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Unread 03-05-2005, 11:30 PM
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AKA: Shayne Helms
FRC #1132 (RAPTAR Robotics)
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Awards at Regionals

OK, I thought I'd bring this topic up, because it is an interesting one, and I'd like a little feedback from others.

First off, this thread is not intended to flame anyone.
It is also not intended to negatively claim against any team - PERIOD. I tip my hat to everyones accomplishments.

Now, here's the deal.

What we've been noticing (at least over here at VCU) is that each year (for at least the 4 years I've been involved) the same core of about 3-4 teams is being awarded at least *something* if not the higher end awards, or multiple awards every year

Now, taking a immediate step back. I STRONGLY believe that these teams did deserve the awards, don't get me wrong. This is also (personally) not about our team, we were not focusing on awards too much this year, but wanted to share these observations, and these were also observed by other teams. My team is not alone here

First off, the biggest thing that we can't understand is that if VCU is the *largest* regional out of the 30 regionals (yet again) with 62 (WOW!) teams attending this year, why is it that very few (I think 8-10ish) teams are receiving awards? Mainly, the issue was that there were many teams who received multiple awards this year. Out of the 19-ish awards (that didn't involve competition performance) there were many teams receiving, 2,3 awards. The other thing is that out of the 8-10 ish teams who did receive them, 3-4 have been getting stuff like this constantly from year to year.

Now, I still stress that I agree with the judges decision, and that everyone earned their awards through hard work, and deserved them.

Here's the dilemma. There are many teams out there right now who aren't being recognized because of their age. In other words, many of the older vets (3 digits) are constantly picking up the same awards from year to year. They know what FIRST wants to see. That's good! Keep up the outstanding work! But there are also teams in the mid-range (1000-1300-ish) that seem overstepped a bit because you've got the vets down low who know what they're doing, and he rookies up high, who have their own awards, and ALSO are great at earning themselves some of the other awards (go rookies! WOOO!) but the mid-range has been all-but lost (cept for a few of us. 2 at VCU, I think), even when the team's efforts are quite a strong effort.

I'm not sure how things could change. The idea I've heard being passed around is limiting the maximum number of awards you can receive at a regional event. We could have had 19 different teams receive awards. Instead, we had about 8 (42% of the possible maximum).

Another topic going around regards some of the higher-end design awards, and several of the prestigious awards. Some teams I've talked to have issues with the same crowd gaining these in consecutive years. The issue comes in when you debate limiting this ability however.

For rough example, FIRST does not want to say to teams "you can't receive an X award again at the same regional if you've already been awarded this, or, you have to wait X years before you're eligible again". They do not want to limit teams from continuing their efforts in the areas that these awards notice (IE, changing your community, school, etc.) However, it is getting to the point now where I have heard say of "why bother?" because of the same groups being recognized repeatedly.

My concern is that in the long run, more teams may stray away from pursuing behaviour toward awards (which involves spreading FIRST into our world), simply because they feel that they didn't have a chance. What kind of example to we want to set for our rookies? I think if FIRST found at least some small way to limit awards that still was fair to everyone, that would boost the efforts of many teams in the area.

So, to close, on behalf of 1132, I would like to congratulate every single team for their accomplishments this season, especially at VCU. Every team deserved what they earned. Lets get out there and do some more!

There's no such thing as being too simple!
Look for Team #1132, RAPTAR Robotics at the VCU Regional this year!
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