Bay State Brawlers announce new skater class in January

LANCASTER — The Bay State Brawlers, Central Massachusetts’ premier nonprofit women’s flat-track roller derby league, has announced the date for its New Skater Class, where skaters of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds are encouraged to hit the track and give it their best.An eight-week commitment, the Bay State Brawlers asserts that because their sport is affordable and, perhaps more importantly, fun, it’s an easy way to sneak achievable exercise into your New Year’s resolutions.

From 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8 at Roll On America, 90 Duval Road, Lancaster, the league will be hosting its first New Skater Class of 2017, which includes an introduction to roller derby and a chance to strap on skates and pads. Though helpful, no prior skating experience is necessary.

Anyone wishing to attend should email join@baystatebrawlers.com.

Does the phrase “roller derby” bring to mind 1970s-era outfits and over-the-top theatrics? Heard of modern roller derby, but not sure what it’s all about? The sport has come a long way since its early days.

“It’s a full-contact sport,” says Annie Morphs, one of BSB’s lead trainers. “These days, though, there’s no fighting, and nothing is fake or staged.”

Annie describes the action as “a cross between racing and hockey. Skaters are sprinting around the track for points, but there is also hitting and blocking strategy to stop jammers from getting past us. It’s most definitely an athletic game.”

Though roller derby has a reputation as a rough sport, Annie believes that shouldn’t dissuade greener skaters from giving it a shot.

“The training team has structured the new skater program to

 give even the most inexperienced skater the skills needed to play this sport in a safe way,” she said. “Everyone is really supportive, on and offtrack. It’s great exercise, but we also have lot of fun.”

Those that aren’t quite up for hip-checks, but who have an interest in the sport, can participate in training as skating or non-skating officials. The organization is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all to develop and explore their strengths.

“There’s truly a place for everyone,” Annie said.

BSB began as Central Massachusetts Roller Derby in 2005, and morphed into the Bay State Brawlers in 2011. The league generally boasts about 40-50 skaters, 30-35 of whom have claimed roster spots on one of two travel teams. The Punishers is the league’s charter team, and the Brawlin’ Broads is its locally respected and competitive B Team. Remaining skaters in varying levels of training practice and scrimmage while they hone their skills. 2017 will be the league’s third year as an internationally-ranked member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, climbing to become the second-highest ranking in Massachusetts.

The Bay State Brawlers practice at Roll On America on Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. and on Sundays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. To register for the new skater class, or for more information, visit http://bit.ly/JoinBSBJan2017 or email join@baystatebrawlers.com.

A full schedule of Bay State Brawlers bouts and events can be found at www. baystatebrawlers.com.

The team is also actively seeking businesses and people to help support the league. To sponsor the league, one of the teams or an individual skater, email sponsors@baystatebrawlers.com.

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