Curie Division Qualification Match 20

We had quite an issue during this match of ours this morning. I am excluding as many names from this as possible, so please don’t ask. We had two good alliance partners, and we expected a really close and tough match with lots of defense on our alliance. We did in fact get a ton of defense. But just after we got our alliance’s missed auton shots cleaned up, we raced down the side of the field to get to the corner by the low goal to receive an inbound, on the way, an opposing alliance robot hit us, causing the field’s side panel that covers the field’s entrance/exit point. We thought that would cause a field reset right then and there, but we kept playing as we didn’t see a signal for it. The cover was in our inbound spot so we couldn’t inbound from there. Then, the ramp that folds up behind the covering fell, being partially in the field. Again, no signal was made for a field reset. The ref in front of that gate was pointing at it and looking over to the head ref to see what to do. Nothing. Shortly after, when that corner of the field was clear, the ref reached into the field of play during the match to lift the ramp up. With about 45 seconds left in the match, we were neck and neck with the opposing alliance. The same thing happened at the opposite end of that zone, the cover came off. This time, one of our alliance partners’ bumper was caught on the hook as it flew off. Their bumper was ripped off and their robot was disabled. After the cover was off of their bot, it came in our path and we got caught on it. The hooks we’re stuck in our chains and we tried to shake it off but instead we just got a hold half set of ruined wheels. Having two of our bots immobile left plenty of room for the whole opposing alliance to play defense on the one robot from our alliance that was still alive. We lost the match. After the match, I immediately went to the question box to ask why there was no reset. The head ref was unsure of wether or not a reset should be called and consulted someone who was not refereeing at the event for if that situation should present a reset. He said that per the rules, a reset will be issued if the head ref determines that the problem affected the outcome of the match. The head ref decided that it did nt affect the outcome, even with more than 30 second on the timer and being very per in score. They completely disregarded the first covering falling off and the head ref based their decision solely on the second covering falling off. We were waived off without an argument. We went to higher personnel to see if something could be done and we were told that the chief referee would be told and they could possibly review it. Towards the end of the day, when we returned to follow up, the higher personnel that we talked to said that they THOUGHT they talked to the chief referee and they said that there would be no replay. Absolutely no explanation was given for this decision, not were we able to talk to the chief referee ourselves. We share this because we believe that circumstances such as this should not happen, especially at Championships. All we asked was a fair chance to play the match. What we got instead was a huge safety hazard, a destroyed drivetrain, and a loss.

A very similar thing happened in the North Star Semi-finals match 3 where the side panel fell off. One of the primary scoring robots for the red alliance was trapped on the hook that sticks up from the panel (with a ball worth 40 points in them) and we were forced to declare a dead ball. The field fault directly caused the red alliance to lose the match, lose the Semi-final and prevented 2 of the 3 teams from likely going to the World Championships. There was no explanation given in that situation either until well after the regional was over. The head ref cited G10 saying the panel was declared “field debris” and the drivers were somehow supposed to be aware of and avoid the panel. The problem was that the robot knocked off the panel and got stuck on it in one movement similarly to how you describe this situation. I’m not sure how a broken aspect of the field that changes the outcome of the match is not considered a Field Fault but whatever. I’m sorry the same thing happened to your team and it prevented you from winning a match.

I’m sorry to hear this happened. I saw it happen a lot in 2010 without resets. In the end, luck is always a factor for every team. The winning teams are the ones that “roll with the punches” the best.

P.S.
Please use paragraph breaks. That hurt my eyes.

This is extremely unfortunate. After watching something similar to this happen at North Star, I hoped FIRST would take steps to address it. During one of the Finals matches at Windsor-Essex the week after North Star, a robot got caught on the gate panel, and the foghorn was blown immediately. I had hoped that FIRST had learned their lesson that those sorts of field failures do affect matches, and had instructed referees to call a field fault, but apparently not. My sympathies to you and your team. IMO that is the wrong call, hopefully you guys can recover from it.

When we went to the question box we were told it was there for safety and not apart of the field. We sent a couple emails explaining that this can happen and letting FIRST know, hoping they would fix it. Sorry to hear it has happened once again. Hopefully it will be replayed from now on.

Sorry, misunderstanding on my part. Either way let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

I saw a robot get entangled with the flap covering the entrance on Galileo as well. They must have played half the match with the hook on the flap stuck under their robot.

It was indeed unfortunate. But, we move forward and continue the best we can. Life is sometimes unfair, but C’est la vie. Smile and whup them next time.

A couple of comments:

It sounds like the first gate falling was handled appropriately–if you can get it up and fixed safely, without entering the field, do so is the rule of the field crew. The first covering, therefore, would not be grounds for replay.

The SECOND covering, however, obviously did affect the match–it disabled two robots in a close match. That one, it could be argued, was on the team that knocked it off–but a second robot being disabled is a bit much. I’ve seen matches where one of those gates jammed under one robot with no damage being called for replay. (As I recall, that particular gate made it to the opposite corner of the field and into the middle of a pushing match before someone made it to the replay switch.)

