View Full Version : Second test launch of newsletter!

Ken Leung
10-19-2001, 02:45 AM
Hello everyone. The following is the second test launch of a newsletter I will be doing this season. For those of you who missed the first one, or aren't clear about what this is, here is a link to the first letter and a little introduction about it.

link to first newsletter (

I just want to point out, this letter's only intentions are to provide information about FIRST robotics competition and serve as a mean of communication between participants. you e-mail address will not be used in any other ways... So, if there's anyone you know who might be interested in receiving this letter, feel free to forward it to them. A subscription system will be worked out in the future, so just drop me an e-mail if you want to start receiving this letter.

This letter is done differently because of multiple topics this time. I took a more commenting-approach instead of simply laying out facts and links, and I hope to hear what you think about this way... This letter is still in development, so please forgive me if I did anything horribly wrong. Any comments and suggestions are welcome as always.

One more thing, this newsletter is in need of a clever/catchy title to better attract people's attention... So please go to the newsletter title contest with this link: Newsletter title contest! ( )
and show us what you got! ;)

Ken Leung
10-19-2001, 03:15 AM
It’s been a few weeks after registration started, and a lot have happened since then. Mainly, the “Championship event” qualification has been discussed inside out at least a thousand times, and people are shifting their attention to the rest of 2002 events. Issue about #of teams registered is a big one these days… As well as talks of different regionals and the 2002 kick offs.

Well, without further delay, here is the second test launch of a new Chief Delphi forum newsletter. This is a special edition covering the intense discussion about the newly announced 2002 competition events (I am having trouble figuring out a great title for this newsletter, please go to this link- and take a look at the “Newsletter title contest”)

-Ken Leung
1999-2001: Team 192 GRT
2001-2002: 100, 192, 258, 481, 814...
(Go to this page if you want to know what this letter is all about)


i) Last comments of Championship event qualification.
ii) 2002 events attendance
iii) Regional competitions
iv) Kick off
v) Others

|I. Last comments of Championship event qualification |

The issue about qualification has been covered extensively from the pervious newsletter. That issue generated a lot of new threads on the CD forum, and for a while it seems to be the only thing people talk about. After the intense discussions, most people seems to be settled with final though:

The new process is not completely fair to all teams, especially to disadvantaged teams with the lack of funding and experience. Let’s move on and try harder this year to get into the Championship event, we are not going to give up! And let’s help FIRST devise a better process next year…

Not everyone is happy with this new rule…
It is understandable since a lot of seniors won’t get to attend Championship event as a competitor. And, even when their teams qualify for the event through 2002 regionals, there are still financial difficulties with the last minute booking… A result from FIRST’s “the least of the possible evils” solution, which, a lot of people believe, is not idealistic but a necessary course of action. A point brought up was that this process is really similar to sports teams qualifying at the last minute for regionals or nationals, and the school and community rally behind those teams to raise the funds for them to compete. Hopefully this will happen to FIRST teams also…

Along the line of being unfair to disadvantaged teams…
Someone suggested: “What about teams being treated unfairly when they are winning regionals and awards?” What they are talking about is that teams might feel pressure when their success prohibit others from attending Nats through qualifying points, and those students shouldn’t have to face that kind of pressure at all, or feel the need to perform less than their best to let other teams qualify... Those are valid issues to be address, but we should also trust that teams will be acting with gracious professionalism at all time. Every participant deserves to do their best in this competition, and people should NOT be taking unfair advantaged out of this system…

A few interesting questions were raised in the middle of all these discussion…
For instance, “Which of the qualification rules are unfair?”, “What are the values of going to National?”, “What is the future of FIRST events?”, or “How will this process affect the growth of FIRST?”… These are not simple questions. We have to think about different things… Why are we doing this competition…? What is this competition about? Winning? Learning? Why is National so important to the students? Are the values in National so unique that it can’t be found in regionals? Is National just a big show, and If it is or isn’t only a big show, is it really worth that much effort to ensure every teams’ attendance? Will there be more teams joining when National is limited? How do start up teams look at limitation? Are veteran teams taking up too much regional slots of rookie by going to too much regionals? Should FIRST focus more into National event of regional events? Etc. You will be surprised how people answer them with many different voices.

