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  #106   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 10-20-2003, 12:56 PM
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The Tier 1 Lottery is going to be an interesting one, Hopefully details come on this soon. Cause its my bet that a bunch of the 293 teams from last year's championship want to go back.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 01:13 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Its a start!

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris
As an activity i looked up how many of the bots in last years Divisional winning alliances wouldn't be at nats with the new qualifications and its kind of scary. [/b]
Which divisional winners did you find that didn't qualify? I only found 2. Most of the teams qualified because of winning regionals, and 4 won regional chairmans.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 01:45 PM
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OK, the Tier system has been clarifed to me by Thelma at FIRST Team Support. There are not a certain number of spots per tier, as I and some others had been assuming. There are XX Spots for all the Tier teams that don' qualify other ways. So those XX spots are open to Tier 6 first, then to Tier 5, and so on down the line. So if all the XX spots are taken by Tier 6 teams, there are no more open spots. This makes more sense now...Hopefully to you all as well.

Ricky
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Unread 10-20-2003, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ricky Q.
OK, the Tier system has been clarifed to me by Thelma at FIRST Team Support. There are not a certain number of spots per tier, as I and some others had been assuming. There are XX Spots for all the Tier teams that don' qualify other ways. So those XX spots are open to Tier 6 first, then to Tier 5, and so on down the line. So if all the XX spots are taken by Tier 6 teams, there are no more open spots. This makes more sense now...Hopefully to you all as well.

Ricky
Thanks for taking the time to clear that up with FIRST.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Do NOT forget that this is a competition. Of course it is much more, BUT it is competition that brings out the best in people....
"at some point in the next six weeks you are going to start feeling like you are involved in a robot building contest. Then you are in serious trouble" -Dean Kamen at last years kickoff meeting.

The competition between teams is only for the purpose of completing the engineering design cycle - it gives teams a chance to see how they have done, compaired to other teams with the same limitations, goals and objectives.

The 'contest' between teams is only the foundation on which we take the students through an engineering design cycle - it makes it more interesting, but its not what FIRST is all about

when you think you are here to compete against other teams, thats when bad things start happening:

-adults yelling at students on the playfield after a bad performance in a match

- students off in a corner at a regional, in tears

- adults getting angry with each other over disagreements about the robot or team

- students making comments to other teams like, "your robot is a pile of junk!"

- adults or students quitting the team in the middle of the season.

Ive seen all these things happen over the last several years.

The competition is a friendly / gentalmens sort of sport - never taken seriously - with the understanding that it is only a forum to put our machines to the test, and see how well we did against what WE set out to do

not to see which team can build the best robot.

If you have to build the best robot to be inspired then we end up with one winning inspired team, and 999 losers.

That is not the spirit of FIRST.

Last edited by KenWittlief : 10-20-2003 at 02:18 PM.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KenWittlief

-adults yelling at students on the playfield after a bad performance in a match

- students off in a corner at a regional, in tears
Those kinds of things are related more on match performance than robot performance. Thats why technology awards should count for something because they're dependent on good engineering, not good match performance.
Your robot could be broken most of the time and you could never win a match, but you can still win an award for your great idea. I mean look at some of the award winners this year. Many of them didn't do too well at the competition. In some cases the mechanism they won for didn't even work most of the time.

Winning a regional, however, does require really good match performance. Getting knocked out in the elimination rounds and thus losing the opportunity to qualify could very easily anger the adult mentor or make a student cry.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SarahB
Thats why technology awards should count for something because they're dependent on good engineering, not good match performance.
Your robot could be broken most of the time and you could never win a match, but you can still win an award for your great idea. I mean look at some of the award winners this year. Many of them didn't do too well at the competition. In some cases the mechanism they won for didn't even work most of the time.
I am glad that this point was brought up.

I see Sarah's point as a reason why FIRST is removing the auto-qualification for teams who win technical awards.

It is true that some teams in the past won technical awards for innovations on their robots which did not work during many matches. While this innovation deserves some recognition, the design is only worth ballast if it does not work on the playing field.

Why should a team qualify for the Championships if they get a technical award for something that does not work? I definitely think that a team should not win an award for something that doesn't work.

