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View Full Version : [moderated]: Worst Call Ever and Congratulations from San Jose


ducttapejason
03-26-2005, 06:54 PM
Let me start this post by saying how much I love teams 22 and 980. My own high school owns its entire team to Wendy Wooten, and the rest of Chatworth High School. And i always get much use from the thunderbots copier as the Pit Admin Manager.

But at the Silicon Valley Regional a 30 pt penalty was called against the alliance that was against 254. This is the most controversial thing I have seen in my 5 years of FIRST. There was no flag thrown on the play, and i will let others describe their eyewitness accounts of the events, since i did not see the exact infraction as it occurred, by i was next to the loading station and saw no flags. All that I did see was the Regional Director, a Bellarmine alumni, discussing with the head referee DURING the match. I have been a referee during the match and you never take your eyes off the game. Also the rules are that the decisions that the referees make are final, and are not subject to intervention by the teams, or anybody else including staff.

I hope that the kids of Bellarmine at least appreciate what NASA has given to them. I know that if I was handed everything, i may not be the most thankful if i did not realize it.

Congratulations to 22 and 980 for their continued success as they strive to improve themselves, and the FIRST community.

Next week I will be a referee at the Southern California event. I will make sure that impartiality will be my watchword as i try to keep the game fair and just.

Brandon Martus
03-26-2005, 07:06 PM
And, to test out the moderated forum (and keep this thread 'nice') this is being moved to the moderated forums. If you're new to the moderated forum, this is how it works: Any and all replies must be approved by a moderator before they are made public.

abeD
03-26-2005, 07:11 PM
Well from experience from UCF and volunteering I got to stand next to the referee for the entire day. And sometimes they wouldn't throw a flag just make a note of it or tell another ref. Sometimes they wouldn't say anything at all but they would still make the call. And yes I did talk to referees during the match that doesn't mean they're not watching.

jgannon
03-26-2005, 07:46 PM
It sounds to me like you're making some harsh accusations, and I'm interested to hear your rationale. I assume that the "Regional Director" to which you refer is Jason Morella. Though he is one of the founders of 254, I am certain, both by virtue of his reputation and of my contact with him, that he has more candor than to try to swing a match to his old team. Someone with a lack of integrity does not ascend to a position of managing the entire west coast for FIRST. Admittedly, it would not be a particularly good idea to distract a referee during a match, but this mistake is undoubtedly a product of human nature, not corruption. There is also no indication (from your post, at least) that this event directly contributed to the penalty.
I hope that the kids of Bellarmine at least appreciate what NASA has given to them. I know that if I was handed everything, i may not be the most thankful if i did not realize it.
NASA provides a great deal of resources to team 254; it's no secret. You can be thrilled for their success and the strength of their partnership (compared to their early pittance of an existance) as they help to support other teams and advance the ideals of FIRST, or you can think of them as the Yankees of FIRST, a team that perennially buys victories. There are many folks on both sides of the fence, and you're free to think as you wish. We're all a little jealous of 254... we all wish we could win a regional EVERY SINGLE YEAR. However, to let jealousy overtake you, and to publicly accuse the students of being ungrateful is ingracious. I look forward to hearing other accounts of this event, but at this point I see more frustration than intentional injustice.

jrmjames
03-26-2005, 07:54 PM
Jason,
I can understand you are upset about the outcome of the SVR. It is always difficult when a penalty decides the outcome of a very important match. However I do not believe this to be unfair. The regional director you are referring to is a very honest and fair man who I would never believe to use his place of power in that regional to manipulate the outcome in any way. Furthermore the students on team 254 work very hard and do a very good job. They also help many many other teams. They may be a very large organization now, but they started from one of the smallest teams in FIRST. They have built themselves through success and perseverance trying to make themselves into a team of sportmanship, education, and everything else FIRST stands for. Everything is not handed to them. They work very hard and deserve to be congratulated just as 22 and 980 do and the teams they played against. The finals were awesome matches with many awesome robots. The point of FIRST is education and sportsmanship so instead of pointing fingers why dont we just recognize all the hard work that was put into that regional and the good experiences that were gained from it.

Cory
03-26-2005, 11:05 PM
There was no flag thrown on the play

False, I was the referee standing by the red auto loader and saw the referee on the red human zone clearly throw three flags.

All that I did see was the Regional Director, a Bellarmine alumni, discussing with the head referee DURING the match. I have been a referee during the match and you never take your eyes off the game. Also the rules are that the decisions that the referees make are final, and are not subject to intervention by the teams, or anybody else including staff.

If you're implying Jason Morrella is anything but impartial, and/or influenced our decisions, you're sorely mistaken. The flag was thrown perhaps 30-45 seconds into the match, the teams could not have influenced our decision. They did not even argue it. When we notified team 368, they shook their shoulders and shook our hands, there was no influencing of any sort.

Next week I will be a referee at the Southern California event. I will make sure that impartiality will be my watchword as i try to keep the game fair and just.

We were trying to do the same thing, and I think most people can agree that overall we were very consistent and fair with our calls. We had a very experienced referee crew. I hope you aren't trying to imply any of us had a bias towards any one team or alliance. We called infractions as we saw them, every time we saw them. I am obviously biased, but I think we were very consistent.

I won't comment on the call itself, I was on the other side of the field and saw nothing except the flags being thrown, I did, however, feel it was necessary to "set the record straight", so to speak.

Congratulations to all on a well played event, and good luck the rest of the year.

Cory

Wetzel
03-27-2005, 12:22 AM
Just because you did not see a flag did not mean one got thrown. I don't know about San Jose, but at Annapolis we had 13 refs, and all but our head ref and head ref-in-training had flags. That makes 11 people around the field with flags to throw, and I doubt you can see all of them at once.

Aidan also instructed us to attempt to make it obvious that we were throwing a flag, as he had previously had refs who would just drop the flags on the ground, which is not at all obvious.

Wetzel

LittleKesich
03-27-2005, 12:57 AM
Hey, Im kesich from team 1097. I was there in the Marauder suit watching the final match. We heard the penalty called and were very unhappy. 2 of our members went to a computer to look through the rules. Rule number 3 states that a team is able to hit one of their own teammates that is in the loading zone. There is also a specific point in there saying that is a red team hits a blue team causing the blue team to hit a read team in the loading zone, then there is no penalty called. We found this rule once the next round had started, so there was nothing we could do about it.

But what really angers me is that between the matches we tried to show the refs out video of the match and we couldnt. We has 2 cameras taping the round and both clearly showed that our teams robot never even hit the other teams robot, and that the cheesypoofs team hit out teams bot in the loading zoan under their own power.

I realize that there is nothinbg that can be done about this now, but i would like to make this little fact evident to the other teams incase it occurs again some way or another.

Thanks,
-Kesich

ARcanUSNUMquam
03-27-2005, 02:12 AM
I refer you to this post: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=360000&postcount=35

If that round was rigged or messed around with, I'd rather not have the tainted medal. The cloud of suspicion that this round is now embroiled in is sad, and throws controversy on the entire event.

Note: My AutoCopy for Firefox keeps deselecting in text boxes. ARGH!

phrozen solyd
03-27-2005, 02:21 AM
We are deeply saddened and disappointed that some people may feel this way about our team, as well as FIRST Regional Director Jason Morrella.

Our team has spent the last 7 years trying to share what we have with other teams around the nation, as well as building a competitive robot. We wish we could reach out to each and every team out there, and we are always more than happy to contribute our resources for the good of others.

We also would like to express our support for Jason Morrella, FIRST Regional Director and Bellarmine alumnus. We have great confidence in the fact that he lives by the values of integrity and honesty taught at his high school alma mater.

Dr.Bot
03-27-2005, 11:48 AM
I have been involved with FIRST for seven years. So I think I can say there probably been at least one or two worse calls in FIRST history. ;)

Firstly refs are human, the rules this year are complicated. I was head inspector at SVR, and all the rules and documentaion come in two Phone Book sized volumes. When your trying to make a quick decision on a complicated action, sometimes you can't put your finger on the correct rule.
I think the discussion between the Head Ref and the regional director was about that exact wording of the rule or rule number to explain the infraction.
I know this because after the match I was asked specifically if I knew the 'rule number' for the penalty assessed for pushing another robot and causing an unsafe condition.

Now I am a mentor for 254 - so I can't claim to be impartial, but I was on the field at the time of the action, on the opposit corner from the site of the infraction. What I saw was a red robot push 254 into another red robot that was in the human loading zone. I did not see a flag thrown either - but I wasn't in a position to see a flag of any color on the floor.

My understanding (opinion) of what the reason for the penalty was, by pushing a blue robot into a red robot, the red alliance was causing an unsafe condition, and the possibilty that a human (red) player would get hurt. (I believe this is called "causing a cascade.") Whether this is fair or not or deserved a 30 point penalty, I'll leave it up to others to decide. Now I don't like winning because of a penalty or questionable call, and I like losing because of one even less. Sometimes it happens. I don't think this was a bad call, but bad calls and mistakes are part of any game - you need to accept it and move on.

ducttapejason
03-27-2005, 01:54 PM
False, I was the referee standing by the red auto loader and saw the referee on the red human zone clearly throw three flags.[\quote]

I was hoping somebody in the thread would prove me wrong about that... Thank you

[QUOTE=Cory]If you're implying Jason Morrella is anything but impartial ...

