Clash of Objectives.

With the recent announcement of the change in structure of higher level FRC events, it has become blatant at the disparity between the objectives that FIRST is trying to achieve as compared to the objectives individual teams are trying to achieve.

Ask yourself, what makes a FRC team successful?

FRC=FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST=For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

Since our inception in 1999, the FRC competition and FIRST objectives have served as a vehicle in meeting Waialua High & Intermediate School’s objectives in providing a STEM learning experience for a small, rural community where STEM is pretty much non-existent.

Yes, the competition is the driving force behind achieving the what FIRST hopes to accomplish. It’s the act of competing, not the act of winning, that should inspire. If you want to see for yourself what I mean, ask your studenys what makes a team successful. The answers you’ll get more than likely won’t align with first’s mission in the slightest. (Obtaining trophies vs inspiring) With the addition of another championship, it lowers the perceived value of making it to worlds as well as including more teams. It is attempting to fix the wrong goals of teams while at the same time allowing for the inclusion of more teams (and thus kids).

Of course the kids are going to say the trophies/winning is why they are there; they arent they to inspire, they are there to be inspired. And if the inspiration is working, you shouldnt actually see it. Its a behind the scenes thing that takes effect over time.

Just look at nearly every person’s signature, including yours. People take more pride in winning than anything else. It’s more than just the kids of FRC that have the wrong mindset.

Why is a mindset “wrong”? Am I less interested in inspiration simply because I take pride in winning?

There’s no catch all answer to your question. Each team will define success differently. Some teams just want to make the elimination rounds at their district. Some teams want to win the safety award. Some teams want to win Chairmans. Some teams want to win the World Champioship. Some teams are happy getting a robot driving.

However, I feel the majority of teams represented on Chief Delphi define success by winning. Teams that value winning are often the best and most inspirational teams in FRC. When FIRST takes steps to include more teams at the event that perhaps dont deserve to be there, the teams that work their butts off each year feel like their ultimate goal of winning the World Championship is being devalued by FIRST.

It’s absolutely no different that the NHL saying we’re not going to give out the Stanley Cup anymore. Instead we’ll have two Stanley Mugs and we’ll give them out to the Conference winners. Teams that have been building for YEARS to try to win the Stanley Cup would feel cheated of their goals. FIRST just did the same thing.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of what your team has accomplished together.

You seem to be implying that the goal of winning is detrimental to the goal of inspiring students.

Winning in my book is the ultimate method of inspiration, it is a culmination and validation of everything that students have worked towards. Not winning should never be taken as a sign of failure, but saying that the pursuit of victory is the wrong mindset to have is, in my opinion, incorrect. For myself, and I believe this applies to many others, winning is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, and that is inspiration.

Who are YOU to say what should or shouldn’t inspire people? Winning happens to be very inspiring to me. Who doesn’t want to win?

Anyone who says they don’t care about winning while competing in a competition is lying to themselves. It’s possible that winning may not be someone’s number one concern, but to declare that nobody should be concerned with or be inspired by winning a competition just because YOU don’t think it’s important is wrong.

Someone should take “Inspire by Winning” and throw that on a t-shirt or something, it has a nice ring to it.

I can guarantee you, the moment my team wins Chairman’s or EI, I will proudly wear it in my signature.


I think you’re missing an important subtlety here. People define their team’s goals in terms of winning, and people say their team successfully met that goal if they won. But I don’t think it follows that these people think their team is only successful if their won.

For me personally, I view my team as successful if they never stop improving, make no excuses, and do everything they can to meet our goals. Whether or not we actually meet the goal is important, but not essential, because in the act of continuously striving to be better and do more, they have already become in my eyes “a successful team”.

My team’s never won a regional, but I couldn’t be more proud of where they’ve come in the endless process of chasing that dream. I think the process of really, truly trying to win is what has made my team something to be proud of.

Ask yourself, what makes a FRC team successful?

If you want to see for yourself what I mean, ask your studenys what makes a team successful. The answers you’ll get more than likely won’t align with first’s mission in the slightest.

