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  #46   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-23-2013, 02:04 AM
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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.

-Mason
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Unread 04-23-2013, 02:20 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

I'm with Mason and Karthik on this one.
7 matches in the past was unacceptable.
10 was great!
And now, we are down to 8?

If the Championship requires that 100 teams per division is warranted, then its about time the event became 4 full days instead of 3.XX .

With workshop sessions, non-robot activities, educational/vendor booths, and FLL, participants need more time to enjoy the event.

-Glenn
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Unread 04-23-2013, 05:30 AM
Jon Stratis Jon Stratis is offline
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

Quote:
Originally Posted by waialua359 View Post
I'm with Mason and Karthik on this one.
7 matches in the past was unacceptable.
10 was great!
And now, we are down to 8?

If the Championship requires that 100 teams per division is warranted, then its about time the event became 4 full days instead of 3.XX .

With workshop sessions, non-robot activities, educational/vendor booths, and FLL, participants need more time to enjoy the event.

-Glenn
And at the same time, students need less time out of school, and mentors less time out of work. As it is, going to champs for most people is a full 3 days out of school/work. Add in a regional and it's another 2 days. Add in a second regional for many teams, and it's another two days, all in the span of 2 months (5-7 days off out of 40 days worked in 8 weeks). That's a lot of school to be missing, and I know it doesn't make my manager too happy (but since the company sponsors FIRST and my team, he has to let me take the time for it).

I'm hopeful that FIRST has grown to the point that next year, when we change venue for champs, we have some place even better that allows us 8 divisions instead of 4, so we can include even more teams while still providing more matches!
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Unread 04-23-2013, 08:00 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

It's worth mentioning that in Maine (week 6), we were consistently running 20-30 minutes ahead of schedule on a 7 minute cycle time. I think at championships, a 6.5 minute cycle time should be feasible.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 08:28 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
I'm hopeful that FIRST has grown to the point that next year, when we change venue for champs, we have some place even better that allows us 8 divisions instead of 4, so we can include even more teams while still providing more matches!
I hate to be the guy to tell you this but if you look Here you will see that we are still in St. Louis next year.

Just look at the bottom after the divisions
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Unread 04-23-2013, 08:33 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

If FIRST went to 8 divisions they'd just invite 800 teams. They're not going to shrink the divisions.
Personally I think FIRST should dump the practice matches and just get down to business.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 08:43 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

The problem is that the divisions are just to big. With 100 teams even if each team gets 12 matches the luck of the draw will have a major impact on rankings.

The only real way is to make a difference is to make the divisions smaller.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 08:53 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

I am also quite disappointed that we only get eight qualification matches.

Both of the regionals I attended ran ahead of schedule, and at both events we ended up watching chicken dance, etc for a pretty decent stretch as the staff wasted time* to get us back on schedule. These were at regionals where the vast majority of teams hadn't been to a previous event. I really don't think it's necessary to be conservative about the time between matches at a championship where everyone has already gotten their robot to connect to the FMS at a previous event, and where we have lots of expert volunteers.

More matches should be a top priority. I'm with Mason - tell us what you need to make more matches happen and I'm sure you'll have some cooperative FIRST students, mentors, and volunteers ready to get us there.

*It's not a knock on the staff at those events, by the way. They were running ahead of schedule, after all.

Last edited by Nemo : 04-23-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 09:02 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

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Originally Posted by Koko Ed View Post
If FIRST went to 8 divisions they'd just invite 800 teams. They're not going to shrink the divisions.
Personally I think FIRST should dump the practice matches and just get down to business.
That practice match time is important; at least three very valuable things (besides teams being able to actually practice) happen then:
1) Teams that can't come on Wednesday get time to unpack & prepare their robot.
2) Field connections happen and (hopefully) the bugs get worked out
3) Time to inspect

Even though teams have already been to one or more events, we always still find problems during inspections. And even if we don't, it takes more than a few hours to get to each of 100 robots.

We need more matches; 8 isn't enough. I don't think increasing the # of days for CMP is feasible; we're already taking a lot of time off from school & work. Plus, I suspect that none of us really want to know how much it costs per day to be at the venue. I really like this year's game, except for the amount of work it takes to score & reset the field. I think the only way we're going to get more matches is shorter cycle times; either the GDP designs a game with that in mind or we find a way to speed up the field reset crew. Do NOT take this as a dig at the volunteers; they're great.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 09:23 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

All those crying that its too much time off work/school, what about that other day, currently AFTER the event? I never understood FIRSTs aversion to playing on Sundays, when it would make it so much less stressful on the teams.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 09:25 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

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Originally Posted by Racer26 View Post
All those crying that its too much time off work/school, what about that other day, currently AFTER the event? I never understood FIRSTs aversion to playing on Sundays, when it would make it so much less stressful on the teams.
Sunday is getaway day.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 10:25 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

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Originally Posted by Racer26 View Post
All those crying that its too much time off work/school, what about that other day, currently AFTER the event? I never understood FIRSTs aversion to playing on Sundays, when it would make it so much less stressful on the teams.
From this comment am I correct in assuming that your employer gives you time off for the events? My employer does not, so any extra days creates problems for me. Playing on Sunday would most likely require an extra day off travel for most people.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 10:32 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

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Originally Posted by Koko Ed View Post
Sunday is getaway day.
Students, mentors, and volunteers all need Sunday to recover/travel.


There need to be fewer teams or more divisions like at VRC World Championship.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 10:36 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Students, mentors, and volunteers all need Sunday to recover/travel.


There need to be fewer teams or more divisions like at VRC World Championship.
The size difference of the fields for FRc and Vex are significant. You can't compare the two.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 10:36 AM
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Re: FRC Blogged - Share your FIRST Story, and *Preliminary* Championship Match Schedu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koko Ed View Post
If FIRST went to 8 divisions they'd just invite 800 teams. They're not going to shrink the divisions.
Personally I think FIRST should dump the practice matches and just get down to business.
I don't think they would double the team count if they ever added more divisions. I mean, 100 teams/division wasn't even a thing until last year, and in years prior I believe it was 90 teams/division.

But then again, I thought they would have stopped pulling off the waitlist at 378 teams to make 4-94 team divisions, but I guess getting registration money was a priority or something.
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