Meat the Meats – Panda Moanium

South Side GirlsMeet The Fresh Meats, Skater Spotlight

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What is the backstory on your Derby Name?

So, I’m Panda Moanium. I love pandas–I think they’re fascinating creatures. My personal connection is that I was born in Thailand and worked there as an adult for three years. While I was there, there was a contest to pick a name for the first giant panda born in Thailand. It was pandemonium! All anybody could talk about for a year was that panda (who was eventually named Lin Ping). I got a little obsessed myself. And now, eight years later, I’m Panda Moanium, too.

What do you do when your not at practice?

I work at College of the Mainland helping students who are facing serious barriers–either they’ve been out of school for awhile, they don’t speak English well, or they don’t have the academic skills they need to be successful. The best way to describe what I do is that I’m equal parts life coach, academic advisor, and vocational counselor.

Why did you start derby?

I started derby because a friend from book club signed me up. She loved it and said I would, too. I went through a bad breakup and needed some new activities and new friends. So, I started skate therapy.

Do you have any advice for any women out there sitting on the fence about joining a roller derby league.

Do it. If you don’t like it, you can stop. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.

A lot of people are scared, I think, of the violence of the sport, but they don’t realize that we’re all friends off the track and the safety gear and strict penalty rules reduce injuries. Plus, getting better at skating makes you safer–you’re less likely to hurt yourself and others. So, it’s well-regulated and gets safer as you play. I’ve been skating for five months and have had fewer injuries than I did long-distance running in that same period. Just saying.

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