I am not implying anything against Jason Morella, he is an extremely professional individual who i have MUCH respect for, and get along with pretty well. That is why I did not mention his name in my original post. I did not want to call him out or involve him.

I hope you aren't trying to imply any of us had a bias towards any one team or alliance. We called infractions as we saw them, every time we saw them.

Thanks you for your hard and dilligent work as referees. I was not calling you out at all either.

I won't comment on the call itself ...

i wish i got a better look myself... that is why i want there to be a discussion about it. this is not supposed to be a nasty discussion but a clean one.

from what i understand there was a red robot in an auto loading zone, and one in the zone next to it. there was a blue robot next to the first mentioned red robot, and that red robot was stuck in the middle and could not get out since they could not hit there own alliance, that would be a penalty, so they hit the blue alliance, and the blue alliance got a penalty. i am still brushing up on the rules for next week, but the blue alliance did not hit the red alliance while it was in a zone, and even if it did it was done loading anyways and was most likely an accident on a crowded field, not intentional. if they were next to a tetra goal maybe something like that would have been intentional.

tell me what you saw...

ducttapejason
03-27-2005, 02:14 PM
We are deeply saddened and disappointed that some people may feel this way about our team, as well as FIRST Regional Director Jason Morrella.

again..... Jason Morella is incredibly professional and I have much respect for him.

Our team has spent the last 7 years trying to share what we have with other teams around the nation, as well as building a competitive robot. We wish we could reach out to each and every team out there, and we are always more than happy to contribute our resources for the good of others.

let me explain my views of 254.

NASA has essentially bought a FIRST team... not a bad investment at all. They put many great, talented, smart, and enthusiastic individuals, such as Jason, and others like Dr. Federman, who just in general kick a lot of $@#$@#$@#, and have done great things for FIRST. There is nothing wrong with this at all.

The problem occurs where I would imagine that NASA would love to parade around their wise investment into the youth of america. This team loves to strut around like the own the place because NASA has made them their poster child. There is nothing wrong with a team being NASA poster child it is in fact great for FIRST... but this is not professional sports. Being a FIRST poster child means building the best robot you can (#254 and every other team), helping out other teams as much as possible (#254 and others), and being placed up on a pillar as a model for others to follow (#254).

Being on #254 it is most likely that you have a great advantage in life. You go to a great school, and play for the winning team. This is what i meant in my original post. The kids of 254 ( or the majority i have seen) need to stop strutting around like the own the place simply because you do.

Keep on winning, keep on helping out other teams, keep on lending out resources, but go out and buy some modesty.

Congratulations to your team, and i hope that you continue to challenge yourselves and the rest of the FIRST community. You are up on a pedestal for a reason, quit looking down at everyone. Reach down and grab others to bring them up as well.

Gordon Bell
03-27-2005, 03:01 PM
I must say that I am stunned that any FIRST alumni would post such an irresponsible and unprofessional post without knowing all the details.$@# What you have posted is clearly based on some preexisting bias you have, contains a certain degree of ignorance (stating incorrect facts and not knowing the details of what he is posting), and is borderline slanderous. You're agenda here seems clear to me.


I have been involved in FIRST having been a referee and head referee at 6 or 7$@# competitions over the past 4 years.$@#$@# While I have never posted on ChiefDelphi before, I will make an exception to address the post made by Mr. Katzer.$@# While I don't feel any need to defend the decision we as a group of referees made, I do feel that the teams involved and the accusations of Mr. Katzer to deserve a response.

FIRST - I had a great group of referees in San Jose, and the majority of them had already refereed 1 or 2 events already this year.$@# The penalty in question was called about 30 seconds into the match.$@# The referee clearly held up a flag, waved it, and then dropped it on the floor as was done the entire competition.$@# The fact that you claim to have been standing on the side of the field and didn't see the flag shows that you were not paying attention quite as well as you claim.$@#$@# Let me explain this for you:

A blue robot hit a red robot in the human player loading station while a human player was in process of delivering a tetra.$@#This is a very dangerous situation and therefore there is no "no blood, no foul" attitude with regards to penalties. This red robot was unpowered, as the student was off the pad.$@# This is a clear 30 point penalty, and I'm sure all would agree we'd get many complaints from that school and those parents if we never called this penalty during the event, teams got more carefree around the HP zone, a student got hit, impaled, or serious injured by such an incident.$@# Unfortunately, this exact situation was not as easy and clear as some others.

Here's a brief synopsis of what happened: A red robot was in the human player loading station.$@# A blue robot was driving across the field, holding a tetra, on their way to a goal.$@# A red robot in front of the center goal, also holding a tetra, turned and hit the blue robot to intercept them (makes sense, good strategic move).$@# While engaging the blue robot, the red robot pushed the blue robot into the dead red robot in the loading zone.$@# Our interpretation of the chain/cascade rule was that the red robot was responsible for the violation, that the blue robot was clearly avoiding the loading stations and going to score but was pushed into the zone by another red robot.$@# We are confident that there was no intention whatsoever by the red robot to do this - all six teams were playing great, they were all trying to score, and there was very little overly aggressive play in the finals.$@# Good defense at times, but nothing malicious or destructive.$@# Intentional or not, it was a rule violation, and we made the call we did.$@# You might not agree with it, but it was discussed at length before we made the score final.$@# As I'll explain later, the person you question pursued every possible option to see if there was justification for us to CHANGE our decision. Please note that during the playoffs, especially the championship match, tensions and everything is "on-the-line", but we cannot simply stop making penalty calls, especially when it comes to safety.

Second - For you to make veiled insinuations that you "saw" a discussion is so irresponsible I don't even know how to reply to that.$@# This is probably the worst acusation I have heard, and to hear it from a fellow referee is truly disappointing. To clear this up for you Mr. Katzer, the person you are questioning is the Regional Director of the event.$@# "Keeping my eyes on the field" as you put it, I completely witnessed the play in question, saw my referee (correctly) throw a flag, knew it was a unique situation because of the chain/cascade of robots, and turned to Jason to inform him that I'd like to have the rules and updates available to confirm what I felt was the rule before we post a score.$@# That was it Mr. Katzer.$@# I discussed the situation with the referees, we turned in the scorecard, I told our decision to the announcer, the scorekeepers, and the staff.$@#$@# It was entirely our decision, and in the end mine - for you to imply someone influenced our calls is disgraceful.$@# The only thing Jason Morrella did was ask us to postpone posting the score so he could take some time looking at the update and rules to ensure we had the correct interpretation of the rule - his "discussions" could result in only one thing, the score being changed and team 254 and their alliance getting a loss.$@# You don't mention that.$@# You don't mention that Jason was delaying the posting of the score on the chance that he could find a mistake which would take the win away from the team he has been affiliated with in the past. My goal was to ensure that the correct call was indeed being made. With so much on the line, we owe it to all teams to make sure of that.


Mr. Katzer, let me also point out something else to you. Referees are told that if they are unsure of a rule, they can ask FIRST staff who know the rules if they wish.$@# Regardless of what the staff tells them, they still bring up the question to The Head Referee during our after match discussion and the Head Ref makes the decision regardless of what the FIRST staff interpretation of a rule is.$@#$@# Some calls are judgment calls, and if the Head Ref and their team feels their judgment should result in a certain call - we will turn in that call regardless of if Jason, Dave Lavery, Woodie, Dean or anyone disagree.$@#

Mr. Katzer, here's another situation you had no knowledge of and which you'd be happy to know of since you have questioned his integrity.$@# After a match while we were adding up the score, a referee informed me of a flag he threw to confirm amongst ourselves if it was the right call.$@# I did not see the exact scenario because I was watching another part of the field - but this is why we have 6-8 refs.$@# In one of the last qualifying matches on Saturday, Team 254 was undefeated and going for the number one seed.$@# In this match, a close one, the 254 robot got it's wheels caught in a Tetra.$@# The ref observed their robot attempting to pick a Tetra up off of the loading station, but couldn't because the Tetra they were stuck in prevented them from getting close enough to the loading station. He was unsure of the unique situation and wasn't sure if there was a penalty because the tetra they were stuck in was touching the loading zone but not their robot - but they had never actually retrieved a tetra.$@# He asked Jason (who was on his side of the field) and Jason informed him if 254 touched the tetra without their robot touching the triangle, that he should throw a flag on them regardless of any obstruction preventing them from getting into the loading zone. Even though they had failed they had touched the tetra both times.$@# Now we would have made this call regardless of Jason's input, because the ref would have asked me anyway. When asked for input by the referee, Jason told the ref to call whatever he had seen, but that if he felt 254 had touched the tetra twice, even if it was two attempts in just a couple seconds, that should throw 2 flags on them. But understand Mr. Katzer - 254 had won that match, but lost it because of those two penalty flags, and lost the number one seed as a result.

