Fierce Competition and Scarce GP

I’m not sure if anyone else experienced this, but at the Midwest Regional it seemed in general as if there was a lack of patience, and enthusiasm, among the participants. Mostly this became apparent at the awards ceremony as there was a general lack of enthusiasm except for a few teams. I saw that people were clapping merely out of courtesy.

Personally, I believe it is because the way this year’s game is structured. This year, the game is structured more around the robots themselves being of strategic importance in the game, whereas last year it was mostly centered around the goals. This year, if you effectively remove your opponent from the game, you win the match, simple as that. Because of this, I found many teams using quite violent tactics (ie. flipping, ramming, cornering, etc) merely to win a match. While the game has been, and should continue to be, centered around a little physical contact, I don’t believe it should be centered around the amount of violence that has been displayed.

FIRST has said that they are more than “winning”, yet why do they structure the game in such a way that promotes robot violence? I bring this up so that this issue can be adressed before next year and tragedy can be averted.

Perhaps I am wrong. Any other thoughts on this? Maybe I am just behind the times and the rules/morals of FIRST are starting to change.

I did notice a lot of intentional violence. Many teams did go for a lot of physical prowess rather than speed and dexterity with the boxes.

I also noticed that many people did not clap at all, at Peachtree. Clapping would last for a mere three or four seconds before it died down during Saturday’s awards. Many teams left before awards. And the mood was contagious-- even when clapping for teams we liked, we sat down after about ten or twenty seconds of clapping, because it feels awkward to be the only ones on your side of the stands standing and clapping.

This being my rookie year, I don’t know if that’s standard procedure to lose that many people prior to the end of the competition, but it was certainly disconcerting.

If this isn’t what it was last year, I’d like to see FIRST go through a reversion. GP is definitely something I liked about this competition, and if there’s more to be had, let’s have it.

*Originally posted by Vincent Chan *
I also noticed that many people did not clap at all, at Peachtree. Clapping would last for a mere three or four seconds before it died down during Saturday’s awards. Many teams left before awards. And the mood was contagious-- even when clapping for teams we liked, we sat down after about ten or twenty seconds of clapping, because it feels awkward to be the only ones on your side of the stands standing and clapping.

Coming from an individual who was a rookie last year, don’t let that get you down. Come back next year and see how things go.

Last year people would clap straight through all the awards. I noticed a majority of people were rather cheerful throughout the entire competition. This year I noticed the same thing that you experienced, people would sit down halfway through while teams were still high-fiving the judge’s hands. Some people didn’t even bother clapping for the Regional Winners. It felt as if there was a tension in the arena.

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
** Some people didn’t even bother clapping for the Regional Winners. It felt as if there was a tension in the arena. **

That is the one thing I have noticed. One of the things that really made FIRST special for me was that there was no tension between teams. It didn’t matter if you had just lost to a team in the finals. You still shake their hand, tell them they did an excellent job and be happy that they succeeded because they deserved it just as much as your team did. However, I’ve noticed a change in that this year. Teams are “fixing” matches to seed in the top eight. Others are attempting to flip robots to gain an advantage in the match. This year, it has become evident what teams truly do practice Gracious Professionalism, and which have a win at all cost attitude.

At the Philly, the majority of teams did sit down relatively quickly after the winners were announced, but we at MOE had some fun with the award ceremonies. If anyone was there or watched the webcast, the camera showing the team members walk through the tunnel of judges showed the sea of green known as the Miracle Workerz in the background. We were doing all kinds of dances in unison for the camera while clapping our sticks, just trying to get the crowd to look a little more alive.

I just hope that FIRST does not regress further as time goes on. As much as I like the 2v2 setup over 4v0, it is causing the matches to become demolition derbies. Pinning has become a common practice. Robots crashing into one another at the top of the ramp, relentlessly trying to get robots on top off. Some are even targeting exposed electrical panels with their arms. This is just starting to look more and more like battlebots.

Everyone keeps posting about how the overall mood of FIRST is changing. I don’t believe this is true.

Need proof that Gracious Profesionalism is alive and well?

Check out this thread.

For every bad experience/event that is publicised on this board, there are 10 positive things that go unnoticed.

I urge everyone to post more about the positive experiences they see at competition.

