By Michael Evanko
Bowling is a game not many kids get into at a young age, but for Youngstown State University 2017-2018 bowling team MVP Emma Dockery, it’s a completely different story.
Dockery started bowling when she was just five years old and knew by the time she was in middle school she wanted to bowl at the collegiate level.
“Around middle school, I started to realize that I wanted to go to college for bowling and that is when I realized you need to break everything down and restart,” she said.
When talking to the standout bowler, a person can sense a passion and excitement about the sport of bowling some others do not share.
“I started bowling because my brother bowled in a Saturday morning league and I didn’t like sitting and watching him play,” Dockery said. “So, I ended up deciding on bowling because I was good at it without trying and it’s a very analytical game and I’m a very analytical person.”
With her strong passion comes tough criticism of herself. Dockery is the Penguins leader in both average score with 190 and season total pin count with 6,671, but that doesn’t mean she’s satisfied.
“It’s not where I want it to be, but I have high expectations of myself,” Dockery said. “I’ve had good days and I’ve had days that were just okay, but I’m proud that I haven’t had any very bad days.”
Despite her self-criticism, first-year coach Doug Kuberski has nothing but high praise for the sophomore.
“Emma has had a couple of big tournaments so far this season and has shown flashes of what she can do. I think she can be an All-American when it’s all said and done,” Kuberski said.
Despite the high praise, Dockery feels no pressure being the leader of the team.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure. One thing we’re good at as a team is lifting each other up,” she said. “I want Nikki [Mendez] to bowl just as good, I want both Rachels [Darrow and Ellis] to bowl just as good. If I’m not having a good day, somebody else steps up.”
A common phrase used by Kuberski and Dockery to describe the overall relationship of the team was “family.”
“The team is insanely close, the only time I don’t spend with someone on the team is when I’m in class, and even then I have classes with most of them,” Dockery said. “It’s like we’re a family, as cheesy as it sounds, but it’s true.”
Kuberski said through chemistry and respect the team has this family feel.
“We have a good time but we also know when to to get focused and keep things serious,” Kuberski said. “There is a really good balance. Underneath it all there is a great level of respect for each other. It feels natural.”