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Unread 04-05-2011, 12:30 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Wood View Post
I too do not consider myself a "nerd". Sure, I have what you may call "nerdy" moments and be an engineer by trade but this does not automatically make me a nerd. I believe that FIRST students can be very creative, bright students but to call us all "nerds" is unfair. That is a title that must be accept and carried by each individual person. If you want to be a nerd, good for you, there is nothing wrong with that, but some of us have other titles in mind for ourselves.
The trouble with the "nerd" label is the same as the trouble with any label (think "jock," "learning disabled," "ADD," "goodie two-shoes," "communist"): they obscure the real, individual people they are applied to.

Part of FIRST's mission is encouraging kids to move away from the culture where kids inordinately look up to music/sports stars. It's trying to break the culture where the most athletic/social students are often considered the "elite" and the more intellectually-/mechanically-/technically-/whatever-inclined are lower on the totem pole. But it must be very careful to avoid encouraging the "nerds" to form cliques of their own. Society needs all types, and I feel that FIRST's rhetoric sometimes fails to acknowledge that.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 01:01 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

I just wanted to say that I agree with the OP about his first point. While I entirely understand the importance of spreading FIRST's message, I think there does come a point when it begins to be diluted. At some point, the ideas of Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism become so ambiguous through usage that it becomes difficult (for me at least) to understand their true meaning. Not just their general gist, but the values they are meant to instill in students.
Also, I think his point about "nerdiness" was grossly misunderstood, as evidenced by those who believed he was talking about making FIRST a "nerd club". Instead, it is more about accepting that STEM education and programs like FIRST are viewed as for people who are nerdy (in the not incredibly insulting way). However, it is very important to point out that the nerdy side is not the only side of FIRST, which is something my team needs to work on. Ultimately, I think that trying to convince others that FIRST is anything other than it is will not work.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 01:37 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

On the subject of "nerds" and other labels/groups of people, I was talking to another mentor at the Seattle regional. Not sure how we got around to it, but he shared what he thought was the greatest thing that has came about as a result of their program. It was that it got two groups together the "nerds" the "gear heads" and working side by side they found out that they were more alike than different and basically went along way to erasing those labels.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 01:43 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

My general attitude about the competition aspect:

When I show up at competition, the team has put countless hours of work into the robot and strategy, and will put 100% effort towards putting the best possible product* on the field. And when it gets to the field we'll compete like no tomorrow, for doing anything else is disrespectful to our own efforts, and to our competitors.

That being said, you stop by our pit, you need help of any sort (except psychiatric we need that ourselves), we will do whatever is within our power to help you, Fasteners, tools, troubleshooting, rebuilding...

You ask, we'll help.

For the goal of pitting our creation against the toughest opponents we'll help.

I'd much rather loose a match fighting tooth and nail for it to someone running at 100% we helped, than to win against a crippled robot.

A sense of accomplishment is a very Inspiring thing

That sense of accomplishment can come from losses just as much from wins, you just need the right viewpoint.

I've never been one for the "you did your best" and other "everyone's a winner" sayings, they don't push you, they don't get you to analyze what went wrong and figure out where to improve. If i truly tried my hardest I would've accomplished my goal, if I fell short I WILL find out where and why, and remedy it.

A sense of accomplishment from hard work is getting our butts handed to us by 111 and 2826 in the Wisconsin finals, and working for a solid week to bring the battle to within a minibot fuse from a 3rd match at Midwest.

Bring your A game, wherever you go, I hope FIRST never pushes anything different


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Unread 04-05-2011, 06:12 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aren_Hill View Post
My general attitude about the competition aspect:

When I show up at competition, the team has put countless hours of work into the robot and strategy, and will put 100% effort towards putting the best possible product* on the field. And when it gets to the field we'll compete like no tomorrow, for doing anything else is disrespectful to our own efforts, and to our competitors.

That being said, you stop by our pit, you need help of any sort (except psychiatric we need that ourselves), we will do whatever is within our power to help you, Fasteners, tools, troubleshooting, rebuilding...

You ask, we'll help.

For the goal of pitting our creation against the toughest opponents we'll help.

I'd much rather loose a match fighting tooth and nail for it to someone running at 100% we helped, than to win against a crippled robot.

A sense of accomplishment is a very Inspiring thing

That sense of accomplishment can come from losses just as much from wins, you just need the right viewpoint.

I've never been one for the "you did your best" and other "everyone's a winner" sayings, they don't push you, they don't get you to analyze what went wrong and figure out where to improve. If i truly tried my hardest I would've accomplished my goal, if I fell short I WILL find out where and why, and remedy it.

A sense of accomplishment from hard work is getting our butts handed to us by 111 and 2826 in the Wisconsin finals, and working for a solid week to bring the battle to within a minibot fuse from a 3rd match at Midwest.

