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Bishop embodies dual mission of Bengal Bouts

Cole Schietinger | Thursday, February 28, 2013

As a three-year boxer who served in Bangladesh last summer, senior captain Pat Bishop is one of the best representatives of the dual mission of Bengal Bouts. While he may train for months to compete in the ring, Bishop’s main focus and motivator is not boxing, but instead serving the Holy Cross mission in Bangladesh, thousands of miles away, but still close to his heart. 

Reflecting on his eight-week visit there last summer, Bishop said serving in Bangladesh helped provide perspective for his overall Bengal Bouts experience. 

“It made everything I’ve done the last three years, or the previous two years and going forward this year, feel redeeming,” Bishop said. “Just that experience alone was my favorite part of Bengal Bouts thus far, even though it didn’t involve boxing. My favorite memory from these three years, would definitely be being in Bangladesh for eight weeks, really understanding why we fight, and seeing how much people appreciate it and what it does for them.”

Fr. Leonard Shankar Rozario, one of the priests in Bangladesh, helped Bishop begin to understand Bengal Bouts’ importance with a message for Bishop upon his arrival.

“Your labor bears the fruit of the Bengal Bouts mission so that as we state ‘Strong bodies fight that weak bodies may be nourished,’ I welcome you as a member of not only the Notre Dame men’s boxing team, but also as a member of the Holy Cross community,” Rozario said to Bishop. “Notre Dame and Bangladesh are 10,000 miles apart; you are the link between the two.”

Bishop is also a respected leader among his peers, as his peers gave him the honor of serving as a Bengal Bouts captain. 

“The junior captains last year and seniors from last year get together, and it’s really up to the juniors because they’re the guys that get to work with those [new captains],” Bishop said. “I had people tell me that I could be asked. I didn’t want to give into that because regardless of whether I was asked or not, I was going to be a big part of [Bengal Bouts this year] anyways.”

Even in high school, Bishop was a leader in sports, as he was the captain of his high school track team and a member of the wrestling team. In fact, Bishop said the combination of these two interests is what led him to boxing.

“The fitness part of [wrestling] definitely got me into boxing, but it was more being part of a team,” Bishop said. “In high school, I was captain of the track team, so I like to have that leadership role and I enjoy being part of the team. I came into boxing not knowing anything about it, but I just wanted to be part of a team.”

However, Bishop did not box freshman year, as he tried to walk on to the Notre Dame track team. When he first went to watch Bengal Bouts though, Bishop said he knew immediately that it was something he wanted to participate in.

“The first time I went to the bouts was the preliminaries round,” Bishop said. “I was like ‘This is cool,’ so I went to all four rounds and I knew right there I was going to try next year.”

Looking back on his decision, Bishop said he couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve said all along, after last summer and my previous two years, that becoming part of the Bengal Bouts is the best decision I’ve made at Notre Dame, and it’s definitely my favorite experience,” Bishop said. “I may not have done great in the tournament, but I was putting the time in and trying my best, and I think that it has been a great investment of my time.

“The Bengal Bouts has taught me to do all you can, and that with the hope that hard work pays off in the end. I’ve really loved it, and would encourage anyone to participate.”

Bishop has put a lot of time and effort into Bengal Bouts, but has received just as much in return. From his hard work in “The Pit” to his devotion to the Bengal Bouts mission, Bishop has worked tirelessly to help not only himself, but also those around him.

Contact Cole Schietinger at cschieti@nd.edu