THIRD - I am not a judge, but I was a Head Ref last year also and do remember that the Bellarmine team won the Chairman's Award and then the Championship Chairman's Award last year.$@# I don't know all the details of this award, but they obviously did enough to impress the judges.$@# It seems strange that you would question the students on that particular team and make a claim that they have everything "given" to them.$@# I have observed many great teams in FIRST doing many things to help other teams, 254 and many others.$@# If you have never been a member of that team, how in the world can you make a comment and judgment that they have everything "given to them".$@# I think you owe the students and mentors on that team, and the FIRST community as a whole an apology.$@# It is my understanding that any team that gets those awards must be doing a lot to share, to give back, to help other teams, and to be a positive team in the FIRST community.

FOURTH -We call the games as we see them.$@# We always hope there will be no penalties.$@# Sometimes there are penalties, and it's our job to call them.$@# Most our fairly straightforward, but some are close judgment calls.$@# In those situations we make the best call we can knowing that no matter what we decide, one alliance will think it was a good call and one will not.$@# You should know that.$@# You have the right to root against any team you wish, 254 and others.$@# You also have the right to disagree with a call made by referees.$@# But the instance you posted about was a close call and either way we called it would have upset one alliance.$@# As a referee, you statement that it was the "worst call ever" is childish, petty, and does not reflect well on your gracious professionalism.$@# I wouldn't ask you to agree with the call, and you have the right not to - but as a past referee you should know it was a judgment call, that we discuss all such calls with the entire ref crew before we turn in the scorecard, and that we made the decision we felt was right.$@#$@#


LAST - Your post makes it very clear that you have some issues or biases against certain teams.$@# You may not realize it, but I think most who read your post probably do.$@# You exhibited some of these biases when you refereed in San Jose last year, and unfortunately on occasion seem to let your relationships with teams, and views of other teams, impact your "judgment" while watching matches.$@# You should seriously reconsider your ability to be a referee at this point, and I would think FIRST would seriously reconsider your ability to referee.$@# You're assessment of the situation you started this post about was inaccurate and slanderous, and certainly not a post I would expect to see from a FIRST alumni who volunteers at many events (which you do and should be commended for).

To all who competed in San Jose - you should be very proud of yourself.$@# The level of competition was incredible, the skill of the drivers, the strategies of the coaches and drivers were very well executed, and teams have clearly learned how to play the game (many fewer penalties than in previous weeks).$@# The teams were very impressive, almost all were very gracious, and almost exhibited good sportsmanship throughout the event.$@# Congratulations to all of you, you make FIRST the truly great program that it is.$@#

As for me, I will continue to VOLUNTEER each year, even though every missed day of work costs me lost wages. That's correct, I am "paying" to do this tough job, taking time away from not only my job, but also taking time away from my family. I appreciate the posts of support on this thread~

Gordon Bell
Head Referee from Silicon Valley Region

Jason Morrella
03-27-2005, 03:05 PM
Wow. I'd be lying if I didn't admit such a post is not somewhat upsetting and disappointing. It is. Those are strong words Jason.

Funny thing is you and I spoke a number of times during the event, and after the awards ceremony I came to thank you for your work volunteering. I would like to think that if I wondered such things about you or anyone else, that I would approach them, express my thoughts, and see if my assumptions were true before making them public. I would encourage you to do so in the future, it's a good way to get relevant information, maintain respectful relationships, and to ensure public statements you make have some conviction and accuracy behind them. I won't take the time to try to change your assumptions, I don't feel obligated to, and quite honestly don't have the time or the energy to. You do have the right to express yourself, and trust me, if at any point I found that many others share your distrust of me, I would step down as a Regional Director immediately and go back to teaching full time. I would have no problem with that and have way too much love for FIRST to ever stay in a position that in anyway casts doubt on the integrity of an event, volunteers, or teams.

But I will defend our referees and our teams. You do quite a disservice to our refs when you make statements like you have. If you want to question my integrity or honesty, fine. But questioning the honesty and integrity of people you either don't know or barely know? Posting your assumption on why refs made a call without being involved in their discussion or knowing what you are talking about? Implying any team has everything "given" to them or doesn't "appreciate" their mentors and sponsors? I could see such irresponsible assumptions being made by a rookie person in FIRST, but from a veteran FIRST alumni it does surprise me. You know very little about me, you know nothing about our refs or the process they went through to make that call, and you know nothing about Team 254 or any other team that you have not been a member of - you don't know how hard any teams work, how involved their students are, how much they volunteer and contribute to the FIRST community, and how much effort they put into building their program over the years.

I appreciate the comments by some in response to Jason's post, thank you for the nice thoughts. I am comfortable with the decision the referees made and know they went through the exact right process to get to that decision. I'm not sure what things have happened in the past for Jason to have reached the opinion he has of myself and 254, but I'm sure he has his reasons and is entitled to express himself.

Jason, you've been a committed volunteer and FIRST member for years. I've always enjoyed seeing you at events and hope you will continue to work with teams. If you do have doubts and problems with me, I do ask that you direct all your criticism towards me, I'll take it. But great volunteers such as our refs this past weekend and any teams (even 254) shouldn't have to have their commitment, their participation, and their accomplishments questioned or diminished because you associate them with me. That's not fair to them.

Regardless of your views of me, I wish you all the best in the future and hope you do very well in life. I hope your experiences in FIRST in some way help you reach whatever goals you may have.

Eric Brummer
03-27-2005, 05:35 PM
"As I'll explain later, the person you question pursued every possible option to see if there was justification for us to CHANGE our decision. Please note that during the playoffs, especially the championship match, tensions and everything is "on-the-line", but we cannot simply stop making penalty calls, especially when it comes to safety."

This is 100% true. The FIRST officials attempted everything in their power to see that things were given a fair judgement. In the time they attempted to review the call, they could not come up with anything. They tried, but you can't take a day to review a call. The next match had to be played. There was continued discussion about that call but it came down to the fact that no one could find anything against the origional ruling and 254 and their alliance had won two matches.

I gaurentee you, from someone who would have loved to see my team win the regional, that all those involved tried their hardest to eliminate the question behind the ruling, either for or against it so that there wouldn't be any issues.

AmyPrib
03-27-2005, 07:18 PM
Here's a brief synopsis of what happened: A red robot was in the human player loading station.$@# A blue robot was driving across the field, holding a tetra, on their way to a goal.$@# A red robot in front of the center goal, also holding a tetra, turned and hit the blue robot to intercept them (makes sense, good strategic move).$@# While engaging the blue robot, the red robot pushed the blue robot into the dead red robot in the loading zone.$@# Our interpretation of the chain/cascade rule was that the red robot was responsible for the violation, that the blue robot was clearly avoiding the loading stations and going to score but was pushed into the zone by another red robot.$@# We are confident that there was no intention whatsoever by the red robot to do this - all six teams were playing great, they were all trying to score, and there was very little overly aggressive play in the finals.$@# Good defense at times, but nothing malicious or destructive.$@# Intentional or not, it was a rule violation, and we made the call we did.$@# You might not agree with it, but it was discussed at length before we made the score final.$@#


I've read these posts several times, and for the benefit of everyone, I just want to clarify what happened. Sounds like Red2 pushed Blue1 into Red1 while Red1 was in a loading zone.
The penalty that was assessed, which alliance was it assessed to? According to Update 4 and the examples of G15 they describe, it would seem that no penalty should have been assessed. Specifically Ex8 and second half of Ex4 describe this case.
If a robot of same alliance contacts their own partner in a loading zone, they wouldn't receive a penalty. But if an opponent contacting them was not the "source" of contact, then they also shouldn't receive a penalty. Since Red was the source of contact, then nobody should be penalized.

I am asking because I would like to know if those Examples are still valid. Seems there was an Update that came out later saying that "the process of loading a tetra finishes when a robot leaves the loading zone", but some of the Examples (6-7) seemingly contradict that (since it used to be they had to be physically in the process of loading a tetra). Would it be legal to block a robot from leaving their loading zone, or would you be penalized because they contacted you while they were still in the loading zone?

But purely for the case at your regional, it would seem that neither alliance should have received a penalty if Update 4 is still valid.
I just wanted to make sure I was reading this right, and to check if Update 4 was still in effect. Thanks,

Alex1072
03-27-2005, 10:40 PM
I don't agree that 254 does not deserve a win because they were "given everything". But I also do no understand how this ruling happened. Update #4 (Example 8) clearly states that this kind of a situation does not result in a penalty for either team. I don't recall this ever being changed in later updates, so what happened? I'm sure the judges did believe that they were making a fair judgement, but what was the breakdown that allowed this to happen?

Ikeyballz
03-28-2005, 03:26 AM
Hi, I am the driver of team 368's robot, and I think since I was directly involved in this, I should post something to stop this thread. I think too much emphasis is being put on winning in this thread. Yes, winning would have been nice, but FIRST is NOT only about winning. It is about learning, being inspired and being gracious professionals.

