Awesome FRC Experiences!

To offset the doom and gloom of the the “FRC Horror Stories” thread, I want to hear your favorite and most amazing experiences in FIRST. Consider what you’d think of the “highlights” of your FRC career, and then share them! Anything from the small to the big, post what keeps you in our very special program & community.

If you ever get to choose from any event to attend, Id implore you to come to the PNW District Championship. Both the EWU and the Portland venues are loud and intense, with some of the best production from start to finish. Its literally a CMP Division done right. Both of the years 4513 has competed has been by far my favorite events.

If I had to pick a moment from them, 2015 would easily be us competing in the finals after 1510 broke down. Our closest match and by far the most fun. 2017 would probably be one of these two stunts from the opening ceremonies (was about 30 feet away when it went off)

This one:

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Camilo winning Dean’s List in 2015 was pretty awesome. A because he won but B because a bunch of the judges that had interviewed him that year were near me in the stands and we were ALL excited.

The only stories I have are from the 2017 season, since that was my rookie year.

In-season: North Star. This explains it quite well. Thanks again, 5464 and 2574!

Off-season: Our win at Minne Mini Regional. We’d had a pretty lackluster (by our standards) performance in qualifications, having been practicing new drivers. I wasn’t expecting to be on the field at the end of alliance selection. However, I went up to all the prospective captains and explained our predicament, and specifically pointed them to one match where we used our regular drive team that would be more reflective of our performance in the eliminations. Then, we were selected for the #4 alliance by teams 2169 and 2052 (both teams I admire a lot). It was a tough win, since every playoff alliance pulled off four rotors at that event. Both semis and finals were taken to three, and we actually changed our strategy just for F3. It was an amazing experience.

I was the pilot for my team. we had just gotten to the semi finals at glacier peak district event and lost our first match by just a few points and thought we were going to lose the next match as well. the next match we got 2 rotors in auto and all 4 rotors going with all 3 climbs setting the pnw high score which held until district champs and in the tiebreaker match we came back out and did it all again it was truly an amazing experience.

While I could go on for days about answers to this, I think one of my personal favorite moments in my 13 years of FRC so far was standing on the field with all the past Woodie Flowers Finalist Award winners at SVR last year (I had just won it 2 weeks before at San Francisco, another highlight!), standing next to Gary Blakesley, my mentor from the team I was on in high school, for whom I had written the essay that won it for him in 2008. That was a truly special moment for me, since I channel so many things I learned from him into how I coach my team now, and he was such an inspiration to me and I try every day to pass that along to my own students.

Easily 2016 Champs, Einstein Finals when Beach Bots fell down twice, tipped themselves back up twice and ended on the platform and went on to win the last World Championship title. I went all the way up to the 4th story to get a good seat, and the energy when they got back up the first time was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s probably one of my favorite moments of my life ever.

It’s gotta be winning Engineering Inspiration for the second time during my career as an FRC student.

The first time around, I didn’t really get it. It was my first year on the team and my first event - what was this “EI” and why were we going to Champs? I didn’t go personally, but I started to understand the impact that my team was having on our community and why the award was so significant.

Fast forwards to 2016. I’m now the team’s first Vice President of Outreach and I’m trying to rally ~60ish students to continue doing awesome things in our city. Things are crazy but somehow working out. I’m meeting incredible people across San Francisco, learning how to become a Game Announcer, and making connections with some of my now best friends in FIRST.

Skip ahead to Silicon Valley Regional. It was my last year, my last competition, and I had never been to the World Championships before. We didn’t make it to Eliminations and I was convinced my career was done - my team was sticking around at Awards Ceremony for formality’s sake.

The Engineering Inspiration script rolls around, and my team is listening just in case we might be the winners (except our lead coach, who was calling his wife to let her we’d be coming back soon). As the Emcee reads of the script, we slowly start realizing that all the lines being read describe something that our team did. Our coach starts to catch on that we might be winning, and says “Okay…wait, we’re winning EI now.”

Cue the “4-1-5-9” from the Emcee, and an explosion of cheering from our part of the stands. In that moment, all of our work had tied together and had become even more meaningful.

The win at Tech Valley in 2017, our team’s first regional win, was definitely my best experience. After climbing from a seed 4 alliance, and with some amazing alliance partners, we were able to upset the first seed and go on to win the regional. The playoffs include the closest series (specifically semis) I have ever experienced.

My favorite (at least from STEAMworks) was FiM-Waterford district match 65. We were paired with 1718 and 308 and it was our first four rotor match of the season. The bonus rank point helped boost us up to finish quals ranked 5th, still our highest ranking to date.

Oh yeah, it was also our first of the 3 Saturday qualification matches. Talk about starting the day off on the right foot!

This is a very limited and very me-specific moment but like. The first time i met one of my best friends? We’d been friends online for ages and we’d each helped the other through some rough things. And he was on another Indiana team so I knew we’d meet eventually and I was terrified. Like panic attack outside the pits because “oh god what if something goes wrong what if i mess up and lose my best friend” and then like. I look up from where I’m sitting and I see a kid wearing a goofy looking hat and a sweatshirt for my friends team walking out of the pits and he sees me and before i know it im standing and walk-running and we just collide into each other? And don’t let go for like a solid minute or so? Which may not seem like much but it meant the world to me.
And thinking of that and all the other close friends I’ve made is a huge part of what’s keeping me here, in FIRST and otherwise.

