I got back home from the first Tallahassee Regional a dozen or so hours ago, and apart from the loose COVID protocols I posted here, I can’t praise this event enough!
If I hadn’t been researching events within six hours of me for years and they didn’t make a point of it a couple of times a day, I’d never have suspected this was a first-time event. I worked load-in, inspected Thursday morning, queued for all the practice, qualification, and elimination matches, and worked loadout right up until the field was loaded into the truck on its way to Milwaukee (?) at 9pm. Prior to eliminations, we were never more than about 15 minutes off schedule one way or the other. Most of the staff had worked together last week (and for years) at Orlando, and most of the rest of us were veteran volunteers; I understand we had volunteers from 13 states! Here’s a list of literally every event glitch I can recall (four is probably a record low!):
- Wednesday evening load-in was terrible (new venue glitch). It required maneuvering all of the carts and toolboxes and robots and everything else down a wooden ramp placed atop 3 or 4 concrete steps, then over a threshold through a single-width door. Load-out was better; we routed teams with heavy items up through a (small, slow) freight elevator to the third floor, then to an exit door with a much more shallow slope down to a parking area. I chalk this up to a “first FRC at this venue” issue. This situation can be improved even more in the future if the FRC teams can use the limited loading dock facilities on site.
- Match 1 on Friday was delayed about 10 or 15 minutes due to an FMS software upgrade or something like that. We were actually ahead of schedule by the end of the day.
- About 9:30 Saturday (last day), a power outage triggered by a thunderstorm shut down the field for a few minutes. Weather happens.
- QF6 experienced multiple foghorns (3?); not sure why. This match was eventually suspended until after QF8.
We also had our fair share of robots falling off the rungs, but the most exciting/scary was in QF8. During the transfer of weight from the mid to high rung, 4187’s plastic gripper snapped, projecting the broken piece about 27’ (8m) over the alliance wall and into the queueing area where 1056’s alliance (#4) was waiting to replay the multiple foghorn match. It didn’t appear to hit anybody, but was a great case for wearing safety glasses. I had the dubious honor of returning the broken piece to 4187’s drive team.
Congratulations to 386 (Team Voltage), 86 (Team Resistance), and 2556 (Radioactive Roaches) for winning the robot competition, 2992 (SS Prometheus) for Chairman’s, 1902 (Exploding Bacon) for EI, 8788 (Special Forces Ballistabots) for Rookie All Star, Thomas Murphy of 1056 (Hot Rocks) for Woodie Flowers Finalist, Tisha Keller for Volunteer of the Year, and Christina Jackson of 1912 (Team Combustion) for Dean’s List, as well as the #1 seed and finalists 1421 (Team Chaos) and their alliance partners 2992 and 8778 (HSUwerx, pronounced ~ shoe works)!