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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 08-19-2010, 11:25 PM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
If somebody actually did cheat, in some way, then the appropriate format is not to say something publicly. You go to the team and inform them. Maybe you're missing something, or maybe they're missing something and don't know it. Then, if they don't correct it, you talk to the Lead Inspector or the Regional Director, as appropriate. Trust them to take the appropriate action.
I feel the same way. If a team is going to relish in the fact that they are bending rules and are completely aware of such things then it is completely appropriate to inform said team of your dislikes. But most of the time it is just a rumor that spreads because a few people are angry that they are losing or that someone else is winning. And that rumor ends up being a scapegoat for teams who feel necessary to use it and then suddenly it becomes "fact" and is used against certain teams in an unfriendly manner...
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Unread 08-20-2010, 12:02 AM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

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Originally Posted by fuzzwaz View Post
FIRST is your experience and you cannot let anyone else hinder what you can achieve.
This sums up my thoughts on the topic perfectly.

I have been involved with enough organizations to know that the problems presented here are by no means limited to FIRST. I have seen people on one team or club get all worked up about what their competitors are doing, and it can really tear some people up. Then something happens with the competitor (they win, they fold, whatever) and rumors start going around. The situation gets just plain ugly.

As others have said, calling them out publicly is never a good idea either. Partially because it fuels rumors that are largely untrue.

Make your FIRST season your first season. Don't spend time worrying about what other teams are doing. Don't ask yourself if everyone else is playing by the rules. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter what the other teams are doing; what you are doing is what is truly important.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 02:08 AM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

in my 2 years of first, i have yet to see a robot that anyone though was made by mentors win. my first year a robot that was made from wood by students who obviously made it shutout every team and completely dominated everyone, including robots that were made by teams with not only a much larger budget, but much more outside help. creativity and a good game strategy as well as simple reliability usually make winning robots, not money and mentors or shop capabilities.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 07:37 AM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

After spending countless hours working on your robot/strategy/presentations and going to an event and coming home empty handed, its much easier to say "So and so won because they have more money" or "So and so won because they have more mentors" etc. etc.

The point is most of the time these are snap judgments based on no factual evidence besides you being upset your team did not "win".

The few really motivated students out there will see another team win that may have more money or mentors or whatever it may be and say "Hey, why can't we have that?". That student will then be motivated to gain better financial backing, mentor support, community resources etc.

Quite honestly, I don't really listen to anything someone says about another team (good or bad), unless I know for a fact that particular person has worked first hand with the said team (which is hardly ever). Its very easy to make blanket statements from afar, but after being in FIRST for 10 years, I know how pointless that is because in all honesty it accomplishes nothing but giving yourself an excuse for shortcomings.

-Brando
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Unread 08-20-2010, 02:52 PM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

I personally think that there are two parts of GP. There is the trust and the action.

GP to me says a lot about the "honor system". Teams trusting teams. We have all gone through similar experiences, and therefore we know what its like. I can honestly say that I don't think that there is a single FRC team where 100% (and I mean a full 100%) of the robot is done by students. Whether it be a small part, or a whole design concept, there must be some involvement of mentors, otherwise, what are they good for? And I think a lot of us can accept that. Its those people that don't accept that, that start these rumors, and begin to judge. I also think that many teams do not realize the struggles of other teams. Sure a team may have better funding, but is their community involved? Do they have outside help from families and friends? I'm not saying that some teams have it easier, but teams are just like people, we all have our problems. However, on the same term, some teams don't realize how easy that they might have it. Some teams are at risk of getting shut down by their schools, some teams barley have enough money to participate, some teams barley have enough mentors.

The second part of GP to me is that actions performed by students and mentors. I have commonly joked about "those teams". You all know "those teams" with plenty of funding, plenty of mentors, and plenty of help. And good for them! Thats great! The problem come when they begin to think that they are better because of it. Teams that will dominate on the field are still teams. Just because you may be seeded higher, does not give you the right to boss other teams around, we are all peers. It also becomes a problem when mentors act too much like bosses. This is where problems start. A respectable well oiled team that is helpful, nice, and not afraid to lose, is great. However a rude well oiled team (and they're aren't many) that care more about winning than anything else is a problem.

This past year my team has gone through a lot. We were last place in GSR 2009, but regional winners in 2010. There was no difference in funding, just one new mentor (after one left that is) and a couple new students. What really drove us was not our achievements, but our failures. We didn't do well because we had more money, we did well because we wanted it more, and put more into. Sure we may have had to work a little harder than other teams, but its always worth a shot. There is nothing that can stop a well inspired and driven team.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 09:36 PM
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

I have read several threads over the various seasons that touch on how much adults/mentors should or should not do for the success of an FRC team. During some seasons, I have also reviewed the game manuals and other materials, including the e-mail updates and Q&As. I have also attended a regional in two different seasons, even though I have never yet been part of an FRC team. (I have also been to Atlanta three times with teams in other programs.)

From the threads I have read in the past (but not necessarily from the official FRC materials) I had thought that an all-mentor built or all-mentor designed machine was obviously a bad thing, not in keeping with the intent of FRC.

Then (in the 2007-8 season) I heard Dean Kaman speak about FRC and the other FIRST programs to a roomfull of scientists and engineers.

Dean analogized the different FIRST programs to different leagues in a sport--from little leagues to pros--with FRC being the top professional league where students are exposed to real-world professional level engineering. The picture Dean painted of FRC was of professional engineers teaching students what they do by exposing them to it--almost like apprenticeships or internships within the structure of the FRC contest--not by teaching the students some basics, or whatever they can handle, and then mostly getting out of the way while offereing some guidance and counsel and a little fabrication help here and there. The overall picture was very different from the impression I had picked up from just reading in the forum.

I know there may be many different yet acceptable ways to run an FRC team, and some teams may rely on more management and direction by students than other teams. (And I realize the current standard at FIRST may even be different from Dean's vision). But from Dean's talk, a mentor-lead team, producing a mentor-designed machine, where students are learning from every step, seems well within (if not maybe even closest to) Dean's vision, at least as he expressed it on that one occasion.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 11:36 PM
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JaneYoung JaneYoung is offline
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Re: Gracious Professionalism?

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Originally Posted by Joachim View Post
But from Dean's talk, a mentor-lead team, producing a mentor-designed machine, where students are learning from every step, seems well within (if not maybe even closest to) Dean's vision, at least as he expressed it on that one occasion.
That's a pretty consistent message.

Thing is - it isn't always easy to hear what you don't want to hear. In an ideal world, that is the message. In reality, it can't always work or be applied. Teams adjust to their circumstances or their leaders' ideas of how to run a team. It doesn't take too long before teams have moved beyond the perimeters of Dean's vision and into their own. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing but it doesn't hurt to pay attention to Dean's speeches and learn from them. The message is consistent and there is wisdom and value in it.

Peter Pan was a great leader. He was fun, adventurous, exciting, and clever. He was also uneducated, undisciplined, and basically, frozen in time. He was the leader of the Lost Boys. Peter Pan was a leader but he was not a mentor and could not move the boys forward towards their futures in a helpful way - so they were all stuck - lost. It is a story but it is something to think about when thinking about the impact of adult mentors who have the capability of helping to move the students forward into their futures.

Jane
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Last edited by JaneYoung : 08-20-2010 at 11:46 PM.
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