Maybe we can think of this year as an adjustment year, maybe not. But either way, go through 2002’s competition with our best effort as always, and look at these questions again afterward, figure out what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s most important to us…

Threads related to this issue:

“I think they (FIRST) have done a great job with a difficult proposal.”
“based on what their goals were when they developed the system of qualifying, they did the best they could, for these reasons…”
“Yes, it isn't perfect... So guys lets move on… We know what we have to do for the season, we'll do it...”:
One way to think about it.-

“one of the goals of FIRST, within the schools, was to get the same level of recognition for these "academic athletes" that the sports teams recieved.”
A New Thought...-

Comments from "FRCOps " of FIRST

“It's going to be a challenging and rewarding learning experience no matter what happens.”
Call me an optimist...-

“I think that having to qualify for nationals will light a fire in the teams that deserve to be at nationals and they will rise to the top.“
Disadvantaged Teams-

“we are out for the moment but not giving up.”
Teams missing on the Nats list...-

“We will not sandbag. We are going into this season with the will to win, just as we ever have.”

“I have heard that there are several teams trying to
register multiple times to”
Registration - Professionalism-

“As far as getting a team to nationals on three weeks notice, it's possible to do it as a team.”
Is the registration this year fair-

Different views about going to national competition:
“Teams go to Florida because its the big show.”
“I've been expressing my feelings that Nats are not as fun as regionals.”
“That is what FIRST is about- it's not about winning. It's about fun, learning, and learning to love technology. You don't need Disney world to do that..”
“Disney is NOT the prize… The prize is competing against ALL the other teams in the world REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT IS.”
2002 Season Thoughts..-
What's the point of going to Nationals?-

Ken Leung
10-19-2001, 03:25 AM
|II. 2002 events attendance |

As most of you know, all the 2002 events are now filled up, and a decent amount of teams on waiting list. Take a look at the attendance info in FIRST’s web page: http://www.usfirst.org/frc/public/FMPro

There are still two months left before registration ends, and there are no space left. This means teams failing to register earlier will be placed on waiting list. Take a look at some stats of teams registered for events as of 10/8, which is close to updated:

Number of teams currently registered: 423
of those, ...
Number of rookies (team # > 719): 58
Number of odd (numerically) teams: 209
Number of even teams: 214

Avg # of events per team: 1.93
Avg # of events per odd team: 1.82
Avg # of events per even team: 2.03
# Teams attending exactly 1 event: 149
# Teams attending exactly 2 events: 174
# Teams attending exactly 3 events: 84
# Teams attending exactly 4 events: 14
# Teams attending exactly 5 events: 1
# Teams attending exactly 6 events: 1

(thanks to Patrickrd of 639)

Clearly, there is a bigger demand for regionals after Nats is limited…
So much demand that not even 17 regionals is enough. This is a problem for start up teams who won’t register until deadline. If there’s not enough room for veteran teams already, where else can new teams compete at? Consider the impact this have on FIRST growth rate this year…

Two oblivious questions are still unanswered:
Are there reserved slots in regionals (the capacities might be “suggest” ones, since some of the regional had more slots last year,)? And, will FIRST be limiting the number of regional teams can attend?

These two questions should be answered when registration ends, or whenever FIRST makes any future announcements… We will keep you updated in the future.

Threads related to this issue:

“I believe that there is a difference between "open" capacity as listed on the FIRST site and Total capacity.”
Some registration numbers-

Interesting stats (back at 10/03)-

“he (coordinator for the Nevada teams) is just beginning to organize his 10 Nevada teams, let alone register... where do they play?”
“Many people, including myself, believe that FIRST is spots in reserve for rookies and other late registrants. If this is not the case, FIRST will actually see a decrease in the total number of teams this year.”
“I am not sure if FIRST realized how much demand for regionals they were generating when they limited the Championship Event.”
“I know for a fact that the LI Regional is holding spots.”
“I have been told that the LA regional has room for 60 teams.”
2 months left & 97% Full!… the need for more regional?-
One Slot Left...-

Do you think it is fair to hold slots for the rookie teams

Limit the number of regionals teams can attend to help rookies attend at least one?