However, if this team uses this somewhat-functioning innovation to promote engineering and inspire students to be engineers, then they may have a darn good Engineering Inspiration award entry.

Non-functioning innovations should not get awards. Inspiring students with these innovations (even if they don't work too well) should get awards. Teams should use the innovation to inspire, not as a ticket to go to Atlanta. The more I think of this, the more I applaud FIRST for making a decisive move in this direction.

Andy B.

Last edited by Andy Baker : 10-20-2003 at 02:58 PM.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andy Baker
I am glad that this point was brought up.

I see Sarah's point as a reason why FIRST is removing the auto-qualification for teams who win technical awards.

It is true that some teams in the past won technical awards for innovations on their robots which did not work during many matches. While this innovation deserves some recognition, the design is only worth ballast if it does not work on the playing field.

Why should a team qualify for the Championships if they get a technical award for something that does not work? I definitely think that a team should not win an award for something that doesn't work.

However, if this team uses this somewhat-functioning innovation to promote engineering and inspire students to be engineers, then they may have a darn good Engineering Inspiration award entry.

Non-functioning innovations should not get awards. Inspiring students with these innovations (even if they don't work too well) should get awards. Teams should use the innovation to inspire, not as a ticket to go to Atlanta. The more I think of this, the more I applaud FIRST for making a decisive move in this direction.

Andy B.
My point was that technical awards take pressure off the teams to do really well and work perfectly 24/7 while still applauding good engineering. I agree that teams shouldn't get recognition for something if it doesn't work at all, but its possible that a team could have a great design that works but doesn't get used because of other independent problems.

I understand your point about Engineering Inspiration, but in some cases the influence of such a great design might not be enough to win the award due to heavy competition. Some regionals have a lot of teams that all benefit FIRST immensely. For example, the National Chairmans award winning teams from the past two years both won the J&J Mid-Atlantic regional chairman's award prior to that. A small team with a great design isn't going to be able to compete for Chairman's or Engineering Inspiration. The design, however, would be enough to win a technology award.

Perhaps the best solution would be to create an "ultimate" design award that would qualify a team for the Championship. That way you still have the benefits of having technology award wining teams qualify, while also not putting too much emphasis on good design.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 03:36 PM
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Rookie teams and second year teams

You won't see many comments from me here or anywhere else.
We were very disappointed when we found out that rookies and second year teams are being put at the bottom of the list ...

We were told:

The teams that have not attended for a long time have first dibs for Championship registration. Rookie teams are in the last tier, and one-year teams are next to last. Teams in these tiers will do well to fundraise for the year they will have a chance to register. We are sorry that we can't make all teams happy all of the time, but this method seems to be the fairest to all.
Thelma

The problem I have with this approach is that up until two years ago all teams had the option to come to ANY National Final that they wished to come to...It has only been the last two years in which teams were limited. (Correct me if I am wrong...)

As a new team, we have two years of eligibility for the NASA grant but since it is impossible to determine whether our team will be eligible until after the grant must be applied for, we can't "fundraise for the year we are eligible because we will never know when that is... it might be 5-6 years from now...

Here is the logic... OK we work our tails off trying to put together a great robot... who knows... we might even draw a couple of good teams during the competitions to work with...so we win a regional... or get a qualifying award to allow us to go...
THEN we can't go because we haven't fundraised enough...since the finals are another $10,000 we weren't counting on...

I really don't see why this is the "fairest" to all...
Teams from three years plus had eligibility for all of those years and could have chosen to go any of them... for whatever reason they didn't go...now newer teams are being penalized...

FIRST is a difficult proposition for many schools... difficult because finding dedicated teachers is tough... difficult because finding dedicated mentors is also hard... difficult when asked to pay $5000 to enter an event and then pay $4000 for each additional event... talking to inner city schools... wow let's watch the video and see how the little red robot that could qualified for nationals... ooops that wouldn't happen this year now...we changed the rules..... and now to top all of that...

Please come and join FIRST... we know you can't go to the Nationals for four or so years so you won't ever even see Woody or Dean except on videos or the television... or at the remote kickoff... but you can watch the video of everyone else having such a great time... yes you can do that!!

The rich get richer... but come on join the club!!!
send us money


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Unread 10-20-2003, 03:45 PM
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I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels rookie and second year teams are getting a bit shafted.