As a driver, I admit that also I thought it was a questionable call, being that I did not recall that particular rule. I believe I did not drive 254's robot into our teammate and the ruling has never called before, BUT with the pressure and intensity of the matches it may have been over looked and as I had said in the beginning, the ref's call is final. I probably did not notice it, because I was really into the game. I really appreciated the referee calling me over to explain the ruling to me. If the referee felt that I was reckless with the robot and I had endangered someone, I would rather have be called for a penalty than injure someone. I trust the referees to make whatever decision they believe they should make. This is also part of the game. If FIRST says that they cannot be questioned, take it in the spirit of the game, and move on.

I would have loved to win; Team 368 has been always trying to win at the SV regional, but being gracious professionalís means more then just winning. I was glad to just be in the finals, after a lot of bad breaks, ending with our ranking the lowest ever in McKinley history. Thanks for picking us 1097 and 852! You guys were an awesome alliance :) .

Team 254ís alliance deserved the win regardless of what others may think. We gave it our all and tried our best. Whatís done is done and that should be left on the field. I was just glad to have been able to give their alliance a run for their money. Congrats! You guys were awesome.

Dear Ductapejason, thanks for your support of our alliance. We appreciate it, but Mr. Morrella was directly involved in giving us an opportunity to even BE associated with FIRST Robotics, let alone, allowing us to be able to compete in FIRST Robotics competitions. He came all the way down to Hawaii with a couple students to encourage us to join FIRST. I am thankful that I could have even been in such an exciting match, and that we even HAD the chance to compete for first place. We understand that emotions were high, and Iím sure you feel like you opened Pandoraís Box. So everyone please let this thread die out. There is no sense in writing anymore about this ruling.

I love FIRST robotics for what it stands. The competition is an exciting part of it, but please donít let it distract us from the real ideals of FIRST; Gracious Professionalism.

- Ike Nagamine

AmyPrib
03-28-2005, 01:08 PM
I'm hoping someone can comment on the Update 4 issue and this call. This can be all rolled into the inconsistent call controversies in other threads. It's in the past, and nothing can be done for this case, but it can be cleared up for future cases. In earlier posts in this thread, it was mentioned that everything possible was done to figure out if it was the right call, including getting all the rules reviewed before making the call.
So, I am wondering how the big long Update 4, with all the clear cut examples of the biggest controversial rule G15, was overlooked. That update was made because of all the "what if" Q/A's that were out there regarding G15, including the case that actually happened here.

Bottom line, I am wondering if Update 4 is still good, and that in the future the correct calls will be made. If anyone out there (like a head ref or FIRSTer) has the answer, please let us know so we will know what to expect later.
Thanks,

DougHogg
03-28-2005, 03:49 PM
I'm hoping someone can comment on the Update 4 issue and this call. This can be all rolled into the inconsistent call controversies in other threads. It's in the past, and nothing can be done for this case, but it can be cleared up for future cases. In earlier posts in this thread, it was mentioned that everything possible was done to figure out if it was the right call, including getting all the rules reviewed before making the call.
So, I am wondering how the big long Update 4, with all the clear cut examples of the biggest controversial rule G15, was overlooked. That update was made because of all the "what if" Q/A's that were out there regarding G15, including the case that actually happened here.

Bottom line, I am wondering if Update 4 is still good, and that in the future the correct calls will be made. If anyone out there (like a head ref or FIRSTer) has the answer, please let us know so we will know what to expect later.
Thanks,

I am not a referee or a FIRSTer, but I sincerely doubt that any of the rules were overlooked.

These other rules also apply:

<S01> If at any time the ROBOT operation is deemed unsafe, by the determination of the referees, the ROBOT will be disabled for the remainder of the match.

S05> A ROBOT may not impede the placement of TETRAS on the loading structures or the hand-off of a TETRA by a HUMAN PLAYER to a ROBOT. No HUMAN PLAYER or field attendant may be accosted by a ROBOT while placing TETRAS. Violations will result immediate disabling of the offending ROBOT, and disqualification of the alliance.

Although there seems to be a conflict in the rules, whenever safety is an issue, I am totally certain that any apparent conflict will be resolved in favor of safety, as it should be. I know of no other competition in the world where people interact with machines. In my opinion, it is only through maintaining the highest level of safety that this interaction can continue. I applaud the referees for keeping this priority firmly in mind.

Eric Brummer
03-28-2005, 05:15 PM
I'm hoping someone can comment on the Update 4 issue and this call. This can be all rolled into the inconsistent call controversies in other threads. It's in the past, and nothing can be done for this case, but it can be cleared up for future cases. In earlier posts in this thread, it was mentioned that everything possible was done to figure out if it was the right call, including getting all the rules reviewed before making the call.
So, I am wondering how the big long Update 4, with all the clear cut examples of the biggest controversial rule G15, was overlooked. That update was made because of all the "what if" Q/A's that were out there regarding G15, including the case that actually happened here.

Bottom line, I am wondering if Update 4 is still good, and that in the future the correct calls will be made. If anyone out there (like a head ref or FIRSTer) has the answer, please let us know so we will know what to expect later.
Thanks,

Ok, this is my view of what I saw happen so it may not be 100% accurate. I was sitting at the scoring table running the Real Time Scoring for the Red Side and also helping with updating the scores on the computer system after each match so I didn't actually see to the full extent what happened.

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT OFFICIAL RULES SO DO NOT READ THIS AND MAGICALLY APPLY IT. It is an example.
As far as the rules go, I suppose the refs were just not in the know on that specific rule. They made an error. They did however use their judgement. The logic isn't that far out. If a redrobot01 gets hit by a blue robot in the loading zone, the blue robot is assessed a violation penalty of 30 points, therefor if a redrobot02 caused a blue robot to hit the redrobot01 then it's the redrobot02's fault for hitting the blue robot into the redrobot01 make an unsafe situation so the second red robot should be given the 30 point penalty.
So it's easy to see they followed their own logic and best judgement on what the ruling would be.

After the match they halted the posting of the scores and briefly explained the penalty. They then retracted everything while members of FIRST tried to figure out the official ruling. No one outside of the people at the regional were reachable whom they were supposed to call for guidance on referee calls and the rules. Someone suggested that the rule would be newer and the latest update was not with us. They flipped through the hard copy of the rules on site while two members working at the scoring station got online and searched through the pdf files. Since it was suggested they were in the later revisions of rules (since they were based off the Q&A I belive) it would seem to make sense they would be newer rules. Since we were told to try Update 15, we did with no luck, and then started going backwards through the rules. The second match was won by 254 and their alliance. Again the scores were halted while attempting to come to a better conclusion on the previous match. We did not come across Update #4 (i believe my browsers being slow so i can't go back and confirm whether its 3 or 4) until about 10 minutes after the Second Finals Match scores had been posted so by that point it was a moot point, 254's alliance had already been told they'd won the second match, and the first based on the origional call. They won. It would be just as much a travesty to post the 2nd match results and then decide to tell other teams that no, they in fact did not win as they were told by the scoring and refs they did. You can't allow complete questioning of scores, there would be no end to it. Good calls are made. There was no "BAD" call. The referees used their best judgement to assess the situation.

AmyPrib
03-28-2005, 06:14 PM
Everyone keeps talking about safety being the concern.
In re-reading Gordon's post, I don't think he mentioned they made the call due to safety. He said that it was a "rule violation" based on the chain/cascade rule (?) and from what I gather, called a 30pt penalty because of a robot interfering with another in the loading zone. Disabling is the result of a safety issue... a 30pt penalty is the result of a G15 violation.

If safety were the concern, then one would figure that almost anytime you interfere with a robot in a HP loading zone, it should be disabled, because any interference there could cause an unsafe condition. So why have all the examples in Update 4 or a 30pt penalty at all in this case...Now the refs have to decide whether or not to penalize for being unsafe, or for interfering, or both... the penalties are different in each case though. Yes -it's a tough job those refs have! They are volunteers and give us their time. But it would seem like someone in that group would have come across Update 4 in their preparation for becoming a ref.

So this is why I ask, if someone that made that call could clarify. Was it called because of safety.....which if it were, disablement instead of 30pts should have been the penalty... or was it a penalty solely based on the G15 violation....I am not saying that the Update was definitely overlooked, but if it were looked at, how was the conclusion made, that even though it clearly states this exact case results in no penalty, that a 30pt penalty was given?

I am not pointing any fingers, or asking anyone to say they were wrong, or trying to beat a dead horse. I am trying to figure out why this happened (which I personally don't think is too much to ask), and how it will be called in the future for others, because this could very well happen in the future to anyone and would like to know an official take on it. I also hope that nobody is offended by the questions I ask, it's simply looking for feedback on what may have been an incorrect call. It's slightly different when you have inconsistencies on aggressive play, or intentional tipping, etc, because it's up to different interpretations... but if a rule clearly states something, then it's not a judgement call and one might have a hard time justifying why a call was made.

This particular case has no impact on me directly. But with seeing all the controversy talked about lately on inconsistent calls, I am wondering how the rule update 4 was not followed. There may very well be something I'm overlooking, but that's why I'm asking. It could have been a pure mistake. People/Refs make mistakes, and we live with it. But with all the hoopla about G15 early on before competition started, one would hope that everyone knows those rules in and out by now.