What has your school said about traveling?

|III. Regional competitions |

There are 747 slots for 17 regional competitions this year… And all of them are filled up. Dates and location of regionals can be found here: http://www.usfirst.org/2002comp/FRCEvents.html
There are 4 new regional this year: Toronto, Cleveland, St Louis, and Seattle. One of the new regionals will be held at Toronto, Ontario, Canada during the weekend of April 4th to 6th. Visit their website created by team 188 at http://www.team188.com/cr/

The regionals will be taking up 5 weeks during March and April, and three weeks until Championship event. As mentioned above, regionals are filled, which is because more teams this year are registered for multiple regionals, due to two reasons: 1. enlarge their chance to obtain more qual. points, or 2. Visit more regionals instead of attending National. It is still unclear if the capacities are final or not, but FIRST have been adding more slots these few weeks.

Non-pre qualified teams going to St. Louis, New England, Southern California, West Michigan, and the Canadian regionals will be the ones facing problems with booking tickets and hotel for National with only three weeks in advance… We still don’t know if there’s any way to help those teams with this problem, so any suggestions are welcome. (Maybe some sort of advance group bookings set aside for last-minute qualified teams…?)

We will keep you updated on details and analysis of regional attendance when the list is final…

Threads related to this issue:

“So.... where is everyone going?”
Regionals -- where are teams going?-

“how many teams are going there (Canadian regional) and what teams??”
The first Canadian Regional-

“date originally posted for the St. Louis Regional has changed to 4/4/02 to 4/06/22… also noticed the date for the Pacific Northwest Regional may change.”
“Is it me or are the regionals getting smaller and smaller every year?”
“there was a specific place for the Pacific NW Regional, but now it's TBD. This leads me to believe that for some reason the location FIRST wanted to use backed out of hosting the Regional.”
Regional Date Changes!!!!-
Regional Sizes-

Ken Leung
10-19-2001, 03:29 AM
|IV. Kick off |

Unlike last year, the New Hampshire kick off will take place at Verizon Wireless Arena, and there will also be remote kick offs across the country this year in the following city: Houston- TX, Los Angeles- CA, Manchester- NH, New York City- NY, Novi- MI, Toronto- ON, Richmond- VA, San Jose- CA (others may be added).

The NH kick off should have the same format as last year: workshops on Thursday and Friday, reception at Dean’s mansion Friday night, revelation of the 2002 game on Saturday morning, follow by handing out kit of parts…
Remote kick off’s, however, will not have the actual field nor Dean’s mansion… There should be a live broadcast of the NH kickoff, as well as kits of parts and 2002 manual(?).

A lot of teams are debating between sending team rep. to NH kickoff or remote ones… Well, here are reasons why teams would want to send team rep. to either one of them:

New Hampshire kickoff:

Look at the playing field in front of you, and move around objects to get a feel of how they react.
Reception at Dean’s house
Meet with other teams’ representatives, and share the experience as a team coach/leader. Experience a really close sense of FIRST community.
Visit FIRST’s place and look at how FIRST is run by hands full of people ;)
Attend workshops before Saturday

Remote kickoff (depend on location):

Less traveling expense
Take along the students
Receive kit of parts locally
Watch broadcast of kick off together with your team

Teams should also consider the possibility of sending two team reps to New Hampshire, and the rest of the team to local kick off.

Also, Dr. Joe of Chief Delphi (#47) said his team might be doing the usual seminars at kick off again (motors, programming, & rookie camp), and he have a few questions for folks out there. Take a look at his questions with this link: if I build it will you come…-

Details of kickoff (NH and remote) should be announced shortly… Pay attention to those details, FIRST might be shipping field objects to the remote kickoff’s ;) We will keep you updated.

Threads related to this issue:

“At remote kick offs, what will happen is that they will have a NASA feed on a big screen. There will be kits there as well.”
Who's going to kickoff and where?-
Kickoff Location-

|VI. Others |

(phew… he is finally done –Editor)

There’s an interesting discussion about collaboration on Scouting database between teams at this link:

Andy Grady’s Scratch award!

For New England teams, are you interested in Quincy Pre-shipping practice match?

Are you interested in trading T-shirts? (I won’t mind having a Chief Delphi shirt ;) -Editor)

WELL! Thank you for your time spend reading this letter. Any comments and suggestions are welcome… Send E-mail to ken_leung@hotmail.com if you have anything on your mind. ;-)

Good luck, and have fun with the 2002 competition!