Because I need to tell someone who understands

Hello all,
The PNW Regional is over and the boxes are away and the floor is swept.

I go back to the regular world of boring on Monday ( I teach high school) and I will have to endure many many “So, how did you guys do?” questions. And while they are sincere they won’t understand the real answer. So I will tell them “We did great, we went to the semi finals and had alot of fun and got an award for engineering”

But I really need to tell SOMEONE the real story, someone who will understand.

So here is the real story.

We passed inspection on the first try and then went to add weight.
We missed our first practice match because we were changing motor plates.
We lost most of our matches but the robot ran great and everyone commented on our gripper and the team enjoyed the game. (We even got over the messed up team pairings we got stuck with, we played against 272 every match)
Mark Leon went to dinner with our team Friday night (Todai!!!)
(I now have him on speed dial on my cell phone.)
We were picked by a rookie who seeded 7th in first draft (Yea! 2046 who also won the rookie all star award)
We had a ton of fun.
We won the Motorola Quality Award for the gripper.
Our Freshman Safety Person collected enough tokens to allow us to get the pit award on Saturday (Yea! Emily).
I took 9 freshman and they are all hooked, including the one who has to move and promised to start a new FRC team.
I watched a lot of great robots do great things as well as ordinary robots also do great things.
I really saw kids changing the way they look at the future, and no it didn’t happen in three days, it was the result of the entire season, but I believe they know way more than I ever did at thier age.
I got to dance to YMCA with Mark Leon
Over all it was a great year. I am losing a bunch of seniors I thought I couldn’t do this without but they did a good job and trained thier replacements.

Oh yeah, I also won the Woodie Flowers Mentor Award. It was a great time.

Thanks for listening. I hope everyone has the same great time.

Eric Stokely
Team 360 The Revolution
Past Mentor of 258
“The Woodie Flowers Award doesn’t fit into a top Segway bag very well”


Sounds like a great season for yout guys! Yes, people outside FIRST usually just want to know about regional wins and look at trophies, but I think you and your team has captured what FIRST is truly about: inspiring teamwork, gracious professionalism - and not to mention science and technology. Congrats about the Motorola Quality and Woodie Flowers Awards!


Your a true inspiration for me, I thank you for being who you are and doing what you do. I wish I could say more but I believe that you require something more than words to explain… I am embaressed to write this only seeing you through volenteering and in portland and you not even knowing who i am, but i am confident in saying that you represent everything i one day hope to be

-Dave McLaughlin, 1983 Driver

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Our team 2046 had the most amazing time. I personally have changed over the past few weeks, and I love what I have become. This has got to be the most amazing thing I have ever done, and I am eternally thankful that I have one more year to enjoy this program. I am blown away by the winning of the Rookie Allstar Award, because none of us really saw it coming.

I am proud to look back and say I chose team #360 to lead our revolution into robotics.

This is the begining of a whole new world and life. I hope that we will be able to take you up on your offer, as we are most likely going to try for Atlanta. I can’t begin to comment on your entire team’s gracious professionalism. You rock, and I hope you know this. I can’t wait to see you next year at the Portland (Seattle?) regional.

Bryan Andrews
Team #2046

PS- Our team has several 360 buttons which we are planning on wearing in Atlanta. You will be there in our hearts. Thanks again.

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It was a pleasure teaming with you guys. As a rookie team we were not expecting to be in a position to pick an alliance. Hence, our team was woefully unprepared with scouting data. Despite our ignorance, we made the perfect choice in picking you guys.

Your willingness to help our other ally get ready was nothing short of amazing. I have a picture of about 10 people from your team in the 2149 pit getting their ramp working. Well Done!

I hope to work with you guys this year and learn from such a well organized and well mannered team. Thanks again Eric and 360.

-Darren Collins 2046 Mentor

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You are the perfect example of what it means to be a Woodie Flowers Award winner. We loved going all the way to the finals with you and the rest of 360 last year, and one of the things I most looked forward to this year at PNW was playing with you guys again (which never unfortunately never happened due to the “random” match schedule) and proudly wearing the 360 apron you gave each person on our drive team last year. You are an inspiration to me to come back and volunteer my time to FIRST for many years after I graduate high school. Thank you for your dedication to FIRST.

Mike C.


Surely teaching high school can’t be that boring :wink:

Sounds like the competition went better than a team can ask for. Achieving those small victories like being underweight and passing inspection is as satisfying as winning a match, but its hard to explain that to someone that didn’t put their heart and sole into the planning and fabrication of a robot. All of the other large victories that may not be significant to other people is what makes us FIRST. Its wonderful to see others take more gratification in the inspiration of others than an award, a trophy, or a win-loss-tie ratio. This is why FIRST is not about robots.

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Congratulations on an amazing and accomplished season! After last season’s regional, we were persistently asked about how it went by non-FIRSTites. The answer: 23rd/30, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great competition.

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Similarly, arefin dosen’t know how baseball works so if you try to explain how the game went to him you’ would feel equally frustrated. not everybody knows how the forst games work . even the people in first have troubble knowing how it all works.

Thanks for sharing this story!
You’ve made my boring Monday.
:] :]

you guys had a GREAT placer and a great gripping mechanism!
It was really hard to get over the “random matchings” even for us and it was, unfortunately, in our favor. you guys and your great bot got the short end of the stick. Having 2 of the best placers there against each other every single time was not fair and was the cause of you two (360 & 272) not seeding in the top 8. You guys really deserve to go to nationals…

Your bot was awesome!


I brought this zombie thread back to life because it captures a sense of who you are, and what you have brought to the FIRST community for so many years.

2007 was my first year as a mentor. You have been the primary inspiration for why I still mentor. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Congratulations on your World Championship Woody Flowers award. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

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Considering one of the posts in this thread came from a recent WFFA winner from his time as a student, I’d say you’re definitely right.

Great necro.

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I first met Eric in Portland as a rookie mentor in 2007. I was in awe at Stokely and his team. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.

Much love brother!

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Thank you for resurrecting this thread Martin. Eric, your passion for *FIRST *is infectious and has inspired hundreds of people from our team alone. The extent of how you have reached and touched people within *FIRST *reaches far beyond the thousands in the PNW.

You have always been an example to me since the first time we met over 10 years ago when I began my FRC journey as a rookie coach. Thank you for the helping me more clearly see the many reasons why I devote my energy to FIRST.

Congratulations on receiving the Woodie Flowers Award!

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Thanks for all the inspiration, so glad I got to catch you Saturday night to congratulate you in person.

All the best,


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This was me all day today.
You put this quite well.

I’d kind of forgotten about this post so long ago.

After the rush was over (and that took way longer than I thought it should) I became very introspective. Thinking of all my past interactions with students, teams…the whole FIRST community. And I have said this before but it is worth repeating, while I am the one they brought to the stage, I believe I am a collection of all those past interactions. And the award is really shared among everyone.

I am beyond honored, and I hope to try to live up to the ideals that I believe the WFA represents.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many people, students and adults over the years.

Now to find a good tattoo artist…

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The one question I have (but didn’t want to flood upon you), how did they trick you down to the arena floor for the WFA ceremony?

There’s gotta be some secrets…