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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-20-2008, 10:46 PM
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Billfred Billfred is offline
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skippy178 View Post
My main point is that a team competing in multiple regionals shouldn't be able to take home awards everywhere they go just because they have the $$$ to do so, and at the expense of the smaller-budget teams.
Perhaps it's because the teams that have the resources to do multiple events have the systems in place that make them more effective at achieving their objectives (inspiring students, changing the culture, etc.).

Quote:
Once they go to their first regional competition, it should become "practice only" (non-qualifying) at other events, and that should include being ineligible for the off-field awards too.
Nevermind that many teams fare better at their second event than at their first (which then causes issues already discussed with the competition).

Quote:
If every team could find a way to attend 2 or 3 regionals, especially if they were geographically convenient to home base, wouldn't that give them a much better (perhaps unfair) chance of qualifying for the Championship than if they competed locally, and then sat around for 4-6 weeks waiting for Atlanta (assuming you were pre-qualified) or else were eliminated and had to wait for next year to try again.
A better chance? Yes. An unfair chance? No. If you've worked to form the partnerships required to afford multiple events, you've earned it. (That's coming from the mentor of a one-regional-a-year team.) I'll leave alone the fact that at no point has FIRST called for its competition to be perfectly fair.

Quote:
What do the top NASCAR / F1 / Indy teams do between races ? They spend time and money on practice, and practice, and more practice, and throw in plenty of workshop time too (without fix-it windows !). But, regardless of all that, they can't go out and add a few extra races to their season to give them more points in their championships.

In professional sports, the teams get a given match / event schedule, and over the course of the season up the finals rounds, each team will play the same number of games.
You're drawing an apples-to-oranges comparison. In a professional sports league, the teams are all competing together in contests that can only generally happen around one match per day over several months, and the teams in contention don't change over the span of time that play is underway. In FRC, that's a regional competition. To compare multiple regionals with professional sports would be akin to saying that the Atlanta Braves would play the first half of its season in the National League and the second half in the American League.

Quote:
In FIRST, that's not the case. But, should it be ?
No.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 10:50 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

What do team numbers have to do with the winning alliance on einstein and how many regionals a team attends. There were plenty of rookie bots at the championship, they were simply not good enough to make it to einstein or for the most part the eliminations of the divisions either. The teams with large budgets attending and winning multiple regionals has nothing to do with the lack of rookie teams on einstein.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 10:50 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

I think the problem is more that there are teams that struggle just to make it to one regional and other can afford to go to as many as they want where ever they want.

If you look at teams that travel across the country, their robots are high machined and well built. This is because they have better resources than other teams, more machines, more material, and more money and time to prototype (time spent fundraising for other teams can be spent designing and making parts). So their bot are going to preform well because of the time and money put into them. Which means that at competitions they are going to win.

By stopping them from entering multiple regionals you may give more teams a chance but the best Robot want necessarily win. The fact remain the best Robots do win, mot at ever time, upsets are possible but in general...

Also keep in mind that these team didn't go to 2+ regionals then they would have an extra 15k to spend in entry fees a travel, (more in some cases). Are they going to donate this to other teams, maybe but more likely they are going to spend it to make their Robot better. Which means they are only going to increase their advantage over the rest of the field.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 10:50 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
My main point is that a team competing in multiple regionals shouldn't be able to take home awards everywhere they go just because they have the $$$ to do so, and at the expense of the smaller-budget teams.
Quote:
I think the problem is more that there are teams that struggle just to make it to one regional and other can afford to go to as many as they want where ever they want.

If you look at teams that travel across the country, their robots are high machined and well built. This is because they have better resources than other teams, more machines, more material, and more money and time to prototype (time spent fundraising for other teams can be spent designing and making parts). So their bot are going to preform well because of the time and money put into them. Which means that at competitions they are going to win.
...
Also keep in mind that these team didn't go to 2+ regionals then they would have an extra 15k to spend in entry fees a travel, (more in some cases). Are they going to donate this to other teams, maybe but more likely they are going to spend it to make their Robot better. Which means they are only going to increase their advantage over the rest of the field.
The teams that have all this money to go places to win awards probably take initiative to get more sponsors for that money, and should be seen as examples on working to get more sponsors! Ask somebody from their teams. This is FIRST. I'm sure anyone would give pointers or forward you to someone who will.

Also, the judges don't give out awards for money. They give out awards for hard work and effort. Every team should and can put up the effort to make the judge's job that much harder. That's what FIRST is about!