Dr.Bot
03-28-2005, 09:09 PM
I had a chance to look at the 'official' video. Unfortunately the sound on the tape is of such poor quality that it is unusable. I will encode the match and put it up later this week as soon as I can get a clean copy of the tape.

The action that is shown on the tape is at about 90 to 81 seconds on the game clock. The official tape has the automatic scoring on the screen, so the bottom of the screen is blocked. The point of view is from the Red Human Player's station. What I see on the tape is 368 and 254 in a shoving match at the center goal. 254 with a Tetra held high, is attempting to head toward the red home row human player corner. it looks like 368 pushes on 254 (high) and causes 254 to tilt dangerously toward the human player zone (closest to the center) At this time 1097 is in that zone and is being loaded by their human player. From the POV of the camera it looks like that a cascade is about to take place with 254 being pushed into 1097and 1097 falling over and injuring the human player. It looks like 1097 is hit (The robot jerks) just as the human player is loading the tetra. You can see the ref take a flag in his hand immediately hold it up and throw it down.

I think the ref was fully justified in throwing a flag. Now whether or not a DQ of 368 with shutting them down, or assessing a 30 point penalty against the alliance was the correct call doesn't really matter. Is unfortunate that
some legitimate tough competition led to a situation where a safety penalty decided the outcome of the match. I have lost matches because of bad calls and it really hurts. I don't think this was a bad call. It seems that all the teams are O.K. with this so I think it is time to close this thread and think about next week and the Nationals. I am sure that all the head refs will carefully review this match and make certain that the correct action is taken, if this situation reoccurs.

DougHogg
03-28-2005, 11:27 PM
Everyone keeps talking about safety being the concern.
In re-reading Gordon's post, I don't think he mentioned they made the call due to safety.

If you go to page one of this thread and choose "Find" from the "Edit" menu and type "safe", you'll find that "safety" is mentioned three times and that Gordon did mention it in his post, and others who were involved in helping to resolve the matter mentioned "safety" as well. (Use "Find again" to see the second and third instances.)

As to safety being an disqualification matter, as I said in the Silicon Valley Regional thread, I imagine that the safety issue resolved before the referees disabled any of the robots involved. It seems to me that a 30 point penalty is just one step below being disabled, and I think that is as it should be. Disabling a robot should be a last resort, and I don't think that referees should be told that they have to disable a robot or do nothing in a safety situation. If our team does something that causes the referees to have concern about safety, I expect to get a penalty if the situation is minor and quickly resolves. If the situation continues or is serious, I expect to be disabled.

In any case, I applaud your persistence in trying to eliminate any confusion on the rules as it would definitely help if everyone was on the same page.

I imagine the National Basketball League and other sporting events would have a lot of wrinkles to iron out if they had a new game every year. I don't know of any other group who would have the nerve to create a new game every year. Thank you FIRST for having the willingness to go where no other group dares to tread in the interests of helping today's youth and the world to a better future.

I'm afraid that there will always be holes and apparent contradictions in the rules in a competition that is recreated every year with many new rules and situations. Maybe it is time to have several very experienced senior referees available for telephone calls by a "hot line" during all our matches.

In any case, I hope everyone will keep safety as the highest priority during the rest of the season. I would hate to see human player interaction eliminated from the game. (Honestly, can you think of any other group that would dare to have robots getting playing objects from human players?)

huskiepride6505
03-29-2005, 12:06 AM
Hi all...I am a new mentor to FIRST this year and am just amazed by the quality experience that this provides for students. I am even more amazed at the amount of volunteer power and committment required to make these events work. But I have learned very quickly that FIRSt is a small community where the lines of competitor and supporter are mixed to reach the heights of "coopertition."
In so saying, it is our charge to must remain cognizant of an apparent, implied, or perceived partiality on the part of anyone involved. Most FIRSTers became dedicated to this cause through their affilition with some team at some time. Though all my try to avoid it, human natures leads us to stand by our own. I must admit that my team at one time or another has felt that a team affiliation of a person with "authority" may have influenced decisions that affect our success. It is this small cast of doubt that we must protect ourselves from as we become one of the strongest competitions in this nation and beyond. To feel defeated on the basis of bais is a hard thing to overcome. We want all to take victory and defeat with pride, knowing that each individual gave their best and it is just a game.

CJO
03-29-2005, 01:11 AM
To clarify, as I was the person at the scoring table who found update number 4 for Jason Morella, Jason stated that "in the act of a blue and red robot touching, there is automatically 30 points of penalty, the only quesiton is on which alliance the penalty is assesed." As I stated in my letter to the FIRST rules commitee, this is the opposite of gracious professionalism, creating a situation where teams try to screw each other. In fairness to Jason Morella, he could not reach any of the rules committe on the phone, and made a judegement call.

THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, as Mark Leon said, the match should not have been called on the recollection of an example in an update to a rule (at the time, Jason could not find the printed rule). Furthermore, numerous testimony of people on the field indicated that the red robot was backing out of the loading zone at the time.

Therefore, yes, a judgement call had to be made, but the call should have been to replay the match, not to call the outcome of a regional.

I have a lot of problems with team 254 (among other things, during the playoff rounds I saw four NASA engineers working on their robot), but I do not believe that they had a hand in throwing the regional. Still, this was the wrong call. How do I know? In three years of FIRST I have never seen the arena boo. Not just one or two individuals, but hundreds of people. As I noted in my letter to the rules commission, this call was the breakdown of gracious professionalism.

Gordon Bell
03-29-2005, 11:19 AM
OK, after following up further with FIRST, and after reading a few valid and respectfully worded opinions, I can further clarify the issues for everyone. (to be clear, this reply is for those on this thread who have practiced "gracious professionalism" and expressed their views with clarity and maturity. Under no circumstances would I take the time to reply to the original poster of this thread, as his 3rd reply showed that all is views are jaded and colored by a clear resentment, jealousy, and pettiness toward another fellow FIRST team - the values and lessons of FIRST are truly noble, but he proves that they may not reach everyone).

All may not agree, but I think I can put an end to any debate after hearing what various concerns are:

1 - One of my referees did throw a flag for the situation that has been discussed. Let me one thing clear, the human player of the dead robot was in the process of putting the Tetra in/on his robot at the VERY MOMENT that his robot was hit by the Blue robot being pushed by the Red Robot.

2 - There were two issues discussed. One is that of is there a 30 point penalty, and second that there was a safety penalty. Which team, if any, to assess a 30 point penalty was the part we couldn't find the most recent ruling for. Unfortunately the set of rules we as refs were told were the most current were the Revised Rules (which you can find on the FIRST web site). After some detective work today, we have found that a mistake was made by FIRST: The revised rules, which we were told now included any clarifications or changes from updates, had the changes for G14, G16 and others - but somehow the update and examples for G 15 were not in the rules we were given. The rules at the SVR said that the offending robot was to be assessed a 30 pt penalty, which is what we did. If we had seen the example which clarified the exact situation which happened, neither alliance (Red or Blue) would have been assessed a 30 pt penalty.

3 - HOWEVER, and this is important, NONE OF NUMBER 2 changes the fact that the primary reason the flag was thrown was because the situation was a clear safety hazard, as the human player was interacting with the robot when it was hit by the other robots (Amy, you didn't think I referenced Safety in my original post, but I did - it was our main concern and I did state that it was "a very dangerous situation"). S01 and S05 are very clear, and while we did not feel the operation of the second robot was intentionally unsafe, there was NO DOUBT that what happened was a violation of S05, since the Human Player was handing off a Tetra to a robot at the exact (yes, exact) moment the second red robot pushed the blue robot into the dead red partner bot.

4 - What does this all mean? We had three choices - here is what we DID decide and what we SHOULD have decided.

We were not 100% sure of the G15 interpretation, went with the wording of the rule in the updated revision we had, and felt it was a 30 pt penalty. We knew it was a violation of S05, which is very clear. While extreme, the wording is very clear, our only choice was to DQ the alliance.

We did not feel the need to assess two penalties, the 30 pt penalty was extreme enough and DQing the alliance on top of that would have seemed like pouring salt in the wound. So once we had found wording that we felt supported giving a 30pt penalty, we went with the less extreme of the two and stopped there. With hindsight, it would have been easier and less painful to just turn in the DQ right off the bat and not spend the time trying to verify the wording for G15. But give the FIRST staff at the event credit, even though they didn't have the rules revised 100%, they did "know" that something was not right about the wording we went off of and spent a lot of time trying to track down the correct interpretation.

In the end, there is NO dispute about the outcome of the finals of this event. Whether we had the correct version of the updates or not doesn't really matter, we did incorrectly use our logic pattern as someone said and assessed a 30pt penalty that we shouldn't have. But the alliance should have been DQ'd anyway per rule S05. We didn't write the rule, and whether people want to argue if that is too extreme or not is another issue. But the rules were and are clear. Regardless of our mistaken interpretation of G15, the situation that was brought up to start this thread has a CLEAR result under the rules - the Blue Alliance would have won the match if the rules as written were applied correctly. Luckily I think all present at the event would agree that the Blue Alliance was the clear and decisive winner of the second final match (with no penalties if my memory serves...if not, I have no doubt someone will correct me in seconds).