My favorite new story is from UTC. My Aunt came to the regional, and happened to bring her 5 year old godson along for the trip. By saturday, all he could talk about was going back to kindergarten, and showing off his newly obtained collection of robotics pins at show and tell. His favorite pin belonging to the regional champion, who happened to be one of his favorite teams to cheer for.
This little boy was a die-hard technotick’s fan by the end of the weekend… Even though 236 ran out of buttons, someone from the team itself donated a personal pin to this little boy… (even if he didn’t choose 229 as his favorite… at least the kid has good taste!)

As if there is more proof needed then this kid’s smile that FIRST is still “working”…

Rock on TechnoTicks! Rock on Gracious Profesionalism!

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
**I’m not sure if anyone else experienced this, but at the Midwest Regional it seemed in general as if there was a lack of patience, and enthusiasm, among the participants.

Perhaps I am wrong. Any other thoughts on this? Maybe I am just behind the times and the rules/morals of FIRST are starting to change. **

I think it is good to confront the reality of a situation, so that something can be done about it. Personally, I think the rules/morals did change some this year and that some people have been put off by things like “game fixing” and having to throw your second match to win in the elimination rounds. I believe that the game lost some of its innocence, and so lost some of its joy, and more violence came in to fill the vacuum. But the joy can be restored, and we can shift away from violence at the same time. I think the post season forums are very important this year. We need to give FIRST some good ideas for next year’s game.

And yes, we do need need to notice the positive things that are occurring and “celebrate” them, while we are handling areas where things might be going a bit astray.

(Running a game where the object is different each year is not easy. It’s a real engineering challenge.)

Midwest wasn’t quite as lively as St. Louis, but I thought the teams did well in supporting each other during the awards. I also noticed some very intentional robot bashing… Even some robots chasing others around simply trying to ram them. I didn’t see much of this at St. Louis, but St. Louis would disqualify a team for almost any kind of behavior that was considered unsportsman-like (a.k.a. clapping and cheering when you knock a robot over).

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
**Last year people would clap straight through all the awards. I noticed a majority of people were rather cheerful throughout the entire competition. This year I noticed the same thing that you experienced, people would sit down halfway through while teams were still high-fiving the judge’s hands. Some people didn’t even bother clapping for the Regional Winners. It felt as if there was a tension in the arena. **
I also noticed the lack of enthusiasm during the awards … I think it was because the game this year was so physically draining that everyone was just tired. ::shrug:: I didn’t notice any tension when the regional winners were receiving their awards. At least there wasn’t any tension where we were. I think, overall, Midwest was great.

During the entire competition, I felt that team spirit was definitely there. The number of teams helping other teams was awesome. I saw gracious professionalism being practiced by a lot of teams both in the arena and in the pit area. Even at our hotel, the number of people who got together to hang out from other teams was awesome. While I agree with JNadke that there was a lack of enthusiasm during the awards, it wss definitely there the rest of the competition.

  • Katie

While this years game is very violent, what would you rather have; more kids joining the program and changing their lives yet loosing a bit of FIRST from previous years, or keeping the previous years ‘fun for the participants, not fun for the spectators’ idea? I saw many spectators at Annapolis and explained the game at least 4 times to people. They watched for a long time. I would rather sacrifice a bit of the FIRST game ideas for inspiring more kids to join the program.

As long as the ‘gracious professionalism’ and the good will between teams is there, I see it as a ‘win-win’ situation.

The Silicon Valley Regional in my experience has typically been on of the lesser “spirited” regionals, but this year was different.

There were many great rookie teams who came out here in force, all with fresh spirits. Harker 1072, the Jesuit School 1097, just to name a few. They really made an impact on the event, kept the atmosphere exciting.

Silicon Valley had on of the best levels of G.P. That I have seen yet. Everyone was willing to loan/donate parts, and people treated each other well on and off the field.

I believe i had started one of the threads questioning G.P.'s health, but i am happy to say that i have been proven wrong. I look forward to a great Championship event, full of Gracious Professionalism.

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
FIRST has said that they are more than “winning”, yet why do they structure the game in such a way that promotes robot violence?