I love FIRST and I have spent countless hours of my free time putting work in, but this greatly upsets me. How many rookie teams do you think are going to want to return for another season if they have NO chance or a very slim chance at attending the Championship Competition?
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Unread 10-20-2003, 03:46 PM
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Currently there are 783 different teams registerred for a Regional.

There are 210 spots open for pre-qualification. Total, at the championship event there will be no more than 366 teams attending (when you add award winners).

Your chances of attending, if you went last year and don't pre-qualify, are slim. Don't count on it. Less than 50% of the teams will go.

Overall, I think FIRST found the right balance between merit and chance. It's a shame they couldn't increase the attendance numbers further.

Though, they did leave a few questions behind them. Namely, what tier would teams that have never attended a championship fall in? Would a new rookie team fall in the same tier as a 3-year-old team that never went? I don't think this is right. They should add a clause that your tier is based on your number of active years if you have never attended a championship event.

I know it's hard, but as FIRST grows, teams are going to have to accept that the championship event simply cannot continue increasing in size at the same rate. The funding required to make this happen would increase exponentially, because then you need more space, more workers, and make the event time longer (or cut the amount of matches in half, but not many teams want to travel 1,000+ miles to play 4 matches). The Championship event is eventually going to have to follow many of the sports models out there. Does every NFL team make it to the play-offs? No. Some get wild-cards, and some win games and get to the top.

Regional performance affects championship attendance. Makes sense. Throw in a few lottery/wild-cards and welcome to the NFL. Except the NFL doesn't allow attendance to losers. FIRST does.


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Unread 10-20-2003, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Ross
I see three major points being argued in this thread.

1. The original 6 teams shouldn't be get a free ride.

While I personally think that those 6 teams shouldn't get a free ride, this is the same rule that has been argued about over the past 2 years. I haven't seen any new information presented on the against side, and the for side seem to have better arguments then before.

2. It's really hard to travel on such short notice

Yes, it is hard to travel on such short notice, and even harder to raise funds that quickly. However, there are LESS teams traveling on short notice then before. This year, only 6 teams will qualify from each regional. Last year, there were 8 from each regional.

3. Nationals shouldn't be limited

Very few people have argued that nationals were better when they were smaller, the issue is how big can nationals get? I think it is possible for nationals to get bigger then the current 300 team limit. But, I know they can't get big enough to encompass every high school in the country. Is it a big deal if they could have 400 teams out of 800 go to nationals, instead of 300? maybe. What about that difference of 100 when there are 10,000 teams?

Just for reference, the Championships of the Quiz bowl, had about 50 teams, the Academic decathalon had 37 and MATHCOUNTS had 25. I'd say FIRST is way ahead of the curve as far as getting teams to participate in the championships. Also, AFAIK, there is no national championships for any high school sports teams.
.
I am not a fan of those people who tell you not to argue. So I'm not telling you not to argue, but to look at the whole picture when arguing.
To say the nationals are a true championship is false because many of the teams will be there simply by being in the right year. The event is an invitational plain and simple. To compare it with the events you mention above is ludicrous.

The goal is to encompass ALL the high schools in the nation yet we restrict the big event to 300 teams. Thats the problem. 400 WOULD be better, 800 would be better still. What's the limit? Who knows. But if nobody ever looks it expand the event it will always be 300.

The travel on short notice IS an issue and MORE will need to make flash arrangements since in the past a number of the top teams have been prequalified from the prior year anyway. Now everybody is thrust unto the last minute trip mode. How you come up with the LESS figure is beyond me.


As for the original teams- I am betting that somewhere in the past someone promised them that they would forever be qualified to compete. I respect the ruling if that is the case. That is the only reason I can see they are permanently grandfathered. Do they deserve to be there? That's your call. But I can think of dozens of more recent teams who have done as much or more for FIRST, haven't won the Chairman's and who will be hurt by this decision.

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Unread 10-20-2003, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KenWittlief
"at some point in the next six weeks you are going to start feeling like you are involved in a robot building contest. Then you are in serious trouble" -Dean Kamen at last years kickoff meeting.

The competition between teams is only for the purpose of completing the engineering design cycle - it gives teams a chance to see how they have done, compaired to other teams with the same limitations, goals and objectives.