I feel bad that we misinterpreted one rule while we were right about the safety violation. I will admit that I feel much better knowing that under the rules we did not award a "win" to the wrong alliance. That is something which would bother me, as I know and admire how much time and effort everyone puts into their teams. Regardless, I apologize for any commotion our enforcing one incorrect interpretation instead of the one correct violation may have caused. We deliberated the situation thoroughly and did the best we could. I apologize even more for the length of my posts, those who know me know I am rarely long winded and avoid going on at all costs. Since some very false and incorrect claims were made in this thread, and since I was involved and know the true details, this seems like a situation where many want and deserve a full understanding of the facts.

The silver lining is that while the correct alliance still won, and this has helped us and FIRST to see a mistake in the wording of the rules revision. As I am the Head Ref at one more competition this upcoming weekend, I am glad we have found that the revised rules were missing the examples for G15 and we'll do our best once again to enforce all the rules consistently and fairly at the events this week.

I hope in some way this lets those on the red alliance at least put to rest any anger or fears that they were "robbed" of a win in the first match. I hope even more that those on both alliances know that they did an incredible job, know that every team played great and put on a great show in the playoffs, and that everyone on all the teams can look back on what they've accomplished this year with pride and not get caught up in some of the things that ruin other sports in this country.

Again, congratulations to every team that competed at the Silicon Valley Regional, you all have a lot to be proud of.

Gordon Bell

AmyPrib
03-29-2005, 02:03 PM
Gordon,
I want to thank you for taking the time to write the well-written post to explain and clarify what really happened and why the call was made.

Doug - I know safety was mentioned in Gordon's first post and I know it was a big concern.... I read it several times. However, I kept reading that the "reason" they made the 30pt penalty call was due to the cascade, robot, interference violation....But because I'm so familiar with the G15 Update4, I questioned why that happened.

I was just trying to understand the "reason" for the 30pt penalty... was it because of G15 violation, or was it because of safety... It seems to have been both. But nowhere in the rules did I read that a 30pt flag (or any pts penalty) should be thrown for a safety issue (just a disable and possible DQ), so I became confused as to what actually happened. But now we know updated information was not available.

I'm sure everyone appreciated the effort put into finding the correct answer during the regional and I can only hope that all refs take that kind of time and consideration.

The reason I kept asking questions was because I wanted to make sure that I didn't overlook something somewhere along the line, because maybe I was. I had no personal stake in this situation, but I also wanted to bring the possibility of an incorrect call to attention so that it might be avoided in the future. I had no bad intentions, and wanted to help eliminate the possiblity of this issue down the road. Everyone does their best, but everyone makes mistakes, and we ALL learn from them. While pointing it out may not have been the original intent of the thread, I don't think there is any harm in bringing these points up as they're seen, as I think it can benefit everyone.

At regionals, are all revised rules and Updates printed out and available for the reffing staff? If not, I would propose that as being fundamental in possibly making a refs job a tad bit easier in certain situations.

Thanks again, and good luck to everyone,
Amy

Andy Baker
03-29-2005, 06:31 PM
Singling out a fellow FIRST team in these public forums, and saying that they are cheaters, have everything given to them, or that they don't deserve what they get is inappropriate, demeaning, and gutless. If you have a problem with a team, go to that team and address it with them. Don't air your slanderous opinions here for all to see. Jealously is an ugly vice. Don't let it get the best of you.

This is exactly the sort of thing that not only tarnishes this website, but gives good people in FIRST good reason to focus their attention elsewhere, to a different worthy cause.

Andy B.

Karthik
03-30-2005, 10:30 AM
Therefore, yes, a judgement call had to be made, but the call should have been to replay the match, not to call the outcome of a regional.


This is not a precident I would like to set. The only time there should be a replay at an FRC event, is in the case of a technical failure on FIRSTs side of things. If we decide to have a rematch every time the refs need to make a major judgement call, regionals would run from Thursday to Tuesday. There just isn't time for this, and it encourages people to challenge the rulings of the referees. It's the same reason that umpires in baseball will not tolerate people arguing balls and strikes. In the words of Jesse Spano from the classic sitcom Saved by The Bell, "There's no time, there's never any time..." (Sorry, I couldn't resist...)


I have a lot of problems with team 254 (among other things, during the playoff rounds I saw four NASA engineers working on their robot)

Funny, seeing four NASA engineers working furiously to help fix a robot is something that I'd find inspiring. Where else can you see "rocket scientists" in action in a pressure packed situation, in person? Doesn't Hollywood make movies about these types of things, albeit on a grander scale? I remember seeing these scenes at my first nationals in 1998, when I was in High School, and thinking "Wow, that's really cool. Engineering looks fun..."

jgannon
03-30-2005, 12:20 PM
It's obvious that the original poster has a chip on his shoulder, and more than his share of jealousy. I think that several cool heads in this thread have already sufficiently responded to this, but there's one point that still needs to be addressed.

It's no secret that well-funded teams tend to perform better (though this isn't always the case). 71, 111, and 254 (among others... those are the teams that come to mind at the moment) all have a vast amount of resources available to them, and they make full use of them. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. You could accuse them of being like the Yankees of FIRST, of buying victories, but if the kids are being inspired, what's the big deal? Nonetheless, this still troubles me:
Congratulations to your team, and i hope that you continue to challenge yourselves and the rest of the FIRST community. You are up on a pedestal for a reason, quit looking down at everyone. Reach down and grab others to bring them up as well.
Team 254 won the National Chairman's Award last year. This makes them the ONE team in the whole country that best exemplifies the ideals of FIRST. This award cannot be bought. You can get a huge grant and a whole room full of engineers, but that alone will earn you nothing in the eyes of the judges. How did 254 earn this honor, and how do they continue to deserve it? By reaching down from their "pedestal" of success and experience to help those who haven't been as fortunate in collecting resources. They've started teams in Alaska and Hawaii, and they've mentored several other teams. They are helping to start Utah's first team this year. They mentor FLL teams, support an FLL tournament, and do other community outreach. And, as I'm sure you've seen at any event they attend, they bring a machine shop trailer to help other teams fix their robots, which has saved our team and countless others in competition. If you're still in doubt, you can read their 2004 Chairman's submission (http://team254.bcp.org/Team254ChairmanSubmission.doc). If you must, be jealous of their success. We all wish we could have as many trophies as them. However, don't let your jealousy drive you to discount how they have inspired students and advanced the ideals of FIRST.

Daniel Brim
03-30-2005, 01:03 PM
Funny, seeing four NASA engineers working furiously to help fix a robot is something that I'd find inspiring. Where else can you see "rocket scientists" in action in a pressure packed situation, in person? Doesn't Hollywood make movies about these types of things, albeit on a grander scale? I remember seeing these scenes at my first nationals in 1998, when I was in High School, and thinking "Wow, that's really cool. Engineering looks fun..."
Personally, I agree with this, but I see where this could be an issue for him. What I think he is getting at is not all of us have 4 NASA engineers at are disposal. But I bet you, if you go and ask for help, they would be more than happy to give you a hand. Gracious Professionalism runs full-circle.

On a side note, wouldn't it be cool if there was a movie about FIRST?

-Daniel

phrozen solyd
03-30-2005, 02:26 PM
I have a lot of problems with team 254 (among other things, during the playoff rounds I saw four NASA engineers working on their robot), but I do not believe that they had a hand in throwing the regional.

Thank you for having faith in our integrity, but I would just like to clarify one thing. Our team has only one engineer, Steve Kyramarios, who works extensively with the team. EJ Sabathia, an alumnus of the team; Bill Gold, an alumnus of now-defunct Team 258; and Al Bayer, are all college students, not engineers. Alan Federman, formerly of Team 1043, also helps out.

We do not have 4 engineers, and I can assure you that our students do great amounts of work on our robot. As a student myself, it saddens me that people would attempt to discount our achievements by implying that our students do nothing.

In my eyes, this attitude is the true problem regarding this regional.

Members of both teams 368 and 1097, two of the three teams most adversely affected by the penalty decision, have handled this in an extremely graciously professional manner. In their posts, they have expressed that they accept the decision by the referees, correct or incorrect, because they recognize that FIRST isn't about winning or losing; what's more important is the life lessons that all parties learn. This attitude is to be applauded.

There are 1000+ teams in FIRST, and only 3 can be considered "champions." But the other 997+ teams that also put in months of blood, sweat, and tears to create something that billions of people have never even dreamed of - they are champions too. It is the true mark of the champion to remain professional in both victory and defeat. Teams 368 and 1097 are true champions.

Let's all emulate their example, for their admirable handling of this unfortunate situation is the life lesson we all must learn here.

Amanda M
03-30-2005, 09:54 PM
I would like to comment on the integrity of team 254. I understand that this thread has moved on from the team-bashing and has come to a good conclusion regarding the flag question. However, I cannot let such a good team be bad-mouthed in such a way.

