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By Claire C
Spending a Saturday afternoon watching the ARRG girls “jamming” The Prisoner of Azkaslam at Meadowbank Stadium instantly brought visions of some Edinburgh all-girl band with a Harry Potter fetish. I was wrong – very wrong. It was actually an an all female Roller Derby where I would be watching the Auld Reekie Roller Girls Twisted Thistles jam against London Rockin Rollers All Stars.
For those, like me unsure of what a Roller Derby involves, it is a team contact sport which resembles a race around a track with one skater “a jammer” moving through the pack of skaters gaining points for every opponent she passes. If she cannot pass any, no points are scored. There are three positions – a pivot ( who guides the speed of the blockers) four blockers (who attempt to knock down their opponents to allow their team through), and jammer. At first it looks complex but after a few jams (2 minute bouts in which they compete) it is easy to keep up to speed with what is happening.
As we walked into the reception we were met by smiling faces clearly realizing we were roller derby virgins directed us to the ticket counter and then to the fabulous Cake and Candy stall and to buy raffle tickets – both in aid of charity. Once our hand was stamped we proceeded to enter the hall where there was an eclectic mix of people – families, friends and couples both young and old. For some, such as the children sitting behind us this was not a new experience but there were plenty of people unsure as to what they were coming to. Thankfully the organisers realised this and before the game talked us through a jam to ensure we understood the rules and hand signals used by the referees – all of which was also explained in the programme.
What a game it was – plenty of action, blocking and visits to the sin bin. Auld Reekie lost to the Rockin Rollers (93-117) but what a great bout and fab atmosphere with no boo-ing of the opposition allowed – its all feel good fun. So much so that when one of the opposition had a problem with her skate an Auld Reekie girl stepped in to help.
With tickets priced from £5 in advance and children under 14 free it is great value for money and good family entertainment. The next bout – ‘Jurassic Skate Park’is on Saturday 4 September at Meadowbank, Edinburgh.