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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:02 PM
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Your Worst FIRST experience

What was your worst first experience? I love FIRST, but i have had my equal share of good and bad experiences.

Mine was when i was temporarily kicked off of the team for sabotaging a bowl of cashews. We built our robot at the team captains house because we had nowhere else to build it. We weren't allowed to build the robot at school because the Shop Supervisor hated the lady that ran our team... but anyways thats besides the point. I was kicked off the team for a total of 6 hours, approximately a week before our Los ANgeles Regional... Since the high school only had 5 members willing to be on the team this year (not one student from last year, which kind of tells you something) we imported 3 8th graders to help us build our robot and join the team early because 5 people can't build a robot. So apparently i sabotaged a can of cashews by filling it up with water. Now being a mature high school student, drowning cashews isn't my thing. Sounds like an 8th grade thing to do, not a 10th grade thing to do. So i was kicked off and (being the only programmer there ) i was also told i had never been an asset eve nthough i had done programming. At the LA regional our team had no motivation because we had been belittled and attacked by this woman etc etc etc... after our rounds were over we hooked up a few laptops and played starcraft against eachother and proceeded home. No party, no celebration, and definately no spirit to return next year.

However the FIRST experience was fun enough for the dissatisfied members of the team (everyone) to branch off and form another robotics team for next year on the same team.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:04 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richomundo
What was your worst first experience? I love FIRST, but i have had my equal share of good and bad experiences.

Mine was when i was temporarily kicked off of the team for sabotaging a bowl of cashews. We built our robot at the team captains house because we had nowhere else to build it. We weren't allowed to build the robot at school because the Shop Supervisor hated the lady that ran our team... but anyways thats besides the point. I was kicked off the team for a total of 6 hours, approximately a week before our Los ANgeles Regional... Since the high school only had 5 members willing to be on the team this year (not one student from last year, which kind of tells you something) we imported 3 8th graders to help us build our robot and join the team early because 5 people can't build a robot. So apparently i sabotaged a can of cashews by filling it up with water. Now being a mature high school student, drowning cashews isn't my thing. Sounds like an 8th grade thing to do, not a 10th grade thing to do. So i was kicked off and (being the only programmer there ) i was also told i had never been an asset eve nthough i had done programming. At the LA regional our team had no motivation because we had been belittled and attacked by this woman etc etc etc... after our rounds were over we hooked up a few laptops and played starcraft against eachother and proceeded home. No party, no celebration, and definately no spirit to return next year.

However the FIRST experience was fun enough for the dissatisfied members of the team (everyone) to branch off and form another robotics team for next year.
My team built last year's robot with 4 people.

I can't really think of a bad FIRST experience, really, I can't.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:10 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by HHSJosh
My team built last year's robot with 4 people.

I can't really think of a bad FIRST experience, really, I can't.
Well FIRST is GREAT i love FIRST but it was my team that sucked. so maybe the thread should be changed to "Every team has had dysfunctions, what was your worst?"
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:17 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Well my worst experience in FIRST was during the build season when our team advisor(WayneC) got a stroke. It was hard to manage but when a team is a team, anything is possible. So we got thru the Build season with the HUGE load of problems, we survived
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:38 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richomundo
Well FIRST is GREAT i love FIRST but it was my team that sucked. so maybe the thread should be changed to "Every team has had dysfunctions, what was your worst?"
I did some thinking, and I found one. At SoCal in 2003, a 5th year Senior on my team decided it would be "fun" to drive another team's robot in the pits, nearly running over some of their team members. So then we got chewed out and possibly could have been disqualified, that was a bad moment.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:52 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeknoBramha
Well my worst experience in FIRST was during the build season when our team advisor(WayneC) got a stroke. It was hard to manage but when a team is a team, anything is possible. So we got thru the Build season with the HUGE load of problems, we survived
i have to agree with Bharat here, this the early part of this season were some of the team's darkest hours, mainly because of Cokeley's stroke, but him not being there also had a bad effect on the team's operation. I think we handled it fairly well, but it still hurt us a lot. When Cokeley was incapacitated, it really emphasized how important he is to the team, and how much he does for all of us. He's really an amazing guy. He is so dedicated to our team. He got hospital leave, after some convincing, and attended the New Jersey Regional ALL THREE DAYS with a walker and an eyepatch. All the shifts in command caused problems that surfaced later, and Mr. C handled them as best anyone could. If you're in need of a role model, talk to Wayne Cokeley.