Being an alumnus of Team 60, from Kingman, Az, I have had the opportunity to work with team 254 on many occasions. During the 2004 season our students (and I say students because it was, in fact, our students who machined the parts) collaborated and created robots together. 60 doesn't have any engineers, and 254 has 1 and a bunch of college kids. Then, these STUDENTS drove from San Jose to Kingman in early August to build a shift-on-the-fly transmission as a prototype for their bots this year. If anyone needs any proof that these students are working for what they have, they can ask me. I was with them in the shop. We machined and worked for it together.

I've talked to them during the preseason when they are doing presentations, hoping NASA supports them and FIRST for another season. I talked to Adrian while he was putting together his Chairman's Award and Woodie Flowers Award applications for 2004. I know that these kids work hard.

They do have a lot of resources, but they use them for good. They supoprt LEGO League teams, and mentor other teams, supply machine shops. They do everything a good FIRST team is supposed to do, but why do they get the flack?

Is it because they have college students helping them with their robot? And engineers as well?
What is the purpose of a mentor, then, if you can't use them in the heat of the competition? Mentors are there to help you. They are there to have a design in their head, and to help you come to it, or to come up with something better. THEY ARE THERE TO HELP AND TO USE AS SUPPORT, NOT JUST FOR SHOW.

254's mentors (both college students and engineers) and their students work together as one unified team. They are not mentors AND students, but mentors and students working together for one cause, no segregation involved. And that's something every FIRST team should strive for. It's not something you see very often, but when you do see it, it works, and it works well, producing better teams and better bots.

I think that instead of being ridiculed, 254 should be praised for their unity and teamwork.

Mc Kenna
03-31-2005, 01:36 PM
I would just like to add that while 254 might have more in the way of sponsors and mentors/college students than other teams i have never seen them do any thing but go out of their way to help all the teams in the area, and any time my team needed help all we had to do was ask and 254 did every thing they could do to help us. they are the ones who bring a machine shop to SVR and SAC, while some people might hold it against them that have the resources to have this shop, they would have them any ways and they deserve credit for the fact they use the resources they have to help other teams. but finally no matter how much money you have unless you can get your team to work together you will not come up with winning robots. And while their mentors might work on the robot, isn't that their job? to help teach students, and from what i have seen from 254 if there were 4 mentors helping on the robot i would be surprised if there were not students helping or learning. i think the reason why 254 get so much flack for any thing they do is people assume they get it all handed to them but thats not the case, at least from what i have seen of their team. After all they did not win Chairman's award for no reason.

P_Magnum
04-02-2005, 11:30 PM
Hey 1097, 368, and 852. This is P.MAG of 1097. I was sitting in the stands or filming most of the time at SVR. First of all, I never dreamed that 1097 could finish first in qualifying matches and be finalists; in both the Sac and SVR regional. The conclusion to the SVR regional was a sad one for the red alliance. I admit that I do not agree with the call in any way. But I will not sit here and argue this controversy for hours. The regional is done, over, time to move on!
I would personally like to thank the referees, judges, and volunteers at the SVR regional. I would also like to thank ever team that participated in this regional. A special thanks to 254, 22, and 980 for being good sports about it.
To 368 and 852; thanks for the memories. I will remember those playoff games forever. To 1097, I hope our teams future success is even greater. Even though I am graduating this year, I will do my best to help the team in the future. Don't feel bad about this season's losses. We made history at our school.


P. MAGNUM

Veselin Kolev
04-03-2005, 10:27 PM
Ah yes.. I was at this regional. A lot of.. lets say... happened during this regional, and I think the whole 30 point penalty thing was just one of many.

Lots of teams got this penalty. I would say about 99% of them were fair (I might not have been watching for the last 1%) I think this is just very talked about because it may have been the deciding factor in the finals.

Personally, my team (Harker, 1072) lost to the bellermine alliance (254 22 980) fair and square by the rules, but I was rather "anoyed" to say the least. Our first round our robot did nothing. It didn't move. We got owned. The next round we won against bellermine. The last we lost, and were eliminated. I was furious that our robot did not move. Of course I could have jumped on the FIRST people and blamed them blindly for screwing up the radios or something, and we should get a rematch But... I didn't. Because in my opinion our alliances were neck and neck. Well, almost, seeing how they beat us. But I knew that stuff like this happens, and that whining about it will accomplish nothing. It is bad luck. I know that my team has recognition. We put up a good fight, and went down proud (better watch out at nationals, bell boys!)

My point is, the team 1097 alliance technically was beaten fairly by bellerman alliance. In my opinion the 30 point penalty was excessive. But the rule is set before the competition, its just like the motors we get or those wierd tetra things we have to stack... its just another part of the challenge. If students from the team 1097 alliance are feeling any emotion, it should be pride that they ALMOST won. Sure, it kindof sucks, but I recognize your three teams as having awesome robots. Just as awesome as the winner's robots.

If anything is to be done, it should be by the people in FIRST. I think they should take note of this excessively large penalty, and try to avoid this problem next year.

Bill Gold
04-04-2005, 08:51 PM
But what really angers me is that between the matches we tried to show the refs out video of the match and we couldnt. We has 2 cameras taping the round and both clearly showed that our teams robot never even hit the other teams robot, and that the cheesypoofs team hit out teams bot in the loading zoan under their own power.

I realize that there is nothinbg that can be done about this now, but i would like to make this little fact evident to the other teams incase it occurs again some way or another.
Something that hadnít been comented on before is that it is against the rules for referees to consult video replays in order to make a call.

let me explain my views of 254.

NASA has essentially bought a FIRST team... not a bad investment at all. They put many great, talented, smart, and enthusiastic individuals, such as Jason, and others like Dr. Federman, who just in general kick a lot of $@#$@#$@#, and have done great things for FIRST. There is nothing wrong with this at all.

The problem occurs where I would imagine that NASA would love to parade around their wise investment into the youth of america. This team loves to strut around like the own the place because NASA has made them their poster child. There is nothing wrong with a team being NASA poster child it is in fact great for FIRST... but this is not professional sports. Being a FIRST poster child means building the best robot you can (#254 and every other team), helping out other teams as much as possible (#254 and others), and being placed up on a pillar as a model for others to follow (#254).

Being on #254 it is most likely that you have a great advantage in life. You go to a great school, and play for the winning team. This is what i meant in my original post. The kids of 254 ( or the majority i have seen) need to stop strutting around like the own the place simply because you do.

Keep on winning, keep on helping out other teams, keep on lending out resources, but go out and buy some modesty.

Congratulations to your team, and i hope that you continue to challenge yourselves and the rest of the FIRST community. You are up on a pedestal for a reason, quit looking down at everyone. Reach down and grab others to bring them up as well.
I have a lot of problems with team 254 (among other things, during the playoff rounds I saw four NASA engineers working on their robot), but I do not believe that they had a hand in throwing the regional. Still, this was the wrong call. How do I know? In three years of FIRST I have never seen the arena boo. Not just one or two individuals, but hundreds of people. As I noted in my letter to the rules commission, this call was the breakdown of gracious professionalism.
I think itís pretty obvious that there are quite a few misconceptions about our team; how itís run, by whom, with what resources, who our team serves, and what we try to accomplish. I must admit that when I was a high school student on The Sea Dawgs and even my first year as a mentor running that team that I didnít have a favorable opinion of The Cheesy Poofs. I disliked getting beaten by them year after year, but thatís where my actual knowledge of the team ended. After a few years I realized that I really didnít know anything substantive about the team, and that I needed to let go of my bias and try to get to know people on the team. I was lucky enough to get to talk with a couple of the students and Steve Kyramarios and I confirmed that my original feelings towards the team was absolutely wrong.

Adrian was correct when he said that our team only has one engineer (Steve Kyramarios), and that we have only three college mentors (Al Bayer, E.J. Sabathia, and myself). The 2005 season was both my first season with The Cheesy Poofs (I had run The Sea Dawgs, a Cheesy Poof competitor, Team #258, 2002-2004 seasons) and also the first year that Steve Kyramarios didnít guide this teamís ship. This season Al, EJ, and I basically ran The Cheesy Poofsí day-to-day activities with roughly halftime guidance and advice from Steve. The three of us easily put in over 450 man-hours each of robotics work this six week build period, and countless more all through last fall and during this competition period. We Cheesy Poof mentors and students are dedicated to keeping this team on track in terms of spreading the ideals of FIRST, ďkeeping up with the JonesíĒ in terms of advances in design and technology, and fielding a competitive team every year.

Itís also incorrect to assume that our team has unlimited funds. Our team is very fortunate as most teams go, this is true, but we have far from a bottomless source of funds from which to draw. We have had mentors and students foot the bill for miscellaneous parts this season, and we havenít been able to pay for many things we had wanted to use or fabricate.

Our team tries its best to help teams in need. This build period we were pleased to host roughly 15 teams at our lab to allow them to practice on our competition field. We also did some machining for three local robotics teams, two teams in Southern California, and one team in Arizona during this build period. In addition to this machining support, members of our team helped give design advice to, did design work for and otherwise shared designs with more than ten local teams, two teams in the Californian central valley, and those two SoCal teams and Arizonan team. Last fall I taught classes for and helped organize the WRRF Workshops as a member of The Cheesy Poofs. This is all I know of for sure, but I wouldnít be surprised at all if there was more advice and services that our team had done during the build period that I donít know about.