The 'contest' between teams is only the foundation on which we take the students through an engineering design cycle - it makes it more interesting, but its not what FIRST is all about

when you think you are here to compete against other teams, thats when bad things start happening:

-adults yelling at students on the playfield after a bad performance in a match

- students off in a corner at a regional, in tears

- adults getting angry with each other over disagreements about the robot or team

- students making comments to other teams like, "your robot is a pile of junk!"

- adults or students quitting the team in the middle of the season.

Ive seen all these things happen over the last several years.

The competition is a friendly / gentalmens sort of sport - never taken seriously - with the understanding that it is only a forum to put our machines to the test, and see how well we did against what WE set out to do

not to see which team can build the best robot.

If you have to build the best robot to be inspired then we end up with one winning inspired team, and 999 losers.

That is not the spirit of FIRST.
This is starting to get off topic, but anyway...

I knew that what I said would be somewhat controversial. Just before I clicked send, I actually considered removing that whole thing and saying something completely different, but then I realized that I was being completely hypocritical if I did that.

Ken, I realize that some people go off the deep end and become overly competitive and have a "win-at-all costs" mentality, but that is far, far, far, FAR from what I meant. What I meant is that this competition should still be treated as a competition, with good sportsmanship and gracious professionalism ruling everyone's actions.

My point is that there seems to be a trend in FIRST in which people are saying (I'm paraphrasing here), "who cares about the robots, let's inspire the students." What I'm saying is, it's the robots that inspire the students, not someone saying, "hey you, be inspired now."

When students (and people in general) feel driven to be their best, they learn more and are inspired more. I'll give you two students: student A who does barely enough to do the minimum necessary to pass a class, and student B who is driven to have the best grade in the class, and I'll guarantee you that student B will come out of that class with a MUCH better grasp of the subject matter. (Notice here that I didn't imply that student B cheated or was brutal to other students to get the highest grade - I just stated that he is driven to work hard.)

I feel that too many people are advocating that it's okay to do the least possible squeak into the robot competition. I want to stand up and say that I disagree with that. Teams that TRY to win and TRY to do their best end up having students that learn more, learn the value of hard work, and are inspired by the process. Allowing a team to do the bare minimum is a disservice to the students on that team.

Obviously there are teams that probably don't have the resources to win this competition. But that doesn't mean they should give up and say, "oh well, why bother - we're never going to win." They should still say, "hey, if we work hard and do our best, we can be competitive. We don't have to win it all to have success, but if we're competitive, we will have succeeded. And if we are competitive, you never know what might happen." That is what I meant.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 05:37 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Its a start!

Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Ross
Which divisional winners did you find that didn't qualify? I only found 2. Most of the teams qualified because of winning regionals, and 4 won regional chairmans.
Team 111 did not win a regional, chairman's or inspiration award.

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Unread 10-20-2003, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jnadke
Though, they did leave a few questions behind them. Namely, what tier would teams that have never attended a championship fall in? Would a new rookie team fall in the same tier as a 3-year-old team that never went? I don't think this is right. They should add a clause that your tier is based on your number of active years if you have never attended a championship event.
I agree. If you were a new team last year or this year, you didn't get a "free chance" to go. I think that the even teams from last year and the rookies from year should be moved into the first or second tier. Obviously my opinion is biased, but I think it's sort of strange to give these teams who have had 5+ years to go (and apparently for whatever the reason haven't...) more priority.

I went to nat's my first year in FIRST with team 442. We didn't earn our way, but we did get there by the even/odd rule. I thought that was the most amazing experience being my first year in the competition. It made me thirst for it. I wanted to go back the next year. Badly. More than you will ever imagine. I think if we gave the rookie teams who could afford it this same opprotunity, then it would make them work harder in the following years to earn their way to nat's.

Think if you were a new rookie team who had a hard time convincing your school to start and join a team. Perhaps you do badly at a regional and that's the end of things. Even though I don't feel that the competition is the main focus of FIRST, many people do. I'm sure a lot of team members wouldn't return the following year because they were discouraged or for whatever the reason just decide not to re-join.

This may even turn out to be a non-issue. Many of these teams will qualify by winning awards and the like, but who knows?
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