Last edited by BigJ : 04-20-2008 at 10:52 PM.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:02 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

If there are no top tier teams, then who do we look up to for inspiration?


I see no reason why FIRST should limit the number of regionals a team attends; if that team can afford it and their students and mentors can cope with the missed school/work respectively, then more power to them.

When one sees an excellent robot or team, why not take note of what they are doing right and apply it to your own team? "Well-resourced" teams with "deep pockets" don't just spring up, they are usually the result of a lot of hard work. And many of these teams are also quite large (upwards of 50-100 students), thus inspiring more students per season.

And yes, I do know what it feels like to be on a team with little resources. Over the course of two seasons from 2002 to 2004, the annual budget for my high school team (Team 228) dropped by over $30,000, our founding coach retired from teaching and mentoring the team, and our team size dropped from 40 to 15 students. The 2005 and 2006 seasons were tight, but we were determined to help being ourselves back to our previous levels of success, and worked constantly to help find new sponsors, teachers, mentors, and students.

To this day, we are still working hard, but we have also brought the team size back up to around 20-25 students, still working on recovering our pre-2002 sponsorship levels, recruiting several new engineers to our team (one of which was a student on our team back in 1999), professionalizing many aspects of our team, starting summer camps with interactive labs to teach our team members even more, and building the foundation for our team to incorporate as our own 501(c)3.

All of these changes are being made on the aspirations that one day we will again be able to compete at multiple regionals again, with the option of also competing at the Championships. (For the past few years, we've only competed at the CT Regional and the Championships). If all of a sudden FIRST came out and declared that we could only attend one regional, a good majority of the impetus for improving our team every year would dissolve.


FIRST should not dictate how teams run themselves; they should provide resources and incentives to teams to put their nose to the grindstone and continue working to help bring success to their team.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:04 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

I somewhat agree with placing the suggested restriction on teams.

It's not really inspiring when a team looses a chance in nationals to a team that has three or more chances to get to nationals.

I don't like the idea that to get to nationals, a team has to preform better than every single big name team that has enough money to attend more than one regional. The national competitions are supposed to determine which team preformed the best that year, not the regionals.

Quote:
If there are no top tier teams, then who do we look up to for inspiration?
I'm not sure how the number of top tier teams is related to the number of regionals teams can enter.
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Last edited by Mr. Freeman : 04-20-2008 at 11:14 PM.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:09 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skippy178 View Post

the Rookie awards were for teams 2352 and 2599, who are 1200+ team numbers AFTER those in the Winners alliance. How many years will it be before we see those teams being part of the winning alliances ?

J
i would like to point out that 254 has won like 20 regionals in their history and has never won nationals. But there picked every year because they have established themselves. Teams in the 2000's need to prove that their robot isn't going to brake and leave the alliance with a scoring robot. The first time you team qualifies for nationals they aren't very likely to win because they haven't prove themselves at the national level. Three years ago their was only one team over 1000 in the Finals? this year there was 1114, 1124, 1024, and some others which I forget (sorry).

The point is that teams in the 2000's have to prove themselves by beating these top teams before they are going to be selected. They need to do this first a the regional level and then at nationals. Note 1114 did this. They have won multiple regionals the past few year. Teams need to earn there spot by beating the best teams, so I don't see the point in preventing the best teams from competing, and thus allowing other teams the chance to prove their worth.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:17 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

I don't think attending more than one regional is just about having a better chance at winning a regional, going to Atlanta or winning awards. FIRST shouldn't just be about winning.

There are two reason to attend more regionals:

1. Meet, teach and inspire more teams. Like mentioned above, the teams that have enough funds to attend more than one regional, have to be doing something right. These teams usually have alot of experience that they can teach other teams. By going to more than one regional, these teams have more opportunity to teach and inspire other teams, including rookies. I know in my rookie year at Wisconsin, I know I was inspired and learned from teams like 70, 494, 111, 1625, who were all making Wisconsin thier second regional. Although all of these teams reached the finals and I'm sure won their fair share of awards, they were also fantastic role models for the plethora of younger and rookie teams in Wisconsin that year.

2. Regionals are fun and should celebrate all the work that teams do. Teams put in a ton of work each year and the regionals is where they can enjoy all the work they put in. The teams that attend more than one regional, usually are the teams that put in the most work, so it makes sense that they should be allowed to enjoy and celebrate the work that they put in.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:20 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJ View Post
The teams that have all this money to go places to win awards probably take initiative to get more sponsors for that money, and should be seen as examples on working to get more sponsors! Ask somebody from their teams. This is FIRST. I'm sure anyone would give pointers or forward you to someone who will.

