Dealing with disapointments

I’m not afraid to speak out and admit that I get jealous and disappointed about outcomes of certain things. I keep telling myself that going 5-2-0 and proving our worth on Galileo is a pretty good way to end off the year, but I can’t shake myself from a certain sense of disappointment. I of course know that there were awesome teams way better than us who got overlooked in Atlanta and weren’t selected (example: 20), but for me, losing or not being selected is tough to deal with. I wanted to get a few words of advice or encouragement from some mentors out there, especially the big guys out there. Not generic stuff like analyze what can be improved for the next year, but something a bit more personal would be nice, I took this as a big hit to my morale and I can’t fully understand why even though I know that its not the robot that matters in this competition.

Thank you to anyone who can help me get out of a little bit of a disappointed mood.

By the way, Rich Kressly and John Neun, you are friggin awesome, great machines and great to meet you.:slight_smile:

2nd edit: anyone have close up pics of 973’s Raptor, that thing was such a beast, I only got distanced fuzzy shots of it in action. Thanks.

It’s probably not going to help but you have to be pragmatic about it. There are 62 teams who also didn’t get in and they are feeling just as hurt as you are and you just have to get over it and move on really. If you are just going to dwell on the perceived injustice of it all then you are just going to come across as bitter and that’s really not going to do you or your team any good.

Any time you don’t do well at something, you must characterize why and take positive action next time to minimize whatever caused those “whys” from the previous time, so that you’re chances of encountering the same scenario in the future are lesser.

After winning the Wisconsin Regional, having a decent run in Atlanta, and making it to the semi-finals at IRI last year, we were feeling really good. Then we ended up going 2-6 at the Wisconsin Regional this year. We were so heart broken that things weren’t going our way. We didn’t end up being picked or winning an award. It was probably my worst regional experience ever. At least as far as performance goes.

But I found that I had learned more from that robot and that regional than I have with any other. I had the rest of my spring break to think about it and it made me want to get a notebook and fill every page with a list of things that I should’ve done differently. I think you too will find that its at our lowest that we really learn the most.

I’m not going to say that losing is okay and that you should just forget about it. It sucks. I hate it too. But its something that makes you human. It’s going to hurt and its going to eat at you a bit. But it’s the bad times that make the good times great. MORT has a fantastic past and will have great moments again in the future. And when things look up for you, you’ll remember these bad times, and they’ll seem so worth it. When we run across times like these, we MUST keep pushing through it all. We MUST keep struggling.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

I think its hard to consider any season a disappointment. For the 6 years I’ve been in FIRST, my team has never won a regional, been in the finals once, and overall had some of the worst luck when it comes to Saturday afternoon matches. Regardless, I know each season has been far from a loss. Recognizing weak points and building upon those the following year is crucial to success, I’m sure any seasoned veteran team can tell you that.

I too realize how hard it can be to think you could have done more. The team I mentored built an excellent robot, really top notch for this year’s game IMO. Unfortunately, we had less than experienced drivers (crucial to this year’s game) and lack-luster pit organization that ultimately prevented us from performing to the best of our robot’s abilities.

Did we have a great season? You bet. Are there plenty of areas we can improve upon? Always. The team has taken it in stride, and we’ve already begun off-season projects and training that will prepare us better than ever for next year’s competition. If you do the work and give it your best, I think any team is capable of pulling off a 67-esque season. Thats what we’re going for next year :wink:

There are teams that go years before achieving “big success” if you define that by winning awards or being in the elims. Let alone winning any tournament. The only way they make it to Atlanta is to pre-pay. And FIRST recognizes and accepts that; the reason for the pre-pay option is to give every team the opportunity to come to Atlanta at least once in a student’s 4-year career. (And in the last few years, at least every other year.)

If teams set realistic goals for themselves, they will not be disappointed. Sure, everyone wants to be an alliance captain (or at least be selected to an alliance), wants to advance in the tournament. Everyone likes awards. But if you celebrate the many successes you have along the way, you won’t be disappointed when you don’t achieve the “big success”. Remember the true successes: those students who achieved so much, and who improved and learned to set themselves up for the only true successes we should care about - their futures.

It felt as if some invisible force was against our team this year. We missed the ball on the design of the robot and broke just about everything we could on the robot. Still, we know we were amazing out on the field and did the best we could. We are happy our alliance did not lose because our robot broke down. But here is a big life lesson:

**You can only control your own actions. **

You did your part by showing off your robot and playing an amazing game out on the field. You cannot control the fact that you did not get picked or that your alliance partners failed on your or that any hardware FIRST provided failed on you. Things like this are always going to happen and the best you can do is put everything in your favor to win.

At this point of the year, I think you should look at things differently. First, be proud and happy of all your achievements this year. Look at what you could have done better and write it down for next year. Come up with an implementation for next year. That is the best you can do.

