San Jose, California's Premier Roller Derby League

Skater of the Month: Pandamonium

Posted on July 19th, by Leigh in Skater of the Month. 1 Comment

Panda Headshot

It’s bittersweet to celebrate our July 2013 Skater of the Month, Pandamonium. Long-time head coach of SVRG, Panda retired after our June 22 home doubleheader. Ever the super organized and planful coach, Panda began the transition months ago, which you can read about in her DerbyLife article. Panda was previously voted our Skater of the Month in March 2011.

Because she had been previously interviewed as SotM, Panda was gracious enough to answer some coach and transition-specific questions this time around.

Congratulations, Panda! All of us at SVRG wish you the best in your new adventures.

You started coaching SVRG in 2007 while still a skater for B.A.D. Girls. How did you make the transition from skater to coach?
The transition from skater to coach came at a time when I saw the best way to contribute to a league with the talents was through skills that I could offer off the track (organization and facilitation of training). It also came at a time when my body needed to heal from several injuries that had happened while competing in roller derby.

What do you enjoy about coaching?
I have always felt that I contributed much more as a coach to a league then I ever could have as an individual skater. Coaching a derby league means that you have an avenue to inspire and lead an already extraordinary group of individuals.

According to your May 2011 Skater of the Month profile, you are a strategy ninja. What does this mean as a coach?
To me, this means stepping back and analyzing strategy, skill, smarts, and attitude of the competition and formulating a plan for how to overcome them.

You are someone who has experienced a number rule WFTDA rule changes and the resulting game-play and strategies. What do you think about the current incarnation, and do you have any thoughts on the future of the sport?
WFTDA rules and strategy has changed so much since I began skating in 2006. I’m really happy with many of the changes that recently happened to the WFTDA ruleset but I think there are still some aspects that need to be fine tuned. The future of roller derby will no doubt be exciting! In the short future, WFTDA is expanding out to many new countries and the 2014 World Cup is coming up quick.

What are some of your favorite coaching memories?
Many of my favorite memories with SVRG have been when we have traveled all over the West Coast representing the league. One memory in particular was in 2011 when we traveled to Pikes Peak, CO with the Dots and the Killas and brought home two wins. Traveling with two teams was really stressful but it felt so good to be able to accomplish so much with such a large group of women.

Another favorite memory happened recently when we traveled to the Big O tournament in Eugene, OR this past May. We might not have won all of our bouts that weekend but as a team we genuinely had an amazing time traveling with each other. And you really can’t beat a derby trip that involves multiple trips to Voodoo Doughnuts, 10 a.m. karaoke in our hotel room, and dance off videos.

One of the favorite Panda traditions is Love Notes. Can you describe what they are and how they came about?
Love notes is a SVRG tradition that we do the last practice before every bout. The general premise is that everyone gets together after practice and writes inspiring statements, funny inside jokes, or encouraging notes to each other. Love notes have helped contribute to the overall culture of encouragement that spans throughout the whole league. For example, if the Hard Drivers have a bout, everyone on the Killas and Dots write loves notes for them. It’s a wonderful way to bond with each other and create a tighter community.

What would be your advice for aspiring roller derby coaches?
To inspire others, do what you are truly passionate about in roller derby. For example, I’m not passionate about leading physical conditioning and endurance training. SVRG is fortunate to have several coaches that do have this passion and do an excellent job of leading this type of training. I’m passionate about strategy and teamwork, which is why it genuinely enjoy leading team bonding drills and strategy sessions. When you are passionate about something, your enthusiasm is contagious!

Do you plan to stay involved in the roller derby community now that you have stepped down from coaching SVRG?
Roller derby is something that I love more than any other hobby that I have had in my life. I love the community that supports this DIY sport and I imagine myself to always be involved with roller derby in some capacity.

What do you plan to do with your newly-found free time?
I’m thrilled to be planning my dream wedding to my fiance and spending time on my much neglected hobbies!

Any final thoughts, Panda?
I want to thank everyone that has been a supporting of myself and of SVRG throughout my time with the league.Coach Panda with fellow coaches Beth Sentence, Pia Mess and Aim DeKill.

Most notably: Our generous sponsors, faithful EMTs, skilled photographers, talented volunteers, and strong business partners. Not to forget my family and friends that have continually supported my passion for this sport.

All the SVRG presidents: Death by Dollface, Zootown Throwndown, and Bionic BabyDoll. Your leadership has been a critical assets to the growth and success of the league.

Also the fellow coaches that I had the honor of working with: Aim DeKill, Pia Mess, Brawllen Angel, LTO Denny, Lindsay Lohanded, Evil Jinius, and Beth Sentence.


One Response to “Skater of the Month: Pandamonium”

  1. Rawr says:

    Going to miss you SO much Panda Bear! It won't be the same without you!