Also, the judges don't give out awards for money. They give out awards for hard work and effort. Every team should and can put up the effort to make the judge's job that much harder. That's what FIRST is about!
*my entrance into this hot topic*

In our rookie year, we attended two regionals, and the championships. We won the Rookie All-star award and the Website Design award. We had 4 major corporate sponsors, and a world-class robot, completely designed and built by students with guidance from our fine mentors, teachers, and parents. Our team's image, logo, and mission was clearly displayed and well known everywhere we went. We partnered with a deaf school to reach across disability lines to spread the message of FIRST to everyone.

How did we do it?

We had a set of awesome parents, and awesome teachers, who were determined to have an awesome robotics team. With careful planning, we were able to find the corporate sponsors we needed to do everything that we did. We found the mentors that we needed to help with the design process of our robot. We spent the time planning and preparing to work with students from the deaf school. We have some VERY determined individuals on our team that made all of this possible.

Their work would be in vein, and would be partially nullified if we were not allowed to compete in multiple regionals.


Imagine the U.S. only being allowed to compete in ONE track event at the Olympics, because it would be unfair to have multiple shots at a track medal.

-Jacob, Team 1991
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:21 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Sorry for being blunt, but life isn't fair and most teams dont just inherit an unfair advantage. They work for it.
I think as a Hawaii participant even from one of the most remote places on our island, we've had to overcome a lot of hurdles and challenges just to get where we are, 9 years and counting. Its been a roller coaster ride.
The fact that so many "excellent" teams came to our regional, winning many of the awards, didnt outweigh the positives of what they brought to our 21 rookie teams this year. The proof is when these "mainland" teams had nothing but nice things to say and shared whatever questions and information that the new "rookies" wanted to know.

Embrace the challenge, dont shoot it down.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:26 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by waialua359 View Post
Sorry for being blunt, but life isn't fair and most teams dont just inherit an unfair advantage. They work for it.
I think as a Hawaii participant even from one of the most remote places on our island, we've had to overcome a lot of hurdles and challenges just to get where we are, 9 years and counting. Its been a roller coaster ride.
The fact that so many "excellent" teams came to our regional, winning many of the awards, didnt outweigh the positives of what they brought to our 21 rookie teams this year. The proof is when these "mainland" teams had nothing but nice things to say and shared whatever questions and information that the new "rookies" wanted to know.

Embrace the challenge, dont shoot it down.
Kudos, I was just going to point out your team to answer this one
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Unread 04-20-2008, 11:50 PM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

It seems to me that you have a classic issue of "the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer" -- and if that is a FIRST precept, then I must excuse myself and find another program to inspire students, because this one is clearly not for me.

I think the problem is not that the "Best Teams" excel, it is that in doing so, they often prevent "Pretty Good Teams" from excelling too. The answer is clearly NOT to keep the Best Teams from /going/ to additional regionals, because certainly they set an example of something to strive for, etc.

But the issue of how awards and Atlanta invitations are handled is a bit problematic, I think.

As it stands, I believe when a team wins a regional and already has a slot in Atlanta, their Championship slot is opened up to whoever happens to register for it first. This seems somewhat unfair to, for example, the alliance that just barely lost the last round of the finals at that regional. It would seem to make more sense if they awarded "deferred" slots (for lack of a better term) in some sort of logical order, rather than just randomly. After all, there are already open slots available for first-come-first-serve registration.

For awards, if one of the Best Teams does a lot of Award X kind of work, for example, and wins that award at three different regionals, it again seems unfair to the runner-up Pretty Good Teams also striving for Award X. Maybe some clause should be included that once you win an award at a regional, you forfeit that award at any other regionals? Something like that?

Some might say that this now seems unfair to the Best Teams. Why shouldn't they get Award X at every regional if they deserve it more than the Pretty Good Teams? After all, they're the Best at X. My answer to that is that I personally believe that you should share the opportunities, and that you should strive (and strive hard) to beat your opponents, but not to crush and humiliate them -- that is how you can be "professional" and win, but still be a "gracious" winner.

There is no need to do a three-peat at regionals to prove you're the best at X -- that's precisely what the Championship is for, after all.