Best experience/highlight would probably be Alamo Regional in 2015. After a less than amazing performance 2 weeks prior we were able to completely transform our can manipulation. Let to us being first seed for most of the competition and winning the regional. Close seconds would be 5 6 stack match later in the year during the offseason and our 12 high goal match in TRI elims in 2016. Being able to see our ideas come together and perform at peak performance, albeit in the offseason helped validate why we spent all the countless days and nights throughout the first half of the year.

Listen, it’s a cool hat. :mad:

My top experiences in FRC:

  1. Meeting one of my best friends :slight_smile: We literally ran into each other, as stated above.
  2. Walking into my first competition (2016 Tippecanoe) and just staring at everything.
  3. Winning an event (Perry Meridian 2017)! Self-explanatory!
  4. Being announced for EI at our first event last year (Saint Joseph 2017)! My proudest moment yet. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited and inspired!

I’ve got a few:

My first regional in 2014 offseason (GRC) where we went to the finals.

Winning the 2016 Queen City Regional with 868 Techhounds and 245 Adambots after successfully using an auto we had never before tried and seemingly nobody but our head programmer knew existed.

Watching and cheering with the Citrus Circuits and the Robowranglers on Einstein in 2016 after befriending them (gosh, I must have seemed like an annoying fanboy).

Working on the design of a custom Swerve for around 2 years (including time by our former design lead) only to have our programmer let me be the first person to drive it last build season. What a thrill that was. I still can’t believe it actually worked :smiley:

Nope. No awesome FRC experiences. I’ve only been doing this for 15 years because it beats watching Beachcombers reruns.


Either that or “too many to list”. Oops… gotta run, Nick and Relic are arguing again!


That was insanity. I’ve never heard the Edward Jones Dome get louder than that.

I have so many from 17 years of doing this.
Winning FLR in 2005 for our first event win ever was probably the best one.
Winning volunteer of the year for the first time at MARC in 2011. Winning it again that year at Rah Cha Cha Ruckus. Winning it at IRI in 2013 and winning it at FLR in 2016 was a truly awesome moment.
Getting to see Exploding Bacon win their first Chairman’s award in 2010 was amazing.
Watching 33 win MSC in 2014 after all the adversity they were going through was astounding.
Seeing 71 win Midwest in 2013 was pretty emotional.
Reflecting on my experiences as a whole i find that much of it has small moments with the many friends I have made over the years to the lone trips across distances with just me and my iPod enjoying the journey to just absorbing the ambiance of the arena before everyone is let in the door. Individually these moments don’t even register as a significant marking point in my life but as a whole they are the reason I stay in FIRST.

For 67:

Facing against the infinite loop 469 machine in the 2010 MSC finals, losing in 4 close matches, and then facing them again in the Einstein finals. I had an awesome time watching and strategizing about the asymmetric battles with Las Guerrillas that year. Here’s a great strategy writeup from our alliance partners, 294.

For 2930:

The PVC can grabber we added at the PNW Championship in 2015 exceeded our wildest expectations. As our rank worsened due to relatively mediocre stacking ability, it became clear that if we were going to get picked, we would have to prove that it was fast. Friday night, when most teams were having their scouting meetings, we spent hours combing through video an doing frame-by-frame analysis of every can grabber at the event. We reached the conclusion that we we had the fastest one there. The next morning was a frenzy of lobbying, and we got picked by the #2 alliance, which went on to win the event.

But the craziest awesome story I have is from 3322, the team I mentored in college.

We showed up to a Week 1 event (Kettering) with a ridiculously tuned shooter. We had spent upwards of 8 hours tuning the darn thing to be able to shoot from just one location. Our autonomous was comparatively spot on.

We noticed that another bot, 3601, was the perfect partner for us. They could not do anything with basketballs besides intake them and expel them to the ground, but their intake lined up perfectly with our intake. If they lined up behind us in autonomous, they could expel their 2 starting basketballs into our intake, which would allows us to shoot 4 basketballs in the high goal in autonomous. We advised anyone who wanted to pick us that they should pick 3601 as well.

We were picked by 862. Their autonomous wasn’t perfect, but we noticed something during lunch before elims. 862 had the ability to lob the basketballs into 3601’s robot, which could feed the balls into our robot. Therefore, our alliance could muster a 6-ball auton. Which was HUGE. This was a week one event.

Most of our opposing alliances could not handle the autonomous firepower, and we made it all the way to the finals this way.

Video: 2012 Week 1 Kettering 6-Ball Auton “Rube Goldberg”

And a thread from back then:

I have to say, that was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on an FRC team. It was my first year mentoring. I was a sophomore in college, and somehow had been spending 20+ hours a week with the team. I had been a FIRST fanatic for a while, but this first year on 3322 showed how awesome it is to be a mentor, and is partly the reason I’ve been around for so long.

In 2008 we had a major drive gearbox issue at Worlds. This was back in Atlanta, when leaving the pits 10 minutes before a match meant you would probably miss the match.

I’ll never forget the helpfulness, “encouragement”, and patience the Simbots showed us as we struggled with the gearbox while our match together queued. We finally got it back together just in time to run down the Atlanta halls of despair with a Simbot mentor in tow to help pull the cart, zip tie stuff on, etc. We just barely made it to the match. It was our first match where we actually got a ball over the bridge and stayed fully-functional for the entirety of the match. It left a huge impression on me as a coach.