Now, a couple of other comments, regarding the handling: The Head Ref is well within his perogative to consult non-refs, per the rules–and that consulted person was also well-versed in the rules and gave the correct answer. However, the head ref’s ruling was (in my opinion, not having seen the match) incorrect. Two disabled robots does affect the match, regardless of what anybody else thinks–and the fact that this happened TWICE in one match in two different corners makes me think that some field resetters aren’t using the velcro at the bottom of the gates. Sometimes you really have to hit it hard. That should be a field fault.

Now, when you asked for the chief referee, the “higher authority” should have had a better answer than that they “thought” they’d talked to him–maybe even getting you guys and him in the same place would have been a good idea. If you get a chance tomorrow, ask the chief referee if he was consulted. If he was, then several regionals may have been miscalled, namely the ones that considered the gates coming off to be a field fault. If he was not, then I suggest asking his opinion on the subject, should it come up in the future. You don’t want to ask him for a replay, mind you–just what he thinks on the matter. (If he thinks that a replay may be warranted, it’s up to him to bring it up to the Head Ref on that field, who can call for the replay or not.)

And as for that gate panel not being part of the field… I suppose that the trip guards are not part of the field as well, due to them being there for safety. Ditto for the HP barrier… Just because something’s there for safety does NOT mean that it is not part of the field. (It doesn’t mean that it is, either–see safety glasses–but that particular item being packed with and shipped with all the other Lexan from the side rails…)

I think an argument could be made for the first covering, as it prevented us from accessing the area where we wanted to inbound, although we did just go to the other side instead, but there was more defense on that side. We aren’t so much concerned with the replay as we are making sure that mistakes like this don’t happen. We don’t think that Championship matches should be decided like this, and we consider any portion of the gates being removed is a huge safety hazard to all of the referees and volunteers around the field, and that a person should never stick their hand into the field of play during a match.

(the following is solely my personal opinions and observations, nothing less, nothing more)

I’ve seen it happen to the gate I was attending (as field reset). Personnally, the fix is simple: replace the velcro on the gates!

Yes. From the fields I’ve seen over the years, the velcro always seems to be very worn out and has virtually no tack. Even on a newly refurb’d field (Crossroads 2014) the velcro was pretty much shot. Or I at least remember it being that way.

I’d think they’d replace the velcro strips every year during refurbishment and conversion (to the new game’s standards)… but I guess that doesn’t happen.

Just curious, was definition of “pinning” changed during champs? Saw few matches online and refs start their counting dance even when a robot pushes the opponent to field rail and the other robot has clear way to move forward or backward.

I’ve never officially worked field reset, but I’ve been close enough to the field many times (Lunacy scorer, FTAA, Inspector, queuing) that I’ve occasionally closed a gate now and then, or reset it mid match when there are no bots around (at 10K I was much taller than the field reset/queuer and could reach further into the field.)

Prior to reading about the velcro on this thread and the North Star situation, I never even realized there was velcro, and only in this thread did I hear there was velcro at the bottom of the panel. I’ve never paid enough attention to realize it is there. Also, in watching the regular crew open and close the gates, I’ve never noticed any overt action to secure (or release) the velcro— it has always looked to me that the hooks and gravity is the only thing keeping it in place.

I wonder how this is handled in field reset ‘training’? Or is it expected the velcro will bite just due to gravity/weight?

I think it’s just expected to bite. That said, after a couple gate covers went AWOL at Inland Empire, the resetters started hitting the panel–and hard–near the velcro. If they did that, it didn’t leave. If they didn’t, they were taking their chances.

Thinking maybe someone should start packing Velcro or Dual Lock strips with the field zipties.

Why aren’t the panels permanent. This issue would not exist if they were.

Can someone point to a reason for doing it this way.

Yep, I can. Two in fact.

The gate is the reason. The gate has to open; if the panels were permanent, there are any number of reasons the gate wouldn’t be openable for some random thing. (Also, see “transport of field”.) For example, there’s a high chance of hitting the adjacent Lexan panels, which would mean something would need to flex.

The OTHER reason, which I believe predates your involvement by quite some time, is that the fields were first built in this general configuration back in 1999. Not sure if it was these specific fields, and certainly it wasn’t all of them, but there was no guarding between the upper barrier and the lower barrier for quite a while. I don’t recall seeing anything until 2004 or so, maybe 2003. There was an incident in Arizona '03 where a team autonomously shot around the corner, went up and over the ramp, went down the other side,took a left turn–and went under the guardrail to under the STANDS before auto ended, and before someone got to the E-stop. So the Lexan was added (I want to say that for a year or so a steel cable was used instead) to stop that, and attached by zipties. Gate guards were added as well. As new fields were built, they were built the same way as the older ones (consistency is the key here–get a team that does well on a new field and poorly on an old, or vice versa, and you’ll hear the complaining for miles around).

I’ve heard some rumors of something to address the field thing… have someone from your team at Championship look around very carefully, not near the competition fields; one rumor said that it would be there (but rumors are rumors, so who knows?).