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Unread 05-09-2013, 07:16 PM
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Jim Zondag Jim Zondag is offline
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FRC #0033 (Killer Bees)
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Re: The 6 Week Build Season and 'Mentor Burnout'

So, after all the back and forth in this thread, and all of the anecdotal and revisionist commentary on the history of what we do and why, I decided to do a little archeology. I went back and reviewed the actual game manuals from the early years (92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98). There is no available 94 Game Manual I could find in any of the archives.

In 92 and 93, there were no machine access restrictions at all. There was a kickoff, and there was a tournament. That was it....make a robot and show up to play.

In 95 we see the first indication of limits, as FIRST expanded to have more than one event. The rules of engagement were the same in 95 and 96. The excerpt from the 1996 manual is below:
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Shipping Deadlines
To provide every team, regardless of events in which they participate, approximately the same number of design and build days, the following shipping regulations and dates apply:
New England Tournament (Manchester, NH) Competitors
1. Teams may either ship of bring their machine with them to the tournament.
2. After the tournament, all teams competing in the National Championship will have five days to make repairs and/or changes to their machines, within all rules outlined in this document
3. By end of business on Friday, April 5, machines must be picked up by a shipper for transport. This will give all New England teams five additional days to work on their machines.
National Championship participants only
1. Teams must ship their machines by end-of-business on Tuesday, April 2, 1996.
2. This will give all teams competing in only the National Championship an equal number of days to work on their machines as team competing in both events.
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So, if you notice, this was not done to limit involvement by participants. It was done to try to equalize the number of workdays depending on if teams went to one or two events. You were allowed to work on your robot all the way upto and through the regional if you chose. Since the CMP required shipping robots to Disney, equalizing dates were imposed. Teams had 5 days to work on their robots after the first event before being required to give it up.

Actual "shipday" rules were not imposed until 1997. From the 97 manual:
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1. Machines MUST BE OUT OF TEAM HANDS by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb 25, 1997. This means you many ship the robot or drive the robot to the drayage/storage facility of your first event by 5:00 p.m. on February 25.

Regional Competitors
1. After competing in a Regional, any teams competing in another event will have two days to make repairs and/or changes to their machines, within all rules outlined in this document.
2. Machines MUST ARRIVE as the next site by the next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.

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After talking with some oldtimers from this era, they believe that the main reason for these changes in 1997 were due to LOGISTICS concerns. When events started to be scheduled on back to back weekends in 97, FIRST had to reduce the amount of time teams had to do repairs in order to make sure the crates could get to their destination in time.

Eventually (2002) the weekend hold back period was eliminated completely, again this was mainly to avoid the logistical complexity of hundreds of teams trying to all ship from various locations and instead allowed FIRST to control all of the logistics of all of the machines from the beginning to the end of the season by shipping direct from event to event. Again, the removal of these hands on repair and improve windows had nothing to do with limiting access by team, it was for LOGISTICS.

Phase forward to today. ALL of the Logistics for ALL of the teams are now entirely up to the teams and not any centralized control. So why does FIRST still maintain these rules? Seriously, they are nothing more than an artifact of an obsoleted system. Everyone who put the original rule in place at FIRST HQ is gone, yet these rules remain. Teams now attend anywhere from 1 to 6 events per season, so equalization of access time is functionally impossible, yet these rules remain.
So ask yourself, are we really doing something smart with the machine access rules, or is all of this just a collection of old rules, imposed for obsolete reasons which have been forgotten?
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Last edited by Jim Zondag : 05-09-2013 at 07:18 PM.
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