[disclaimer]I don’t come from one of the high-level teams from which you’ve solicited advice [/disclaimer]

This was the fifth season for team 1529, the CyberCards. In our short lifespan, we’ve been to exactly six regular season events. Due to personal and professional conflicts, this is the second year in a row that our engineering mentors have not been able to help the team - the CyberCards are truly student-run and student-built, and honestly it’s pretty obvious. For the past four years, we’ve consistently been at the bottom of each regional. This year, we were fortunate enough to join the 7th alliance at our regional, got knocked out in the first round, and I’d say that was probably the proudest moment in the students’ lives. Just the fact we were selected to compete in the eliminations energized the kids more than anything I had seen (keep in mind there were 35 teams at this year’s BMR, which means only 11 sat out).
For the first time, our students really believe in themselves. They’ve seen the robot perform admirably (although the W/L record doesn’t accurately reflect it), they’ve been a key member of a strong alliance, they handled themselves well, and they’ve set lofty goals for next year, including attending a second regional(!) I am personally very proud of what our team has accomplished this year and others, and I hope to see continued success.
To be 17-14 overall (heck, just to play in 31 matches in three competitions) would be a huge honor for our team. I would suspect half the team would wilingly chop off a finger just to go to Atlanta, let alone compete.

Please don’t take me the wrong way. For a while I’ve admired MORT (albeit from a distance) and I think you’ve got a quality program. I also think it’s great that, despite what we would call fantastic success, you’re left feeling unfulfilled and disappointed. To me that means you want to continue to grow and improve, and that’s admirable. But sometimes we just need a little bit of perspective.

Here are a few thoughts from a mentor helping a small team from a small community: disappointment is normal; the passage of time helps reframe those feelings. This may sound trite, but it’s true.

I find that disappointment often stems not so much from failing to win a trophy but specifically from not gaining the public recognition we feel our efforts warrant. Celebrity will always be a coveted status, meaning in a general sense ‘reputation’ or ‘renown’.

The anonymity of a huge venue like Championship can be overwhelming. The vast overwhelming majority of FIRST teams who continue to inspire their students & compete each year despite relative anonymity have my utmost respect. (Role model teams help tremendously when they recognize the efforts of smaller teams that often fly under the radar for years. Those team awards many have created & give out go a long way toward easing the disappointment felt by often otherwise unrecognized teams.)

I find participation in smaller, off season events helps to refocus & rebuild faith in all a team has achieved.

We won a regional after being undefeated in qualifying and seeding first. In Newton we were 5-2 and seeded 17th, and were picked near the end and lost both quarterfinal matches. I had a great time, we came in knowing the competition was very tough, and that we had a one in eight chance of getting to Einstein, and we should just give it our best, and have fun.

I can’t think of anything we realistically could have done differently either as a team or with the robot that would have made us do better.

It was tough out there! There are a LOT of great teams and great robots this year. I think that’s a good thing.

First off let me just say that team #11 MORT is one of the most respected teams in FRC history. I know team #343 looks to teams such as yours along with teams like 25, 71, 103, 111, 118, 217, etc as our role models. We see you guys field a competitive robot along with a very solid and dynamic team every year. That in and of itself is a HUGE accomplishement. There have been many teams that have come and gone over the years and yet you guys serve as a cornerstone for our sport.

I know we have had our share of good on field performance and recognition, maybe more than we deserve sometimes, but we have also felt the same level of dissapointment as you have. Not being picked when you think you have a great machine is as much about the pride of the machine as it is seeing the dissapointment of the students.

What I have always preached to our team is that FIRST is a family. We all work together to achieve a higher goal. Our small contribution is just a single cog in the machine. We have so many friends in FIRST that there is always somebody who you can go root for. Teams that we have mentored, friendly teams that we have met, people we have been to “battle” with, they all allow us to live vicariously through them for that particular event should we not be fortunate enough to play.

Not being picked is an unfortuante microcosm of life. It’s a good experience for these young people to deal with. Being gracious when things don’t go as planned is the most valuable lesson in life. How you deal with that dictates how successful you will be in the future. Successful people use setbacks as fuel to drive them to the next level. As a mentor use this opportunity to teach them what to do next.

Just my $.02 worth, hope it wasn’t too wordy. Keep the faith my friend you and your team are awesome!

Mike Carron
Team 343 Leadership

I keep telling myself that going 5-2-0 and proving our worth on Galileo is a pretty good way to end off the year, but I can’t shake myself from a certain sense of disappointment.

I was going to post some words of encouragement and then I saw this:

2009 SAC Regional CHAIRMAN’S AWARD!!! - 1323 MadTown Robotics
2009 Philly Regional #7 Seed (7-2-0)
2009 Philly Regional Quarter-Finalists #4 Alliance. Thank you 222 and 316! 1st pick.
2009 New Jersey Regional Chrysler Team Spirit Award for EWCP
2009 New Jersey Regional Semi-Finalists #4 Alliance. Thank you 422 and 1807! 1st pick.