aside from that, i think my worste FIRST experience, at least at the time, was in the 2002 Nationals when I temporarily lost my job as "Battery Mike." We were ziptying the battery plugs into the plug on the robot because they would come out sometimes. There was one battery in particular, #2, where the cord was very short, and it had always worried me. It was my job to change the batteries and ziptie the plugs so they could not possibly come out. Well, in one of the qualification rounds something went wrong. I used battery #2. It had been fine in other rounds, but this time I messed up. The robot lost power the instant it started. I was accused of not tightening the ziptie and fired as battery boy. It was a mystery to me, at first, how this had happened, but over time i figured out the whole chain of events based on other experiences and careful thinking. The battery cord was short - when I put that battery in I usually had to put hard to get it to click. That time I didn't realize it was the #2 battery and didn't push hard enough - it was never fully in. When I ziptied it, I didn't tighten the ziptie as much as I should have. With this little bit of extra space, the plug had enough room to pull out more, and the metal stopped touching, causing complete power loss to the robot. There were some other stories going around as to how it happened. Somebody told me that a member of the drive team had changed the battery after I left and done it wrong. Whatever the error, I was just glad when it was all over. Our head engineer, Mike Lubniewski (the guy TeknoBrahma claims to be) came over and apologized to me, and told me I could be the battery boy again. I finished up the season as battery boy, and was officially named "Battery Man" by Big Mike.

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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:55 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by afflictionblade
i have to agree with Bharat here, this the early part of this season were some of the team's darkest hours, mainly because of Cokeley's stroke, but him not being there also had a bad effect on the team's operation. I think we handled it fairly well, but it still hurt us a lot. When Cokeley was incapacitated, it really emphasized how important he is to the team, and how much he does for all of us. He's really an amazing guy. He is so dedicated to our team. He got hospital leave, after some convincing, and attended the New Jersey Regional ALL THREE DAYS with a walker and an eyepatch. All the shifts in command caused problems that surfaced later, and Mr. C handled them as best anyone could. If you're in need of a role model, talk to Wayne Cokeley.
Now that is a worst FIRST experience, but it did seem to come out OK.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 10:59 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richomundo
Well FIRST is GREAT i love FIRST but it was my team that sucked. so maybe the thread should be changed to "Every team has had dysfunctions, what was your worst?"
Just be aware - as you already all shoud know - that this is a public forum, and the things written here can be seen by everyone and anyone.

Try not to air out your team's dirty laundry here, unless it is well in the past and you can all laugh about it now.

That said; post away!
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Unread 06-25-2004, 11:03 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

our team has had its problems, but the worst was probably the rookie year. though we had some funding, unrealistic engineers who didn't understand the concept of a deadline, accompanied by a steadily decreasing student interest, almost doomed our entire team. It was only because one individual finally stood up and singlehandedly built the robot (in the last two weeks) that we were able to pull through. It wasn't that bad of a bot either, we managed to take it on to win the rookie all star award at NYC in 2001. In the end, it wasn't a bad year because we did badly, but because no one really had any fun/

Our team dynamic has since improved dramatically, and we've managed to integrate students much more exstensively into the build process. However, the effects of that first year were long lasting, and it was only very slowly that we evolved to the state in which we could enjoy FIRST in the way it was intended.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 11:09 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