Bring your A game, wherever you go, I hope FIRST never pushes anything different


*product is robot, strategy, driveteam, communication
you pretty much summed up part of what i was trying to say earlier. GP is for off the field (in the pits/stands, etc.), but on the field, people should play to win.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 06:30 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

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Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
you pretty much summed up part of what i was trying to say earlier. GP is for off the field (in the pits/stands, etc.), but on the field, people should play to win.
This is a false dichotomy.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 07:43 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

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Unread 04-05-2011, 08:05 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

To my eyes, FIRST has turned its focus to TOMA (Top Of Mind Awareness), and that has led to the things with which you disagree.

Regarding the message: People come and go. There are people who went to kickoff who are no longer with the team; there are people at the team who didn't go to kickoff. We've got parents, administrators, sponsors, friends at events - some just for a day, some just for a couple hours. If the message isn't repeated, it's lost.

FIRST has every right to brand itself, and it should. To reach the long-standing goal of being in every high school in America and abroad, people (a) have to know about FIRST and (b) realize FIRST isn't other robotics competitions. The more I think about Dean's comments at kickoff, the more I'm thinking it wasn't aimed at VEX/BEST as much as it was aimed at BattleBots. Most of the public associates competition robots with SawKill or HammerPound - the type of robotic competition that FIRST is most decidedly not. Creating that separation is necessary, and a key way to do that is through the branding of FIRST.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 09:52 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

This is just my 0.02 and all my opinion, this is just how I see it. I was on a team as a student for 4 years and have now mentored for 2 years. I've been the assistant coach of FLL teams for 2 years and also am the assistant coordinator on the regional planning committee for the MO/KS area and have been for 3 years.

1. The "true" message of FIRST is great, but it does not need to be repeated 200000 times.
Personally I do not feel the message has been over used because everyone's view of the true message is different. Just look at what FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." How you go about achieving that in your team, school and community differs for every team because there are factors like other teams or a small town. I am someone that always is in a FIRST mindset, during the season it's all I talk about and off-season I'm the same way. Outside of your team and FIRST if you went into your community and asked 10 random people if they knew what FIRST was how many would say that they knew exactly what it was?
2. Go back to more competition, you're beginning to lack in the competitive part of coopertition.
As you said FIRST started with gracious professionalism, which is sportsmanship taken to the next level. There was always a coopertition factor to it though, it just didn't have the label. Look at team 1108's No Robot Left Behind program or teams that get to competition and share their extra arms and such(I know my team did in 2007) and my team also loaned our Classmate to a team on an opposing team during the finals once so they could compete. I know that "coopertition" has only had the label for 2 years now but I still see competitiveness at the regionals.
3. Enough of the shameless advertising. FIRST is not about the robots, great, but it's not about the politics either, nor is it about FIRST, it's about the future and inspiring our generation, and the next one.
I am unsure what shameless advertising you are talking about. So what if Wil.I.Am talked at kickoff, it shows that people are taking notice about FIRST. Even the picture of Obama on the ground looking at the robot, it is getting FIRST out there. I just do not see how this is "shameless" advertising.
4. Robotics is nerdy. The sooner that is accepted, and embraced, the sooner FIRST can confidently attract others to the program. Nothing says "nerds, beware" like a sign saying "hehehe, it's not nerdy"
Yes it is nerdy, many teams have accepted this fact, just look at what some of the team uniforms/tshirts are. But, there are so many different parts of the team that are not quite as "nerdy." We recruit by talking about fun experiences and say that anyone can join. I've never gone out and labeled my team or others nerdy, I call them FIRSTers.
5. You were on a good track with the "spectator friendly" game breakaway, continue on that track.
I do not see how this years game was not "spectator friendly" nor do I see FIRST making a game that wasn't because (at least at GKC) the attendance of spectators is growing rapidly. This years game was a bit more difficult to follow all teams at once but most spectators come to watch their team. Breakway was a very simplistic game, it was basically just soccer.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 12:09 PM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
you pretty much summed up part of what i was trying to say earlier. GP is for off the field (in the pits/stands, etc.), but on the field, people should play to win.
Exactly. At 461, we try to help everyone who comes to us. It doesn't matter whether they are our next ally or our next opponent, we help them. If we end up losing, then we helped a team to success.

Why do we do that? What honor is there in defeating a bot that can't move or can't score, when you could defeat a bot by a small margin knowing that you helped them have a better experience at their regional because they could play the game.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 02:46 PM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

I would only like to address the issue of "shameless" advertising.

I don't get your point... This is the 20th Anniversary of FIRST.
It is ENTIRELY appropriate to use the LOGO as the game pieces.

Are you really so tunnel-visioned in your opinion about FIRST being self-serving to not see that?

