Jodie Fleming-Stanley writes: Two years ago, you’d be forgiven for asking ‘What’s Roller Derby?’ However this sport has exploded throughout Scotland, and nowhere more prominently than in Edinburgh! Our local team, the Auld Reekie Roller Girls, have quickly carved a name for themselves in European Roller Derby history as one of the most imposing teams in Europe, as well as being the second team in Britain to become sanctioned by the WFTDA, the worldwide ‘governing body’ of the sport. And while other Scottish teams attract their own fanbases, Edinburgh locals have really got on board with Roller Derby and bouts regularly draw attendances of 600+; a cult following which is the envy of the rest of Europe.
The Auld Reekie Roller Girls are playing two monumental bouts this festival to showcase their awesome talent. The Cannon Belles play Glasgow’s Maiden Grrders on Sat 6th Aug, and the Twisted Thistles play Stuttgart Valley Roller Girls on Sat 20th Aug. These games will be particularly interesting, as both Edinburgh teams are so far undefeated this year. Also, Glasgow’s all-star Irn-Bruisers suffered a crushing defeat by Stuttgart Valley last month – so the Twisted Thistles will be particularly looking forward to another win against Stuttgart, who they have already beat last year.
Roller Derby is a family-friendly sport, and children under 16 go free. It’s really fun to watch, and don’t let the cute outfits and quirky names fool you – these girls are serious athletes! They train hard; up to 4 gruelling sessions a week – and the results are a group of feisty, edgy, competitive machines who have been catapulted to the top of European league tables as a result of their pure passion for roller derby.
So if you’re still asking ‘What is Roller Derby?’ It’s 2 half hour periods consisting of 2 minute jams. Each jam consists of 5 players from each team, skating in a tight formation called a pack. One from each team is a ‘jammer’ whose aim is to lap her opponents and score points. The other four are ‘blockers’, who are there to take that jammer out by whatever legal means possible! It can get nippy at times, and a track-side ‘suicide seat’ could result in you ending up with a roller girl in your lap – which is why those seats are so popular! Most of all, Roller Derby is about fun! Fun and empowerment, and it’s clear to anyone who watches the fabulous Auld Reekie Roller Girls in action that they’re all empowered and having a whole heap of fun!
There’s also the most amazing selection of cakes, craft stalls and custom jewellery available to purchase so although the tickets are a very reasonable £5 each, bring more money as you may be tempted by pretty sparkly things! There’s also a sad tinge to proceedings though, as star jammer and one of the original Arrg girls, Juicy Lucy, is leaving to move to the big smoke. Her team and fans alike are both devastated about this news, though Auld Reekie’s loss is London Roller Girls’ win! So good luck, Juicy! This article comes with one promise – one bout, and you’ll be hooked! Roller Derby has some kind of fairy dust sprinkled on it which enraptures everyone – both skaters and spectators! If you don’t end up skating for the league, you may just find yourself with a season ticket for what is the hottest sport around!Meadowbank Sports Centre 6th & 20th August £5 Get Tickets