Behind the Glass Mic'd Match | 2056 OP Robotics | IRI Q59 | Ref Question Box Get Behind the Glass with 2056 OP Robotics at IRI mic’d up for Q59. This match goes really well for their alliance but near the end 2056 misses their traversal climb which would have been the world record. After seeming to tie the world record with a mid level climb they are informed that their climb didn’t count and a discussion with the referee ensues.

Editor Note: We decided to cut the conversation with the head referee as he was not aware that the particular student approaching him was on microphone. While we appreciate the need for transparency this is FIRST where we all do our best to strive for Gracious Professionalism. We’re not the NFL (or CFL since you know, Canadian) and do not want the conversation to be taken out of context or overly critical of what seems to be an error on another referees part.



“We’re up by a Billion” :joy:

Awesome video



So, I am not going to say that this match was the impetus behind my post on Endgame Score Indicators. But, I think this is a good example of a situation that would benefit from such an idea. It is great to experience this from the drive team’s point of view and also to see the impact that such a situation has on the students involved. It should be noted that this match resulted in 3RP rather than 4RP for the winning alliance which resulted in 2056 ending up ranked #2 instead of #1 at the end of quals. Obviously, OP did not need the #1 rank to put together a winning alliance.

Congrats to OP on their win at IRI!


Awesome video! Really cool to get a glimpse into how the best teams in the world operate.

Also the question box is pretty broken. It would be awesome if that system could be improved somehow.


Ok, so call me a Ref apologist: this one is a clear case of HR looking at something else while the hangar Ref was also distracted and didn’t count down from end of match correctly. It happens more often than anyone would like.

HR often has other things to focus on at that point in a match; however, hub Ref on the same side has an excellent sight line (basically sees what the hangar camera sees) on the situation where a low- or mid- bar climber is behind a high or traversal climber, and could act as a back-up for the hangar Ref. Radios are helpful for that. However, most HRs don’t direct their Refs to back each other up on that particular call.

I don’t think the question box is the issue here. The issue has to be what the hangar Ref saw, and that can sometimes be incorrect. Even at IRI. I think the back-up sight line should be consulted.

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Maybe if in the question box the HR was able to check video evidence for something that obvious…


Catch-22. How does HR know it is that obvious beforehand?

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For games that have something for the refs to evaluate on the field 5 seconds after the end of the match can we have an additional tone from the field to indicate when that 5 seconds is up?
That way they don’t have to count the 5 seconds themselves and the tone should get their attention back on what they are supposed to be evaluating at that time.

It is then up to the teams to make it obvious they have a legal climb. Did this year have the 2013 paper test?


I like that idea. Currently we rely on the DS light strips flashing between t=0 and t=+5.

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Which is perfectly in the sight line of the hangar ref. My routine was one eye on the light strip, and one eye on the hanging robots. I wonder what distracted the hangar ref.

Great idea! This is the way.

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This could easily be added into the indicator lights that I had proposed in the other thread as well. You could either add a separate light for the 5 second timer or you could have the indicator lights flash during the 5 seconds and go solid at T=+5. Any of these ways would help the refs to know when the 5 seconds had expired and adding that enhancement would be beneficial.

Good thing this didn’t impact the outcome of the match… only who was #1 seed at IRI.

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Thanks FUN Crew for putting this together. It gives you a very different perspective experiencing a match from over your own shoulder. I’ll be honest, once the match started, I forgot we were mic’ed up for it.

This match really exemplifies why we need to give our referees better tools to deal with challenging, difficult calls, and to help eliminate human error. There’s been plenty of discussion over video review. Human error is never going to go away. After 50+ qual matches in a day, anyone could have a lapse in concentration or get distracted. Why aren’t we giving them the tools they need to help improve the event experience for everyone? Something as simple as saving the hanger camera image at T+5s for the Hanger score keeper. This could be built into the field software and displayed on the score keepers HMI.

The question box is the one place where we force a student to have a difficult and stressful one on one conversation with the head ref with no mentor support. This needs to change. While generally head refs are approachable, we have had experiences in the past where our students have been brushed off without being fully heard. Allowing a mentor to accompany students to the question box will prevent them from being brushed off so easily and stop them from having to carry that responsibility alone. We’ve also played tournaments where Refs/Head Refs have had a personal bias against our team and elected not to go to the question box to avoid putting a student in a one on one situation with a difficult volunteer. This was definitely NOT the case at IRI, but it’s just one more reason students shouldn’t have to go to the question box alone.

From an alliance perspective, its super frustrating when you have to send one student representative to the head ref following a scoring error like this and just get told, “I trust my referees, and they didn’t see it”. Nobody walks away from a situation like that feeling inspired. At the time, there were a number of teams vying for the #1 seed, 180, 4499, and ourselves included and we knew the RP would matter. In the end, it was the difference between us being #1 or not and if the elimination tournament had turned out differently for us, this would be a very different discussion.


I would push back lightly on this.

One of the reasons mentors are barred from the box is that on occasion, mentors have had a “difference of opinion” with the referees. That’s fine and all–but sometimes the mentors have gone, shall we say, less-than-gracious when talking to the HRs.

Do I think that mentors should be allowed at or near the box? To a point, yes. Do I think that mentors should be talking to the HR? No–at least, not without the student being there to hold them back! (I’ve seen cases where a mentor will essentially use a student as a “conduit” for telling the HR how they think a call should be made.)

I think this is another topic of discussion entirely, at least it’s getting there. Maybe we should do (another) thread on improving the question box?

(On another note–I do think that audio if not video recording in the Q-box should be allowed as a general rule of thumb, both to protect the students and to protect the HRs. However, some jurisdictions require 2-party consent, and not everyone feels the same as I do.)

In that case, I wouldn’t go to the question box anyways. I’d go to the VC/Event Director and have them tell the HR “Your bias is showing”. In more polite terms, naturally.

Can you elaborate on this?

I think you’re referring to needing both parties (ref and student in this case?) consent to record audio or video footage. But wouldn’t this be covered under the consent and release form all participants sign before attending an event?

I could also very well be misunderstanding the intent/meaning of what I quoted, hence the ask for clarification.

I once had to go to the FTA (not in Indiana) to file a complaint about a head ref who got in the face of my student and threatened them. She wasn’t happy with him. I also sent a letter to the VC. As far as I know he was never head ref again.

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That’s what I’m referring to.

It might be covered in the consent and release, but I would probably suggest asking to be sure.