You went to three regionals and rocked, you went to Atlanta, the big game and racked up a 5-2 record, which puts you in the top 20% of ALL the teams from around the world. You had an amazing season! YOUR ROBOTEERS HAD AN AMAZING SEASON!! There are teams that would sell Grandmothers (sorry Grams) to have mentors like you. All I can suggest that you do is try to transfer some of your knowlege and skills to other teams near you to help them get better.

Well Akash, as you know 179 went home early too. According to our scouting, if you dropped our first match, that we scored zero with the bot while the opposing alliances strategy was simply to avoid us, we averaged 15 balls a match (our last match we had 23 balls). That was the 4th highest scoring average in Galileo, and we didn’t get picked. Talk about surprised… Thats the first time since 2003 we haven’t been in finals. But the way I look at it, I knew nobody was going to beat 111 and 67 - or even if it was 111 and 71. There was no beating that alliance, and it was the one we wanted to be on.
I knew great teams would get passed up in a crowd like this, it’s statistically inevitable. The best team(s) won and thats the good part. Pat’s right in saying the smaller venues will give you the chances and confidence we all need. I consider us extremely LUCKY to have made it to Einstien in 2007, as I consider us unlucky to not have been picked this year. As everyone knows luck has a lot to do with it, and you can’t win em all. That really is a good lesson.

I know how disappointing it is for a team not to be picked. I saw many bypassed this past weekend. Please take this to heart. I can’t speak for other teams in the same situation, but WildStang values the data it collects on robots and human players. Many of our students were involved in scouting and strategy and all of that collected data was looked over and considered in our final decisions. Teams that are in a position to pick are (or should be) looking for teams that best complement their own design and strategy. Unfortunately, that means that great teams and robots get bypassed because they either perform the same function as the picking team or another team has just a little more of an edge. This year’s game is so diverse and so strategic that it makes picking an alliance a very difficult job. No one should feel bad they didn’t get picked, there were too many great teams to pick from, especially in Galileo. The odds are against getting picked as you know and being in a picking situation is sometimes made as much from luck as anything else. Be proud of your accomplishments, you had a good robot. Remember I could see it from the inspection station.

Good advice here so far. To add/reiterate:

  1. Time will help frame all disappointments. It has a special way of letting you remove yourself from your situation and seeing it for what it is. And I know for a fact that MORT has much to be proud of.

  2. In FIRST, as in almost all aspects of life, there is a lot of luck that needs to go your way to get the top prizes. If you truly did all you could do then there is no reason to hang your head.

  3. You can let disappointment affect you in many ways. You can be angry, you can be sad, or you can let it push you to be better. The operative point is that it is you who decides how to let it affect you. The way chosen by most of the successful people in FIRST should be obvious.

First off, let me tell you that I feel almost exactly the same way. This year we also went 5-2 in Galileo, but we know that teams are better than us. Also, this year marked our third year without a regional win. That is the longest period that our team has ever gotten and so me, as a leader, i feel the pressure.

But this year we had a lot of ambitious people who took these loses in stride and learned from them. In the past I just assumed we’d get a win sooner to later, but now I’m convinced that we need to work harder or else we’re won’t succeed at the levels that the team desires.

The only thing you can do now is to take the loss and let it fuel your desire for better things in the future.

Team 1511 went 5-2-0 on Newton, just as you folks did on Galileo. We were seeded 12th and did some pretty amazing stuff on the field, yet were not chosen during alliance selections. (And there was another team seeded even higher that wasn’t chosen - my sincere apologies for not remembering who that was, I’m still sleep-deprived!!)

Was it disappointing? Yes, but the truth is that if you want to be “fairly” rewarded for your accomplishments, you must compete in 1) an individual event, with 2) objective measurements. There’s a large amount of luck and subjectivity in FIRST events, and you have to rely not only on your teammates but on other teams that you may be completely unfamiliar with. That means that sometimes you’ll get a lucky break, and sometimes you’ll be passed over. It’s the nature of the competition.

The best consolation is to know that your team did the best it could. If you did your best, learned something, and had fun…well, that’s what FIRST is all about! :slight_smile:

Akash, Im going to give you some advice that I have followed for the last couple years in all that I do.

Fail Faster, Learn More, Focus and Execute

If you guys feel you failed (didn’t get picked/pick) then you need to find what lessons you can take from it and how you can improve. Then you need to focus on the CHANGES and Execute them. If you feel your robot wasn’t up to par with the other robots consider revising your design process. If you feel your drivers were not as good as they could have been perhaps you need to rethink how you choose them/train them. (I’m not saying either of these was the problem, just stating examples)

Remember, design is an iterative process, you are never done. You can always improve, apply this philosophy to everything you do and sooner or later you will find yourself down on Einstein (or however you measure success)

after we went 1-6 on newton,I felt pretty bummed:rolleyes: …

I dont know about you guys really, But loosing makes it easier for me to win next time, because, now I have a even better reason to win :o

I just remember that I built that robot(with help) and it worked, and thats something alot of people couldent do…

Losing sucks. It even happens to the best of them. Thats all that can really be said. Except for learn from the dissappointments for next year and come back with a vengance.