The regional participants and teams of Ohio have been really great to the Purdue FIRST Indiana teams.
Harrison Boiler Robotics 1747 seems to have the most effective shooter at the competition while 1038 has the most effective dumper, showing that there’s definitely room for multiple game play styles this year.
Super cells are still a valid strategy, more so than I thought they would be.
All in all, a great regional so far, thanks to all the teams who have been awesome.
My first observation is that the human players are critical. Not just for shooting ability but also judgment. Waiting for opportune moments to shoot was a crucial factor in human player success. Also, there were a lot more penalties for throwing the empty cell over the outpost wall than I thought there would be. It is an easier mistake to make in the heat of the moment than we thought it would be. Having a human player who was calm and cool under pressure was a big advantage. Our next door neighbors in the pits (who are also one of the closest teams to us geographically) 2387 were struggling through a robot that broke just before ship, leading to shipping an incomplete prototype robot. But they combined some skillful driving with excellent human player play to help win a number of matches. For most of the last two days I have been harboring a nagging sense of not liking how influential the human players were. But as the elimination matches progressed, I realized that the good teams (and good alliances) had good human players, good robots, good driving and good strategy. Just like any other year.
Another impression from Cleveland was one of happiness. Anyone who has ever been to an FRC competition knows they are intensely happy, but this year’s Buckeye Regional seemed, at least to me, to be even more happy than usual. I noticed this on Thursday as we were dealing with out two hour odyssey of firmware upgrade leading to completely disabled robot stress. Our team was stressed and frantic, but all still smiling. Rookie team 2941 was dealing with a rash of bad luck, but obviously having a great time. 1646, just behind us in the pits, was had a great robot with one little problem after another, but they just kept getting it together. 963 and 379 were there usual balls of energy and good will. 1317 (our “sister” program under OSUFIRST) was amazing. 829 going out of their way to help ANYONE with a problem. Some kids from 63 helping a volunteer pick up a bunch of spilled papers and smiling the whole time. Maybe it was just the impressions of our team. And maybe it was because this year there was no snow storm, just a 35 degree drop in temperature. But whatever the reason all the happy people around certainly made us happy. So I want to say hats off to all the teams. It was a great time! It really made me remember why I like FIRST so much. Kids learning that engineering, hard work and being nice can be fun. Really, really fun. If your going to change the world, enjoying the effort along the way is a really nice fringe benefit.
I want to give a shout out to 2835 for keeping up their team spirit after their robot failed inspection, due to their bumpers being to big, and not being allowed to compete. They still handed out their flyers and buttons to everyone with a smile on their face. I know it touched the hearts of my students and it was all they could talk about. I look forward to seeing great things from this team.
Edit: I may have the wrong team. My students associated it with 2835 because they were the ones passing the story on to them in the pits.