View Full Version : I admit it, I was wrong.

06-23-2002, 08:59 PM
Posted by Joe Johnson, Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 3/6/99 6:10 PM MST

As one of the more vocal skeptics of the new FIRST format, I feel that it is important that I be equally vocal in my praise when none of the nightmare scenarios that I dreamt up materialized and more than that it worked out great.

I have to give it to FIRST, from what I saw at the Motorola Regional and from what I have heard of the others, the format that FIRST has developed really works.

Perhaps the best part of the format is the larger number of qualifying matches that they have had (10 rounds in Chicago, more in CA and FL). This makes a day of hell for teams with robots that need repairs (like Chief Delphi 4 in Chicago!), but it goes a LONG way to averaging out the luck of the draw factor. It also makes for a lot of good times for teams. Even the lowliest team at Chicago had 10 matches, this is more than all but a very very few teams played last year at a typical regional tournament. This is really a terrific improvement. With only 4 or 5 seeding rounds, it seemed like your entire season hung on the results of every match. 10 Matches and the new qualifying method gives everyone the incentive to go out there and try their best, but it doesn't put the weight of the world on the team each and every match. Even the best teams can have a bad match or even a few bad matches and still make it to the final 8.

Yet another thing, this new format puts a burden on teams to go out there and TRY if not for themselves then for their alliance partner. There were many times in Chicago where we would have just as well sat out a match in order to perform repairs that were needed, but we didn't because we felt that that would be letting down our alliance partner.

Another worthy thing that this new format provides is a Leader Board. It is really nice to know where teams stand. Now, for our particular case, we were not all that happy to have everyone know that we were deep into the 20's in rank, but the net gain of knowing where everyone stood was worth the small discomfort we had to endure.

My last comment involves the picking proceedure. I think that it will provide a LOT of drama to future FIRST competitions. In the interest of disclosure, I have to admit that it is easy to like a format that allowed my team to go from the 20's to listed as finishing in 4th place. I will be honest, I was shocked when BruQuest picked us. But, as it turned out, we were a pretty good team together, in fact with a few breaks we may have given Beatty and DaimlerChryler a scare ;-)

I know that there were many teams who were as disappointed as our team was happily surprised. But, I think that overall it is a net positive for FIRST.

I will end with a word of caution, it is still early in the FIRST season. There is still plenty of time for a few bad apples to spoil the whole bushel, yet I am very encouraged by what I have observed and heard reported thus far.

Hats off to FIRST and their new competition format.

Joe J.