In conclusion, coming from a recently folded fierce competitor of The Cheesy Poofs, if I had thought that this team was unethical or somehow not up to my standards (for those of you who know me, you know how strongly I feel about FIRST and how teams should operate) in terms of how it operates and expects its members to behave I would not have joined this team. This year has been a pleasure for me, and I am very thankful to Steve Kyramarios, Robin Kyramarios, Glenn and Krystine Thoroughman, Jim Urhausen, Al Bayer, EJ Sabathia, Matt Yu, John Kiely, Matt Durstenfeld, Justin Madera, Adrian Santos, Ben Margolis, and many others for what has been a huge learning experience for me this year. I hope that I have been a constructive member of the team this year in their eyes.

-Bill Gold

Cory
04-05-2005, 11:46 PM
Our team has spent the last 7 years trying to share what we have with other teams around the nation, as well as building a competitive robot.

This statement couldn't be any more true. I can't count how many times Team 100 has needed a part and turned to 254, or had to use their mobile shop, among other things. Anytime anybody needs anything, Team 254 will be there doinhg their best to help. You don't win Nation Chairmans Award for no reason.

One instance in particular stands out to me. In 2004 we went into the last week of build with a robot that was over 30 lbs overweight. When 254 found out, a team member personally called me and offered for us to come down and setup shop in their lab for the last week, so that we could work together to do whatever we could to get underweight. You wouldn't expect that from most people, but that's ordinary for the Cheesy Poofs.

Like Bill, when I started my FIRST career, I too looked at the Cheesy Poofs as being "handed everything" and it was unfair, they couldn't possibly have done any of that themselves, etc, etc.

I have to say, now that I actually know what FIRST is about (not the robot folks, it's just a means to an end) I'm ashamed I ever acted like I did. I'm good friends with members of 254, and I have an insight into what really goes on, rather that what I convinced myself, out of ignorance, was happening.

This anecdote relates specificaly to 254, but the same goes for every team out there. You cannot accuse them OF A SINGLE THING until you've been on that team and know how it works, or been around them a whole heck of a lot. As I've repeatedly said, even if they did have all engineers build it, who cares? if the students are being inspired (and they clearly are) who are you to tell them how to run their program?

If everyone who spent their time criticizing 254 and other successful teams spent half as much effort trying to improve their own, and strive for the goals that the Poofs do, FIRST would be a much better place.

psquared89
04-06-2005, 09:29 PM
At the Sacramento Regional this year our pits were right next to the Cheesy Poofs, being on drive team, I spent most of my time in our pits, but it was interesting to me to notice that their pits were frequently mostly empty. They weren't there because they were helping out other teams. They did not seem stuck-up to me, they had one small, modest table with some old awards on it. For all that I'd heard about the Cheesy Poofs, they seemed like a pretty nice team to me. I remember last year all the jokes that our teams had about the announcer being dyslexic (245 vs 254). One quick side comment that I'd like to throw out is if you really want to "stick it to them", beat them on the field, not off of it. To quote lots of people from the legendary "engineering bots" threads, "sure, we get tired of losing to the same teams year after year, but, when you finally beat them, it feels great". I know that for my team, beating the Cheesy Poofs did not have the same significance as it did for our partners, 766 and 1072, but we worked hard to do it, and there's no denying it, it felt great.

DukesAZ
04-08-2005, 10:25 PM
Its sad that there are so many people who hold animosity towards Team 254. They are a great team who have worked hard over the years to develop into one of the best teams in the country. NASA didn't show up at Bellarmine one day and drop a team off at their front door as some would like you to think.

To me, its obvious why so many people bash Team 254: jealousy. They are jealous of the successes that Team 254 has enjoyed and they resent the fact that their team has not achieved similar success. So to vent their frustrations, they hide behind a computer screen and log on to an internet forum to take cheap shots (and thats what they are) at an upstanding group of individuals.

I attend a school in Phoenix that is very similar to Bellarmine. In fact, some of our teachers and members of our administration at one time taught at Bellarmine. I know the people at Bellarmine are hard-working and honest who like to win fair and succeed on an even playing field. They would not manipulate a situation to win a regional because that would put a mark on the win. I certainly would not want to win that way.

I did not witness the situation described by ducttapejason. I have however been involved in more than my fair share of bad calls and I did not immediately run to my nearest computer and throw baseless accusations at fellow FIRST teams and FIRST officials. Jason, you should be ashamed.

White_Orpheus
04-12-2005, 09:06 PM
I think that what gets people is not just that Bellarmine is very successful, but they are a very affluent school compared to some other high schools. Sure, 254 has a bigger budget than a lot of other teams, and that makes it easy to knock them as a "engineered, NASA poster-child" team, but when it boils down to it, we've all simply been outclassed and outplayed. Even if 254 was running a budget equal to the smallest team in FIRST, they'd be able to pull off a quality robot. I'm sure their large budget helps them widen the already formidible gap in quality of their team to most others, but it isn't the deciding factor. These guys are simply that good, and the criticism leveled at them always will go hand in hand with success. Keep it up guys!

santosh
04-13-2005, 08:17 PM
It's no secret that well-funded teams tend to perform better (though this isn't always the case). 71, 111, and 254 (among others... those are the teams that come to mind at the moment)

71 is not a well funded team with their robot. They work incrdibly hard at raising money. A very large portion of their money goes to transporting their enormous not to mention cool team. Thy may have been in the past, but they have had a few issues. Team 71 has to fight as hard as anyone for their money.

I have nothing against team 254 and this segmnt of this post is not for them and I have no clue about their robot/organization except for the fact that thy won the National Chairmans Award last year.

But although FIRST is for inspiring kids to become engineers and for learning how to become a good individual, the competition is still a portion of this organization.

I just feel that the teams should not have other people fixing their robots. They built it, they should fix it. I understan that they will help others with their robot if asked, but shouldn't it be the students first responsibility to try it themselves. FIRST is a learning opportunity. I understand if there is a problem that a student has no idea on how to fix, but atleast they should be there to watch and learn about how to do it.

Cheesy Poofs you guys are great. All your outreach is amazing.

Thr is a reason they have all their money and whatnot. I am basing this off of things I have read in this thread (that rhymed). They had to work for it just like everyone else works for theirs. They were picked for their sponsorship. There is reason for this and it is because they are a great team who deserves what ever they have.

ScoutingNerd175
05-01-2005, 03:57 AM
I think that almost every team has experienced what it feels to loose an important match because of a penalty. This is especially true in this year's game where penalties have played a very important role. I know that our team has experienced this. At BAE this year, there were quite a few penalties. In our last qualifying match a 30 point penalty was called against our team because we touched a robot in the human player loading zone. Our robot had been tipped over at this point and we were attempting to self-right, which we did eventually accomplish. Unfortunately, during our attempts to self-right, we apparently touched a robot in the loading zone. The referees then called a 30 point penalty against us causing us to loose the match and dropping us down to 7th seed. No one on our team saw this penalty, but we were all very focused on our robot. I personally (and most of the team members that I have discussed this with) are sure that the penalty did indeed happen. We are sure of this simply because the penalty was called and we trust the refs to do their job.
As for the Cheesy Poofs supposedly having everything handed to them, I doubt that is true. I have not had that much personal experience with them, but I have heard many positive things about them. We are lucky enough to be a chairmans award team, so we get to go to nationals every year, and we have a very good sponsor (Hamilton Sundstrand) and mentors who donate unbelievable amounts of time. These are things that a great many teams do not get. However no amount of funding, school support, and helpful mentors can "just hand" a team dedicated team members who are willing to work hard for not only their own team but others as well. Nobody can "just hand them" team spirit and Gracious Professionalism. These are things that the Cheesy Poofs certainly seem to have. (They do not award the National Chairmans Award lightly)

Veselin Kolev
05-12-2005, 01:23 PM
It is difficult to judge a team, if you have never seen how they work. Many of the comments on the thread state this, and it is true. There is always some doubt when the only people that can say what goes on in the 254 shop are the people that work their.

That is why I personally wanted to go see them at their NASA workshop, to see how they work, why their team is so successful. I met the 254 guys there about a month ago (mid april) and checked out a day of their world. It was a few days before nationals, and they were busy, playing practice rounds on their spare robot, packing the crate, charging batteries, etc. However, how many NASA guys were there? Three, and they are all college students. Just as Bill Gold said in an earlier post, 254 is guided by the advice of three college students, Al, EJ, and Bill himself. In no way is anything given to them, in no way is their build season easy. These three mentors work tirelessly day and night, working with the students to make them the team that they are. I went there trying to steal some knowledge for myself: what can I do to beat them? As I left that night, all I was thinking is: how can I be more like them?

I truly appreciate the fact that people from 254 let me come over and see how they work. I hope people realize that Bellermine Robotics is a SELF MADE team. They have, on their walls, pinned up all the awards banners they have won over the years. They have a lot of them, and I feel that they fully deserve every one.