous heritage”, explained Connor.

“The goal in raising awareness and representing my indigenous heritage would be firstly to show anyone that they can do anything they want and achieve a dream that might seem out of this world and out of the realm of possibility.

“I’ve sadly noticed a common trend with my mates with indigenous backgrounds that they would just drop out of school left and right, so I think collegiate bowling or even just collegiate sports, in general, are a good way of encouraging people to finish school”, Connor added.

Connor's narrative transcends the lanes; it's about breaking barriers, fostering inclusivity, and serving as an inspiration. His journey signifies that dreams know no boundaries, offering hope and encouragement to individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue their aspirations in education and sports. Read the full article here.

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