Because no one watches 4v0 non-violent competitions. As a general rule, we like “physical” violent type competitions that are fun to watch, some examples:

Wrestling, Racing (crashes, horsepower, torque, etc), Football. It’s the reason Baseball is going down in popularity and the reason BattleBots became so popular. If you want to change the world, you have to get the whole world to be involved with you somehow, just think on that.

More Positive Things

*Originally posted by Johca_Gaorl *
**Because no one watches 4v0 non-violent competitions. As a general rule, we like “physical” violent type competitions that are fun to watch, some examples:

Wrestling, Racing (crashes, horsepower, torque, etc), Football. It’s the reason Baseball is going down in popularity and the reason BattleBots became so popular. If you want to change the world, you have to get the whole world to be involved with you somehow, just think on that.

More Positive Things **

If you’re compromising the foundation of your effort to change the culture by bending to gain more popularity, how much are you really changing, exactly?

*Originally posted by M. Krass *
**If you’re compromising the foundation of your effort to change the culture by bending to gain more popularity, how much are you really changing, exactly? **

That’s true, I was just trying to answer the one question though. Do you think we are compromising the foundation of FIRST? I’m not sure.

*Originally posted by Johca_Gaorl *
**That’s true, I was just trying to answer the one question though. Do you think we are compromising the foundation of FIRST? I’m not sure. **

I think the rapid growth and the bid to make the competitions more spectator friendly have great potential to ruin a lot of the benefits students receive from being in the program, yes.

I think that’s a large part of the reason we’re seeing so many threads like this pop up, as well.

This is why the top of the ramp is worth too much, and is why stacker bots rule!

Greg

Yeah…

This year does seem to be more agressive than last year. This, i think, is because of that battle-bot idea. FIRST is trying to spread it self which requires it to attract more people. They can attract more people through more conflict in the game.

Face it: And outsider doesn’t want to watch a game unless there is some conflict. (Football = People running into each other like crazy) So, FIRST is trying to be two sides at once - Create a game where all teams win & a game with competition that attracts people.

Which one is better, well both and neither. I’d say that the game this year created a lot of new, good challenges for the teams. It also increased the rivalry between the teams.

I guess I really don’t have a side on this. I want there to be a unity between the teams, but I also want to see first be spread.

Jack

*Originally posted by Matt McNelley *
**Midwest wasn’t quite as lively as St. Louis, but I thought the teams did well in supporting each other during the awards. I also noticed some very intentional robot bashing… Even some robots chasing others around simply trying to ram them. I didn’t see much of this at St. Louis, but St. Louis would disqualify a team for almost any kind of behavior that was considered unsportsman-like (a.k.a. clapping and cheering when you knock a robot over). **

I agree, the refs at st louis did say that they would disqualify for unsportsmanship, but its hard not to grin when an opponent tips over.

I’m sure I clapped during midwest, but I’m not sure how enthusiastic I was because I was bummed about what happened to our team. That saturday morning at alliance choosing time, we were thrilled. Through the powers that be, we wound up tenth. Because of alliance choosings, we were bumped up to be head of the 8th alliance. We chose 201 and 247 as our partners. The disturbing part is that we suffered a motor problem in our last match and our pit crew worked frantically to fix the motor. It still wasn’t fixed by our quarterfinal, so we stayed out of the first match. 201 and 247 did well, but we lost 69 to 62, setting us back 130 points. When we came in, disaster occured. When autonamous started, the supposedly fixed motor blew a pin. Because we use tank drive, the robot swerved to the right, and ran into the wall. The wheel went outside the arena, and we were disabled. This deeply bummed me. Sorry about all that, just needed to vent.

I felt that at the Silicon Valley regional, Dean Kamen was trying to stress that FIRST is not battle bots and that people are beginning to lose the vision of what FIRST was first started as. His tone of voice was as though he was sad at everyone for their misaction and disregard for G. P. Next year the rules are probably going to be a lot stricter upsetting those who thought that by disabling the other robot, they could then win. Being part of a rookie team, I have no previous knowledge of how teams acted in the past. All I know that support for other teams seemed really lacking at the regionals. People were barely supporting eachother (e.g. clapping for others, cheering even if their robot wasn’t on the field). To me there was a lack of G. P. and I think teams should reevaluate what is truly important at a regional other than winning by any means necessary.