Back in 2008, a few folk who’d heard of a thing called ‘roller derby’ met in an Edinburgh pub to talk about it. Could it happen in Edinburgh? Why not give it a go? And so the Auld Reekie Roller Girls (later renamed as Auld Reekie Roller Derby) were born, and that idea of aiming high never left us.
From the first practices in church halls, with cheap skates, minimal protective equipment and an even more minimal grasp of the game itself, to a league that’s bursting at the seams, boasts three competitive travel teams, a regular new intake and a very loyal fan base… what on earth happened in between?
– First meeting in Bannermans, league begins to form, members learn how to skate, officiate, and build up a committee based league! Also, lest we forget, how to set up a MySpace profile.
– First home bout, Fishnet Burns, between two home teams, Celtic Chaos and Highland Heathens. Guest skaters from London Rollergirls help to make up numbers.
– First travel team is born, the Twisted Thistles.
– Twisted Thistles participate in first European tournament, Roll Britannia, placing 4th
– We form a B team, the Cannon Belles. First double header game is held at Meadowbank Sports Centre, against Glasgow.
– Played ‘Fear and Lothian’ away game v Birmingham Blitz Dames – our only ever recorded draw (117 – 117) now impossible!
– We participate in first Scottish Tournament, Highland Fling, in Aberdeen (pictured – photo credit – Wullie Marr).
– Beginners programme starts.
– The Thistles have their first trip abroad, to Stuttgart, where they skate out holding hands to Donald Where’s Yer Troosers.
– Auld Reekie become all official as a limited company.
– We get a new and improved league logo.
– ARRG kidnap Montreal’s New Skids on the Block when they’re over in London and bring them to the Jack Kane Centre so they can play a sanctioned game.
– After a highly contentious name vote, the new Auld Reekie Home Teams are born – the Skatefast Club, Cherry Bombers and Leithal Weapons battle it out on track. The Leithals take the win.
– Some of our skaters represent on Team Scotland for the first Roller Derby World Cup in Toronto, our refs Ella Bella, Cherry Fury and MegLe Maniac become the first Scottish refs to officiate a World Cup/Internationally.
– Auld Reekie become the first Scottish WFTDA full member league.
– The Thistles first trip to Finland!
– First ever School of ARRG Knocks (SOAK) bootcamp is held at Meadowbank!
– The Thistles take 3rd place at the ‘Chaos on the Clyde’ Tournament.
– Attended the first European Roller Derby Organisational Conference (EROC) in Berlin.
– First trip to America! The Thistles are one of the first European teams to participate in the East Coast Derby Extravaganza in Philadelphia, PA, defeating teams ranked up to sixty places above them.
– SOAK 2 boot camp: Even ARRGer.
– The Cannon Belles have their first international game, in Amsterdam. Almost the entire league comes to cheer them on.
– The second home season – the Leithals do it again!
– SOAK 3: ARRGer than ever.
– The Thistles go to America again – this time to compete in the Big O tournament in Eugene, Oregon.
– The third home season – aaaand this time it’s Skatefast for the win!
– The Belles head to Oslo for a hammering in two tough games.
– Auld Reekie skaters represent Team Scotland and Team Belgium, at the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, Texas. (Team Scotland pictured – photo credit – Dave McAleavy)
– Auld Reekie ups its marketing game, and renames the Thistles and the Belles – they become the Auld Reekie All Stars, and the Auld Reekie All Stars Reserves (don’t try and say that too quickly).
– The All Stars travel to Berlin for two tough games. Doom is flown out as last minute reserve. #WheresDoom is born.
– SOAK 4: HungARRG games.
– The All Stars megabus round the UK to compete in the first British Champs (Tier 1), for which Auld Reekie host an amazing day at Meadowbank. We place second! There were medals!
– The fourth and last Home Season (RIP) – and the Leithals swing it back one last time. ‘Mon the Cherry Bombers!
– The All Star Reserves head to Copenhagen for their hammering this time…but at least there was karaoke. (Photo credit – Peter Troest)
– SOAK 5: SOAK5al!
– The All Stars head stateside again – the call of the Big O was just too strong.
– All Stars qualified but declined Division 2 Play Offs place!
– Auld Reekie has GROWN! So many skaters! Nothing else to do… let’s form a C team – the All Star Rookies, or ASTROs, are born. They host and win the ARRGmageddon tournament, not bad going for the babies of the family.
– Fresh Meat is renamed Skate Skills 101, and we manage to get funding for loaner kit, so even more people can join us!
– British Champs again – but this time, it’s the All Star Reserves who get to bus around the country! Yay! They place second in Tier 3, and get promoted to Tier 2 for 2018. Amazing.
– All Stars compete in the first ever EuroClash, hosted by Newcastle Roller Girls. Everyone’s highlight was Dr Watson, the resident dog.
– All Stars second trip to Finland!
– the All Stars make it to D2 Play Offs in Pittsburgh, Division 2. Play Offs. (Ok so we bombed out in the first day, but we made it!)
– We host the first ever Big Blether – bringing together roller derby leagues from all over Scotland to chat about working together to make things even better.
– The ASTROs host and win ARRGmageddon, again!
– We say a tearful goodbye to Meadowbank Sports Centre, the venue for all our home games since 2009, as it gets knocked down ahead of being completely rebuilt.
– Auld Reekie skaters represent yet again at the 3rd Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester, UK (Team Scotland, Team Poland and Team Baltic).
– Thanks to some funding, we have get a professionally made video.
– 10th year birthday celebrations were had!
– We became one of the first community sports clubs in Scotland to sign up to the SAMH Charter for Physical Activity and Sport.
– Name change vote from Auld Reekie Roller Girls to Auld Reekie Roller Derby!