Cheers...
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Unread 04-21-2008, 12:29 AM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsm View Post
It seems to me that you have a classic issue of "the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer" -- and if that is a FIRST precept, then I must excuse myself and find another program to inspire students, because this one is clearly not for me.
The love of competition is human nature. If I can find a way to come up with the funding and give the kids on my team one more chance to compete, I will do everything in my power to make that happen.

I've been on teams in the past where the travel is the only time the students have been on a plane, the only time they've been out of state or country. It becomes an experience for them, especially if they would otherwise be unable to afford the trip.

Because of our travels, our kids have made friends with teams all over the US and Canada. They ate meals at competition with these kids and we joined forces with other teams to scout our division at Championship. We like being able to travel and compete with our 'friend teams' and enjoy playing against the 'big dogs' of FIRST. Even if we play and lose every match against them, it gives us a reason to try harder next year and gives us a goal to work towards.

I've been on a team so poor that I donated a chunk of my tuition money to them. And yet, even when we put our robot back in the crate and went home, the conversation in the car always was, "Man, did you SEE that robot? Now THEY were awesome!" And even though our year was over, the competition set a bar for us to aspire to reach.

You can be a one-regional team and have an inspiring experience in this program. Limiting those teams who are better off than we are doesn't make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. Who are we to lower the bar?
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Unread 04-21-2008, 12:32 AM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Personally this topic is a very important one to me. Going to 3 regional competitions is a feat in itself. If you can build a robot that can last 3 regionals and championship be my guest. Good luck just accomplishing that task. Then go and win three events it's nearly impossible teams that go to 3 regionals and champs or 3 and 4 events are what is supposed to draw the rookies in. I stay in FIRST because I am continually inspired to better myself and my team as a whole. Just that fact alone is worth it for me. The teams that inspire have worked hard and are well organized so that they can do such things as 4 FRC events. 1114 for example just doesn't build great robots neither does 67 or 217. These teams also have exceptional websites, community outreach and chairmans teams. They also have gone out and gotten the sponsorships and raised money to do all this traveling. All I am saying is that being a topflight FRC veteran team year in and year out takes a lot more then deep pockets and you should respect the work that these teams do. The more rookies that see the great veteran teams the better, they will be able to learn from the best and find out what works and what doesn't. So that they too one day can become a great FIRST team with there own ideas,programs and budgets.

My two cents,
Drew

* This post is my own thoughts and does not reflect the views of team 1251.
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Last edited by techtiger1 : 04-21-2008 at 12:35 AM. Reason: worded wrong
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Unread 04-21-2008, 12:40 AM
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Re: Is competing at multiple regionals REALLY fair ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skippy178 View Post
My main point is that a team competing in multiple regionals shouldn't be able to take home awards everywhere they go just because they have the $$$ to do so, and at the expense of the smaller-budget teams. Once they go to their first regional competition, it should become "practice only" (non-qualifying) at other events, and that should include being ineligible for the off-field awards too.
I don't think that this would be fair. Let's say that you're on a team that's above average, but still not "top-tier" yet. You can afford to go to two regionals. At your first regional, the field is stacked full of top-tier robots who win all the awards. You still have a pretty cool robot, just not as cool as all the other robots. Let's say your second regional was filled with teams that had robots "not as cool" as yours. If your team was ineligible to win any awards that it COULD win, it is unfair to all the participants. There's no real "fair" way that awards can be limited. The hard work that a team puts into their robot should be recognized. How and where do you draw the line to say this team has been recognized enough? You can win different awards at different regionals, not necessarily winning the same award at every regional, with perhaps the exception being the Website Award.

For my team, we won the Rockwell Automation award for our steering system at SVR. When we got to Hawaii, another team had a "better" or more impressive control system. However, we were rewarded for all the little things (DBS steering system, vacuum, driver/operator LED hats, etc.) we had on our robot with the Judges' Award. I'm glad we were able to win both awards because just about every aspect of our team was recognized through both awards.

Honestly, I don't think it is fair for a team that is "not as deserving" to win an award over a team that has been deemed ineligible just because it was their second regional.

P.S. I was in Atlanta for a day visiting Georgia Tech and decided to drop by the Georgia Dome for about an hour. One of the first things I did when I went into the pits was find the 1114 machine and see it in person. I wouldn't have had the chacne to be so impressed with their engineering feats if they had only attended one regional. With each regional, they gained more and more publicity, demonstrating that they truly are a top team.
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