Hello all -
As I’ve been filling my usual CD addiction I’ve noticed, as I have each of the last three years as a coach, both the enmity as well as admiration for those teams who are considered elite teams. As I’ve been reading, something has been nagging at me - a familiarity of this discussion with another that we’ve been dealing with as a country for the last few decades.
My school is a bit different than many that you may attend. While we are in an suburban area, our population is an interesting mix of inner-city and suburbia. Many years ago, during the years of desegregation and strife, our system decided to invest heavily into two programs - magnet schools and our gifted and talented program. While I love these programs on one hand, it also creates problems.
Most of our brightest stars in the district end up going to the magnet schools or into large gifted programs at schools other than those in their area. As a result, our school is largely populated by the low level students, the mid level students, and the upper-mid level students. My team GPA hangs at around 2.5 or so each year.
In truth, it seems that our society at large has tried to dim the stars of our generation - hiding them through under-utilization, separate schooling, or other methods. The first thing that I notice about this entire process is that most people, without stars, easily find comfort in complacency. If no one else is shining, I find no need to shine. If no one else is striving, why would I strive? My school is filled with complacent students with very little drive to succeed. Even in our smartest kids - those that are gifted/talented/AP class taking students - there is little motivation to be great because most of our stars have been removed from us and placed in silos of learning far from their peers.
But now there is robotics. I cannot express how much having HoF teams helps my team to grow. We are in a city not yet populated by robotics stars yet we can look to our north, our west and our east and see them rising. We have mediocre seasons filled with disappointment and years where awards are dreams but we can see - sometimes close enough to touch - teams that have found their way into the sky.
I’ll be honest. I don’t care if you got there through sponsors or through machine shops or through mentors of extreme caliber. In the end, I am glad that you are stars. I need them. I think if most teams are honest, they will agree. Without stars who needs rockets to reach them - why the need to dream? So while we discuss the merits of Hall of Fame and the realities of being a more mature and well financed team, lets remember that most of us would not be competing save for these teams who in the end inspired at least me to see where I am going to be.