Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu
I don't post often on ChiefDelphi; many of the good - scratch that - great decisions by the staff at FIRST that have transpired during this season go without comment from me. I should be better about showing my appreciation. FIRST has continued to operate and grow an incredible system that has had a life changing effect on myself and the large number of students, parents, and mentors of our program.
I feel strongly that guaranteeing teams only eight matches at the Championship event is an injustice to the hard work that so many individuals have put in over the last four months.
Teams travel across the country and the world to come to this event. Two minutes and fifteen seconds doesn't seem like a lot on paper but it means an incredible amount to every member of a FIRST team. Feedback from teams at regionals always addresses the desire to play more matches. Fans of the district system always cite that the events are great because they get more guaranteed matches.
I remember back in 2009 when teams only got 7 chances to play on the field at the big event and it wasn't a great time. The opportunities were limited, it was unfulfilling, and there was a general displeasure. The community gave feedback and the team at FIRST listened. In 2010 and 2011 we were welcomed with 10 matches at championships. I personally remember the rejoicing from the community over the schedule. In 2012 championship grew and FIRST told us - and explained to us - that they needed to cut it down to just 9 matches, but they made a valiant effort at expanding the schedule and I feel that the community understood.
Now what is happening? Why did we take a step backwards? Frank made a great point in his latest blog post that the FMS is connecting faster than ever and thats why the staff feels comfortable accelerating the practice field timing. Do we have a lack of volunteers? What would it take to add another round of matches? I'm not a mathematician but it appears that Karthik's suggestion of turn-around-time could do the job and closely matches the turn-around-times of the three regionals around the country that I attended. I would venture to say that the robots should move on and off the field faster at championships when compared to the regionals. Do we need to make it clearer and put a stronger burden of urgency on to teams for moving the robot to and from the cart?
What I'm asking here is that the crew at FIRST takes another look at the scheduling. If its all we can do to have 8 matches per team then so be it. But myself and I'm sure many others in the community would appreciate the second look at increasing the number of matches to at least the number we had last year in St Louis.