My worst expirence in FIRST was at this years Midwest Regional. Our team was in the pit area voting on going to the team social or to go around town for the night. There was one student who decides he wants to go into town so he tries to force (literally force) kids into putting their hands down. Enraged I yelled at this person and he proceded to step up to my face. At that moment I felt that we were no longer a team and it saddened me that had to happen in the pit area were all other teams could see what was going on.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 11:31 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Like Elgin said not everythign should be posted here, but instead of just hearing what your worst experience was, lets change this thread a little. If you are going to paost a bad experience you had in FIRST, why dont you also post what you did to correct that problem, and/or what was learned from that situation.
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Unread 06-25-2004, 11:31 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by MATT_kaplan108
At that moment I felt that we were no longer a team and it saddened me that had to happen in the pit area were all other teams could see what was going on.
I'm with you on that one. I've done the same thing and had the same thing done to me. Additionally, I have been a spectator to such events. In the pits, often it is easy to forget there are others watching. So nowadays, I remind the team that our individual actions reflect on the team as a whole, whether we want them to or not.

I think the Pit Announcers should make an anouncement like every hour on the hour for people to stay calm, happy, and relaxed. It would do good things for the atmosphere.

As for my bad experiences besides that one, in 2003 I designed the robot frame and the teacher would not let me build it for a whole week until the other subsystems had their designs and dimensiosn finished. I insisted that these frame pieces had nothing to do with the other subsystems. Anyway, after the worst week of arguing in our team's histotry, I the teacher gave up and said fine, go build the frame. So I went and built it. Then he comes and asks what size the outside is. I tell him 35x29, just like the plan. And he comes up with some other plan that says 35.5x29.5; he comes up with the new numbers by counting squares on the graph paper on which this new plan was drawn. Anyway, he tries to make me recut all the pieces for the frame and implied that I would have to pay for the wasted material because I was not following the plan. I insisted that I was correct and the dimensions had been run by all the engineers and subsystems and they were fine. He still kept on that it was not to plan spec. After abotu 3 hours back and forth on that. I finaly just went home in anger. I came back later and recut the frame, hastely because I was pissed off. But I did it because I knew we would get nowhere unless I did.

Now we had a 35.5x29.5 frame, 1 fairly happy teacher, and one very angry student (me), and 1 week wasted.

The reason I can post this whole story is because it has a great ironic ending. At a pre-ship scrimmage, we noticed our low profile robot got lost in the sea of bins. We wanted to add flags which mounted on the outside of the frame rails, but with them and hardware, we were over the size limit. The teacher finally realized the reason I left a good margin of space beneath the limit, and now this year, our frame is 35x29.

Another bad experience was the 2004 LA regional Quarterfinals. But that is not a story I can discuss here much further than saying: I hope it was

I think to counter this thread we should make one called Your BEST FIRST experience (not including winning or awards).
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Unread 06-25-2004, 11:39 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
I think the Pit Announcers should make an anouncement like every hour on the hour for people to stay calm, happy, and relaxed. It would do good things for the atmosphere.

I think to counter this thread we should make one called Your BEST FIRST experience (not including winning or awards).
i might get annoyed with the announcement after a full day in the pits... I was going to make this best/worst experience, but i realized that the responses would be way too long.

The good of FIRST outweighs the bad, though, and i hope to recruit a whole bunch of new people for it next year.
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Unread 06-27-2004, 02:05 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeknoBramha
but when a team is a team, anything is possible.
That was our fatal flaw this year, IMHO.

I'd guess about twenty of us were at Palmetto, and I think only one or two of us were cheering, except during our match, when the number would jump to about five.
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Unread 06-27-2004, 03:46 PM
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Re: Your Worst FIRST experience

This wasn't during the FIRST season, but during the time period we had to turn in our registration fee. My worst experience was when my coach took me and my co-captain aside to tell us that there would be no 573 for the 2004 season. I came out of the room teary-eyed and wanting to punch a wall..

But we were still able to participate in FIRST on 1! So I guess out of all bad things come something good.
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