When did the teams form?
The Trailblazers formed in 2008 when a group of trans men and their allies came together to play softball in a co-ed league. The Barnstormers formed in 2012 when we found we had so much interest that we could form two teams!
What league do you play in?
We play in the Beantown Softball League. The BSL is the largest LGBT slow-pitch league in Massachusetts and hosts over 26 different teams in four different divisions.
When, where and how often do you try to practice?
We try to have at least three practices in April before opening day; once the season starts, practices are very infrequent and very casual. We know everyone has other time commitments and may not be able to attend weekday practices. Because everything is voluntary, the day and location of practices change based on interest. We will always practice in Boston or Cambridge, some place that is accessible via the MBTA. On rainy days we go to the indoor batting cages in Watertown.
Where are your games?
We play in Allston on Smith field (next to the Harvard Coliseum - see map), in the Fenway near Simmons College (see map), and on the Boston Common (see map).
Do you have tryouts?
Nope! People of all skill levels are welcome, as are people who have never played softball before, and there are no tryouts.
How long is your season?
We play between 18-25 games a season. Almost all our games are played on Saturdays and Sundays between mid-April and the end of June. We often have back-to-back games (double headers). We do not play on Pride weekend or over holiday weekends.
What kind of rules and regulations do you follow?
The BSL is part of NAGAA, which complies with the ASA. You can find official rules and regulations on their websites as well as equipment information. All bats NEED to have the ASA stamp. There are other rules too, like no stealing and no leading.
What kind of equipment will I need to participate?
You will need a softball glove. If you do not have one, we can help you find one to borrow. You will also need other generic athletic clothing. Many members of the team play in sneakers and shorts, but you should play in whatever you feel comfortable running in. You may use cleats if you prefer but metal spikes are not permitted and two of the fields we play on are Astroturf, where cleats are not recommended.
What are the costs associated for the season?
Unfortunately the costs will vary each year. There are player costs and team costs.
Individual player fees are $55. All of this money goes to the league to pay for things like field permits and umpire costs.
There is also a team fee which goes directly to the league. In the past, we have raised this money by passing the hat, donations, fund-raising, and sponsorships. If we are lucky enough to find a sponsor, we try our best to lower the costs for everyone. For the past eight years we've been lucky to find a sponsor who is committed to our mission. Sponsorship also helps to pay for uniform jerseys and other team equipment.
Because we are committed to our mission statement, we also make sure to provide a scholarship (we call them sportships) to anyone who needs one.
If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring the Trailblazers and/or the Barnstormers, contact one of the coaches.
How competitive is it? / I've never played softball before, will I fit in?
Many of us are not athletically talented. Many of us have never played softball before. We do not often win games, but we have A LOT of fun playing and, more so, playing as a team. This also means that if you are super competitive, you may get frustrated with our playing level. But please don't give up on us! We learn from more experienced players and could always use coaches.
Who else plays on the team? On the other teams?
The current complement of our team is mostly cisgender (not trans or genderqueer) women and trans people on the trans-masculine/AFAB spectrum. This dynamic changes every year, however, and we welcome everyone regardless of gender or orientation. Unfortunately, you must be 18 or older to play with us.
Although the league is advertised as co-ed, its predominant membership is cisgender white gay men in their 30s and 40s.
How do I find out more? Where do I sign up?
Send an email to any or all of our coaches: Robbie or Sawyer (for the Trailblazers), Ethan or Aiden (for the Barnstormers), James (for general inquiries), or Michael, the website administrator. You can also find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/teamtrailstormers.