I did, as the wrap-up of our 2014-2015 season last week. They pointed to the two chairman’s winners videos we saw at our two events (987/2468). They talked about wanting to increase our meeting times through the year to become more competitive, as well as do a better job recruiting and training new students (including student volunteerism with FLL at feeder schools).

Just look at nearly every person’s signature, including yours. People take more pride in winning than anything else. It’s more than just the kids of FRC that have the wrong mindset.

I appreciate that FIRST provides official awards to recognize more than the the “Winning Robot”. Most signature lists highlight these awards side-by-side. An ad hominem attack on a person’s value system because they list the awards their team won in their signature makes it easy to dismiss the rest of your posts. However, I’m sure there is a grain of truth, where people do sometimes get a bit carried away with the importance of specific awards and forget the big picture… but I don’t see it as an endemic problem in the FIRST/CD community. I can’t even think of a single team I’ve met that has a shown a history of a “win at all costs attitude”, and is blatantly at odds with FIRST ideals as you suggested.

I do sometimes feel like there is a disconnect between the “already heavily inspired” crowd on CD, that cares about FIRST enough to draft and respond to these sorts of posts… and the FIRST community at large. There are a huge number of teams that could benefit from the increased exposure to championships, with a “watered down” version they can attend being better than an amazing experience they will never see. Likewise, there are a huge number of teams that could benefit from greater integration into their local communities and online resources. I wish I knew the secret answer to get them more involved, more competitive, and hopefully more inspired.

I’m fortunate to be able to personally attend champs as a representative for my company, and I enjoy watching robots from around the world compete. I will know what our team is missing by not getting to see half (or more) of the best robots of the world. I’ll know what we are missing, when watching the final Einstein match in Houston is no longer the final official match of the season. There will also be people we miss seeing, former teams of some of our mentors, teams that have visited Texas for events, that we might not have a reason to see again. For these reasons, I’m a bit disappointed personally… but I can understand the argument for the expansion to 800+ teams. I can understand that for the extra 300-400 teams that are constantly on the bubble of attending champs and might now be able to… seeing half of the best robots in the world… seeing an almost as amazing finish to the season… might be inspirational enough to push them higher.

Please don’t over-simplify the complex reasons why people are questioning the dual championship model as “they care more about winning than FIRST ideals”. We all get something a little different out of this program, and we all give a lot back to it.

If you type into google “define: compete,” you get this.

strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.

You are literally arguing against what you are arguing for.

Teams should always strive to improve and win. Being finalists at Lone Star during my first year in FIRST played a huge role in getting me really excited about the program. That being said, while I have the goal of building a winning robot every year, I would much rather build a robot that I am proud of, and to learn and teach during the season. Even if my team doesn’t win any events, if those last three things happen, I would consider the season a success.

Maybe I’m not understanding your point, could you elaborate?

I’m going to share my PM to the OP but with more detail.

Honestly, I dont personally view it as a black and white issue here. I think the pursuit of winning positively impacts lives and drives students to be better.
I never ever kid my students. Life is full of competitions for jobs, good grades vs your peers, and other pursuits in life. Tell it like it is.

FIRST makes it easy for our own personal selfish goals. To create a platform where I can inspire kids who like STEM, where we dont have to reinvent the wheel or create our own projects/programs to achieve this.

We have lots of data on current and former students who have gone through our program for all 16 years. It doesnt necessarily mean that keeping track/celebrating our successes keeps us from focusing on our overall goals/objectives.
In our community, we lose in all sports and never get any recognition vs. all of the private and Honolulu schools. Experiencing success in FIRST competitions provides our kids a sense of pride and happiness that they hardly ever get. Of the 35 students in our program, only 8 of them live with both parents. The rest come from either broken homes, single parents, live in with guardians, grandparents, or in some extreme cases this year neglection from parents who sometimes never see their child for days at a time.


Separate from all other arguments, where does it say that team’s goals and ideals should match those of FIRST exactly (And who enforces this?)?

Don’t be so condescending about team’s goals. Everyone has their own unique team and circumstances.