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View Full Version : FIRST 101!!! [2/12/07]


Andy Grady
02-12-2007, 09:41 PM
Welcome back class!

Only one week left to go, and isn't it tradition that a massive snow storm sweeps the nation during crunch time? If you are in the northeast, be prepared for a snowday on wednesday or thursday...and you know what that means? Thats right! More time to work on the robot! You know you are gonna trudge through the snow to get to your robot for a few of those needed extra hours. Should be alot of fun!

Anyhow, thats not what the 101 is about today, lets get to the lesson.

FIRST 101 [2/12/07]
Top 5 events that made FIRST what it is today.

Ok, so we all know the story of how Dean, Woodie, and company got this all started. Obviously, FIRST wouldn't even exsist if it wasn't for them, so lets just say thats a given. Also, you could very easily name dozens of people who have worked at FIRST or volunteered for FIRST, or whatever during its growth. Lets call that a given as well. Think about this though...have you ever wondered really how FIRST got so big? How it survives? Many of the answers are a little deeper than the obvious. Lets take a look at the top 5 events that shaped FIRST.

#5 - Rumble at the Rock
Can you imagine if you packed up your robot and you were done for the year in the middle of april? Before 1996, FIRST was NOT a year round event. WFA winner Mike Bastoni and his team at Plymouth North High school felt that one season wasn't enough! When it all started, you put 6 weeks into building these things that consume your life such a large manner, just to put them into storage after two competitions. Then on one July morning in the middle of a mall in the midst of a hurricane, Rumble at the Rock was born. What a sight it was. Teams battling it out with a massive wooden pillar in the middle of the field. Great memories from that. More importantly...it started the ball rolling. Next came River Rage, PARC, IRI, Mayhem, Brunswick Eruption...etc.. Now thanks to the pioneers of the FIRST offseason, PNTA...we can all enjoy FIRST all year round.

#4 - The Regulars
Some would say that the longevity of FIRST was highly influenced by the very boards you are reading this post on. While Chief Delphi and its message board are the lifeline of communication between teams, it took people to come together and make this thing grow. Somewhere in the archives of this site you will find a picture. This picture is from back in the day at the very FIRST Chief Delphi web hug. These people depicted are those who built the FIRST community, whether they realize it or not. I grew up being exposed to the thoughts and teachings of people like Andy Baker, Joe Johnson, Mike Martus, Mike Bastoni, Liz Calef, Ken Patton, Raul Olivera, etc.... these people (many of them WFA winners) were among that band of original community members. They spread the word, and here we are today. Every movement needs someone to take a chance on it. Just so happened that movement started right here on this board.

#3 - The Addition of Music and Play by Play
What makes FIRST competitions so addictive? The environment. There was a time where the only noise you would hear in a FIRST arena was the sound of whirring robots, cheering crowds, and the occasional school band. At some point, I believe it was 1995, FIRST introduced play by play at the National Championship tournament. This brought an element of excitement to the game that had never before been reached. In 1997 FIRST started playing music during matches. High energy music which set the mood and turned the atmosphere from a science fair to a celebration. This paved the way for the production that encompases competitions of today.

#2 - The Birth of Brandon Martus
Speaking of the FIRST community, what about the board itself. One could argue that if the CD board wasn't invented, the community would have grown somewhere else, on someone elses board. Fact of the matter is, it didn't for a very good reason. If it wasn't for the hard work and never ending care for this board by Brandon Martus, who knows where the community would be today, or if FIRST would even have grown to be so large. These boards are the lifeline of FIRST. They are the channel for communication of thousands of minds across the country. If anyone has a chance of making a difference in this world...its right here. What if there was no right here? Fortunately, thats not something we have to worry about due to Brandon's hard work. Whats amazing, before he even stepped into a FIRST arena for the FIRST time, Brandon may have been the most important figure to the history of this program outside of Dean and Woodie. Think about it.

#1 - The Invent of Alliances
By far, the most important event in the history of FIRST took place in 1999 when FIRST revealed the game "Double Trouble". No longer were teams pitted solely against one another. Now teams were forced to work with each other, to make friends, to be a team. With this, new friendships, new rivalries, a new age was born. The strategy involved in playing the game, in doing the draft, scouting, politics, selling your robot, everything changed from that moment on. And thats just in the gameplay side. Personally, I can think of dozens of friends that I wouldn't have had alliances never been invented. I know I am not alone on that. Can you imagine a FIRST without alliances? I dont want to.

Now you know what shaped our universe. Some people may agree, some people may disagree, but in the end you cannot deny that these events had some sort of major impact on FIRST. In the ever changing world of FIRST, you never know what the next event is that could ignite a new revolution.

Good luck in crunch time...

Class dimissed

Professor Grady

Joe Ross
02-12-2007, 09:59 PM
#1 - The Invent of Alliances
By far, the most important event in the history of FIRST took place in 1999 when FIRST revealed the game "Double Trouble". No longer were teams pitted solely against one another. Now teams were forced to work with each other, to make friends, to be a team. With this, new friendships, new rivalries, a new age was born. The strategy involved in playing the game, in doing the draft, scouting, politics, selling your robot, everything changed from that moment on. And thats just in the gameplay side. Personally, I can think of dozens of friends that I wouldn't have had alliances never been invented. I know I am not alone on that. Can you imagine a FIRST without alliances? I dont want to.

The quoted text and the following post should be required reading for anyone who complains about a FIRST game without giving it a chance: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=65886&postcount=42

Posted by Andy Grady, Coach on team #42, P.A.R.T.S, from Alvirne High School and Daniel Webster College.

Posted on 4/27/99 8:54 AM MST


In Reply to: alliances posted by Austin Martus on 4/26/99 7:00 PM MST:



I feel that FIRST should probably get rid of the alliance thing all together. Who you are paired up with can decide your fate no matter how good or bad you are. For instance, my team was sitting in the top 16 all weekend we were holding on to 7th when we came to our last match. Our alliance partner couldn't provide their robot, which made it two on one, we came out of that round with only 9 points and we were knocked out of the top 16. Now it is part of the game, but if we were gonna go down I would have liked to have gone down with a partner so that I wouldn't have to look back with a 'what if'. But hey, those are the breaks.
Congrats to all,
Andy Grady

Maybe Professor Grady isn't as rebellious as he was in his early years...

Andy Grady
02-12-2007, 10:13 PM
This is why you are an A+ student Mr. Ross!

As you can imagine, I have changed alot over my years. Turns out all that time mentoring has changed my outlook of FIRST and in many cases, life in general. I no longer see FIRST for the game, I see it for the big picture.

OK...maybe a little for the game too. ;)

JaneYoung
02-12-2007, 11:06 PM
I always did love school - such a store of history and of putting things in order and perspective.
Thank you, Professor.

Jane