Meet Sam Collier
Sam (15) rolled his first bowl when he was seven years old. He grew up on a small island in northern Queensland and his mum was part of a small group of people who were trying to get the local bowls club up and running again, so they spent a lot of time at the club.
Sam plays bowls for between four and 12 hours a week, depending on the COVID situation and school commitments. “I don’t have to travel too far now for bowls since I moved to the mainland,” he said. “When I lived on the island, mum would organise four trips off the island every year for the kids in the club, and we would have to travel more than 1,000kms by boat and plane to compete!”
When Sam’s not playing bowls, he loves to surf most days with his brother. He skates, rides his mountain bike on the trails and plays volleyball. Sam is proud of being in the final 16 in the 2018 Victorian Open Men’s Open Pairs when he was 12. “We had some pretty tough competition to make it that far and it’s my favourite competition,” he said. Sam says he was “pretty stoked” to make the State team this year and feels privileged to live closer than 1,000kms to another club. “I still can’t believe a kid from a little island that played on a black wobbly rubber green could actually make it,” he said. “My new club has been so great in supporting me”.
Sam’s big brother Josh is his mentor, even though Josh stopped playing competitive bowls when he went to university, he is still a great training partner. “Actually, it’s really annoying how good he is at bowls still and he hardly plays,” Sam laughed. Fellow club member, Joe Franzi, is also a mentor as he encourages Sam to play his best. “Just being around and watching other club members play or playing against them is pretty cool. I guess they are my silent mentors,” he said.
Sam’s message to all young people is to give it a go! “It’s a lot of fun; there aren’t too many sports you can play on level pegging with older, wiser dudes, who know a bunch more about life than you do, and yet you still get the chance to whoop butt (sometimes). Hell yeah! Some days you feel like you can play like a champion, and the next day you feel you’d play better with your eyes closed. Bowls is like ping-pong chess on steroids. Sometimes there’s way too many pings and pongs and the game gets crazy out of control, but with calculated persistence and consistency, success can come. And that’s what you train for.”