As far as the game being the same one... sorry...not so...
We played in Rack and Roll... Different dynamics totally... even if you leave off the end game (ramps vs minibots)

If you want to have totally new games... we wouldn't be able to use a ball as a game piece. They have been used most years...

I suggest that if you want to boycott to force FIRST to do YOUR thing instead of what is currently being done... that is certainly your right.
Just take your robot and go play somewhere else...

Oh wait a minute... there really aren't any other places to play with a robot as sophisticated or a field as large or the rich history that this competition has..

My apologies to the other robot competitions...I have participated in many of them and I am in FIRST because it is really the Superbowl of Smarts... yes I like that phrase...
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Unread 04-05-2011, 03:04 PM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by treffk View Post
I am unsure what shameless advertising you are talking about. So what if Wil.I.Am talked at kickoff, it shows that people are taking notice about FIRST. Even the picture of Obama on the ground looking at the robot, it is getting FIRST out there. I just do not see how this is "shameless" advertising.
The game itself mostly, although seeing as it was the 20th anniversary, that makes more sense than it did initially. Also the video they put up on the splash page during the first week of build season.

if you haven't seen it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmyVK...eature=related
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

i agree with the third part, and also i was really mad this year that this year's game was almost EXACTLY like 2007 and like one of the games from the 1990s (i think '97) Hang a tube during auto, and make rows of tubes during teleop to get max points. I know how hard it is to make a robotics game, but still, there have been 3 hanging end games, 3 games hanging tubes on racks, a bunch with the octagon shaped goal things (like in 09 and 02), and i just feel like all teams had to do this yea (besides teams formed after 07) was to look at their robot from 07, see what they could do better, and see what robots were really good that year, so i really feel like the games are becoming more and more repetitive and repeats of previous years.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 09:49 PM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

First, I somewhat disagree with number 1. While I think that it can get a bit grating for FIRST veterans, It does a great deal of good for new members. It shows the newbies that this isn't battlebots, and that we have expectations that we act professionally. For me, it's more annoying to hear new people ask things like "why don't we put something on the robot to damage other ones" than hearing about gracious professionalism and coopertition. With that said, though, I think that a lot of people who haven't had much experience with FIRST don't know what those mean.

As to number 3, I agree that the FIRST splash page was needlessly awkward. It seemed to me as though they greatly overplayed the appearance he made at kickoff.

And at number four, I disagree. We don't recruit saying "Are you a nerd? Join all the nerds here!". We say "Hey, you can build these cool robots, no experience required, and here are XYZ reasons why it's good for you to do this." I don't think robotics is for nerds at all. I think that robotics is for people who want to learn, and be inspired.
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Unread 04-08-2011, 02:06 AM
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Re: A plead to FIRST, anyone else agree?

I have mentored FRC and FLL teams for ten years and I have to agree with the original poster's comments regarding FIRST and the message it shares.

Whether or not nerdy is nice or nasty is not entirely relevant. Broadcasting that you're not nerdy is a pretty sure way to highlight your nerdiness.

The games have become overly complicated for easy consumption by the general public. We study the game for 7 weeks before we actually play, only to find out that we don't understand all of its nuances. Ask yourselves how much time you spend explaining the game and the competition structure (randomized qualification matches, ranking points, coopertition points, alliance selection, etc.) to visiting relatives, let alone the other guests in the hotel lobby (the folks you're really trying to attract in order to "spread the word").

FIRST has created an amazing program for promoting interest in the field of engineering. It spans the globe. The competitions are exciting. Everyone - students, mentors, sponsors, guests - is inspired by the ideas and solutions developed by others. The enthusiasm is contagious. The only way that can happen is by FIRST promoting itself to potential sponsors, but I think FIRST has gone overboard in its promotion.

In our rookie year we were fortunate enough to qualify for, and attend the Championships. The competition was fun and exciting. Then we sat through the closing ceremony - for a long time. Our other mentor, myself and all of our team's parents felt like we had just sat through a pyramid-marketing convention. Aside from presenting teams their respective awards, the speeches were about how important FIRST is in encouraging students to pursue careers in science and technical fields. The speeches weren't about inspiring or encouraging youth toward those fields; they were about FIRST. Over the course of the last several years I have heard the phrase "...the message of FIRST..." more often than I have heard the actual message. That is shameless self-promotion. I believe the constant repetition that FIRST is about this, or FIRST is not about that, only serves to detract from the mission of most of the program's participants: inspiring young people to exceed everyone's expectations.

Largely as a result of our experience, we do not advertise ourselves as a FIRST team. To be sure, we are a robotics team that competes in FIRST, but we are primarily a team that shows kids that, when challenged, they can rise above themselves; that problem-solving is rewarding; and that they have the power and the ability to succeed.
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