FIRST 101 [10/10/05]

Hello class.

I know you are all upset that you had to come in for class on a holiday…but this is FIRST…we have competition on Easter and (GACK!) St Patricks Day!!!

The New England Tournament

Contrary to popular belief, FIRST actually did not have regional competitions before 1995. As a matter of fact, until 1995 the National Championship was held in high school gyms in New Hampshire. Next time you are in the Georgia Dome among thousands of people, looking down on 5 fields take a moment to imagine this picture…

Imagine your average regional competition…shrink it down, scale the field by half and multiply it by two, and then put it in your average high school gymnasium…oh, but keep the same number of teams and people.

Did you know that the site of the first national championship was Memorial High School (home of current team 238). It is also the site of this years River Rage Competition!

Sound a little hot and sticky?

Thats how the National Championship was back before 1995. The beauty about competitions like that…the intimacy of the crowd and event caused for an electricy which is unmatched to this date.

In 1995 FIRST held its first “regional” competition. The New England Tournament. This competition was held at Memorial high school and featured teams from all across america. There was no qualifying system back then, it was more of a tune up tournament for the Nationals at Disneyworld. It would continue on in 1996 when the one regional was held at New Hampshire College in Manchester. Oh the joy of trying to get into the gym to see your team compete when fire fighters and police are telling you “no you can’t go in there because the fire codes are breaking!”.

One of the more interesting facets of FIRST during the first couple of years of regional play (or National play before 1995)…you could bring your robot with you to the competition. Thats right…no shipping or drayage…just throw ol sparky in the back of the ol pickup and be off! There were actually many occasions where teams were litterally building the robot in the truck on the way to Manchester!

I bet by the time end of build time comes…you would be loving that build time in the back of the truck…wouldn’t ya?

-Professor Grady

well, that was very enlightening… there seems to be no humanly possible way that all those people and the feild and pits could be in our gym… lol.
but yes, appreciation for the regionals now is better!