Goldera Surles M’23, understands the daunting task facing her this academic year. It’s not her studies for her master’s degree in communications or her duties as a resident director fellowship.
It is the responsibility she shares with her Merrimack College women’s bowling teammates to come up with the cheers and celebrations that will set the tone for the team’s inaugural season, and for years to come.
“Despite what people might think, collegiate bowling is very loud,” said Surles. “There is a lot of energy because it is a team sport. And every team has cheers distinct to them, for example when someone gets a strike or a turkey (three strikes in a row.) Being loud and encouraging your teammates is important because you’re trying to keep everyone on track.”
Surles comes to Merrimack by way of Molloy College in New York, where she bowled for the Division II team and studied communications and Spanish. She said she decided to pursue a graduate degree after she, and thousands of student-athletes across the country received an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic.
“After I was recruited to Merrimack I went to a virtual info session and talked with Prof. Andy Tollison,” Surles said. “We had this great one-on-one conversation and it seemed to me the Merrimack community would be this personable during the semester. I didn’t want to feel like I was getting lost in the crowd.”
As she continues her communication studies, Surles said she ultimately wants to get into the entertainment field, such as film or television. But first, she must help launch the women’s bowling team, the season which starts in October and runs through at least March.
It was Surles’ parents who got her into bowling. “I was 3 years old according to them,” she said of when she first picked up a bowling ball. Among the many aspects of the sport that Surles said she enjoys is how much of the competition is mental.
“I don’t always have to be the strongest or most fit,” she explained. “If I can keep my head on straight while I’m bowling, I can keep my head on straight with anything in life. The unique thing about bowling is no one else can throw you off except you. It is similar to life.”