2023 New England NEFIRST Schedule

I couldn’t find a discussion of this year’s New England schedule, so I figured I’d make one.

Some links:

And some random thoughts:

  1. The Blue Alliance is showing Week 1’s “SE Mass Event” as being in Shrewsbury, whereas FIRST’s web site is showing it as being in Bridgewater. I’m assuming that FIRST’s site is the more accurate one for now, and the “Central Mass” event in Shrewsbury that’s happened a couple times has once again disappeared. But sometimes TBA seems to know more about events than FIRST does, so I thought it was worth asking about.
  2. The compression to 6 weeks to allow for a little bit of a break between DIstrict Champs and World Champs means that we once again have a 3-event weekend, this time for Week 1. The last time that New England had a 3-event weekend, in week 4 of 2019, none of the events were particularly full, and I know it was a bit weird logistically to have a third field. I particularly (just because this is the perspective I see events from) wonder about how they’ll all get the key volunteers, as I think that’s been tough in general and Pine Tree is a bit out of the way for a lot of New England (though of course the only close event for some of it). Not that I have a better schedule in mind, and I know trying to coordinate all the logistics and venues has to be crazy difficult, but it’s something that I need events, volunteers, and teams may need to be proactive about to try to deal with.
  3. I am once again disappointed in needing to pick between Hartford and WPI, which are the closest events to my home in addition to just each being awesome events. (Again, I understand everything is crazy difficult to schedule, etc.)
  4. And District Champs is once again at the Big E. I optimistically assume this means that there’s a plan for dealing with the floor there.
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This is the list I’ve been using:
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I think I got it in the NE Discord, and it appears to still be accurate to the FIRST website.

The FIRST website also shows the RI event as North Scituate, but TBA shows Glocester. Not nearly as bad as the SE Mass differential though. I think North Scituate might be an unincorporated community, which would explain the discrepancy.

Given the existence of the RI and Western NE events this year, there is a very small (or maybe nonexistent) section of CT/MA where Hartford and WPI are the two closest events, so teams looking for least-distance options (most teams) wouldn’t want Hartford&WPI as their two events. A quick spot test for Charlton shows that RI is at least 30 minutes closer than Hartford.

A bigger issue is that most CT teams don’t have a reasonable option for attending DCMP and avoiding back-to-back events. If a team wants to go to DCMP and avoid back-to-back events, the least awful pairs are SE Mass&Western NE, Waterbury&Greater Boston, or RI&Greater Boston.

Cramming two week 5 events into a section of the district where all the other events are week 2 and 3 makes this whole thing a mess. I consider a week DCMP-1 event to be an “avoid at all costs” scenario if you have a reasonable (but not guaranteed) chance of qualifying for DCMP. The 3 day turnaround is brutal and CT’s only saving grace is that DCMP is relatively nearby.

Swapping the weeks on WPI and Greater Boston would fix that, open up some options for Boston area teams that aren’t planning to go to DCMP, and doesn’t really hurt NH or Boston teams (except teams that specifically want 2/4, where WPI may be further away for them than Greater Boston).

I think my “ideal” event schedule would swap WPI&Greater Boston and move Granite State to week 2. That provides a lot of options to a lot of teams and gets rid of a lot of “forced” undesirable outcomes like back to back events or having to play a week 5 event as a DCMP-aspiring team.

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The Week 5 pinch in that region doesn’t look nice. I agree with you there.

There’s definitely some tradeoffs and every year when the schedule comes out it doesn’t look great for one region or another. Like you said the qualifying schedule doesn’t look the most ideal for CT & some parts of MA, but then those same teams have the District Championship right there making it commutable for teams in the Hartford & Worcester area.

I think a question a lot of teams would have to weigh would you rather play back-to-back weeks in your close events or travel for one event to avoid it if the DCMP isn’t a travel event. It’s not going to work perfectly for everyone, but I think the with so many unique needs of the district the schedule works okay. It also is done with good intentions to give everyone the breather after the season to give more teams a chance to make it to Houston.

Keep in mind the northern group of teams from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine really are looking at Greater Boston & UNH as their second plays so moving one out a week and then having to get down to Springfield three days later really hurts those teams. They were always having to commute, but the pinch is easier when its close.

Lots of pros and cons. Not envious of anyone making those decisions in the event schedule. They really are sometimes at the mercy of the venues.

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Heh. From my home (in Charlton, but almost in Sturbridge as I’m very close to I-84), the Google Maps time turns out to be 50 minutes to RI and 51 to Hartford. So I suppose you’re right. It’s probably more that I’ve had a great time every time I went to Hartford and to WPI, so last year I was annoyed that I had to pick between them, and again this year. I guess let’s just say that they’re both close to me and I have fond memories of them both, rather than worrying about them being “closest”.

Honestly (speaking as someone who’s a volunteer, not on a team), I’m always amazed that somehow anyone manages to make it to DCMP when there’s just a few days between finding out whether you qualify and needing to load in for it. I usually plan on taking the whole week of DCMP off of work so that I get a “weekend” of sorts between the final district event and DCMP, but I know that not everyone has the chance to do things like that (especially, like, students!).

Oh, definitely!

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Shrewsbury for large values of SE Mass?

The floor was supposed to be cleared but they had an event last year the weekend after us. I am also hoping this was worked out in the contract.

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Yeah, the thought with swapping GB and WPI is that the distance change is relatively insignificant for a team already traveling 4+ hours from Maine (maybe an extra half hour), and it may even be closer for some VT and NH teams.

Overall the schedule is pretty ok, could definitely be far worse. I’m realitively sure we’ll get events we like.

Yeah, I’m sure we could come up with the perfect schedule if we tried hard enough, but the venue availability would make or (more likely) break it.

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