FIRST Historians - [9-22-03]

This week’s story comes from Andrew Rudolph, from the 2000 season:

A very memorable season for myself (aren’t they all?) was the 2000 season. If you don’t know what the game was that year basically it involved balls, 6 foot high troughs for scoring, a 1 foot high ramp and a 5 foot high bar on the ramp. And you needed to score points using balls and then being on the ramp or hanging off of the bar w/o touching the floor.

2000 was my first season as a real participant; in 1999 I went to nationals with my brother and team 168 as an 8th grader. And I came on to team 212 after having a great rookie season the year before placing 6th at the regional. The build season was interesting after having an engineer and having to basically fire the engineer, because he had not done a thing we had wanted him to do, he built a bot for himself. But we finished the robot after loosing 3 weeks to him. Then when we went to the KSC regional we found that our robot’s Arm was very consistent at getting the 5 point ball and hanging with great strength. But because we slapped the bot together our drive train was ok, and our weight distribution was awful. But we managed and made our way through the qualifying rounds. KSC was the first regional of the year and FIRSTs computer scoring system broke down, so we went through the Friday without knowing our ranking or QPs. Then at the awards ceremony they said we were in 6th! A great feat considering the stress of the build season. Then we came into Saturday and consistently got the 5 point ball and climbed the bar. Our bot wasn’t really so much a climber but it would do more of a pull up, the arm we had was very powerful and we would sometimes pull up and the corner of our holding basket would be caught on the side rail and you could see the basket being bent like a piece of wire.

So then at the end of qualifying rounds we were in 3rd place. So when we went up to pick our alliance we decided to go with another relatively new team that had picked us the year before team 180, SPAM. Then when it came to our second choice we decided we would go with another Miami team 57 Ramtech. We knew their bot would work very well with us and SPAM. So we won our first round of elimination matches and then went up against the then rookie team 343. They had a nice scissor lift and drive train and were very, consistent as well. So in our first match we won, but at a big cost. See 2000 was the first year of the IFI systems. And as some people will tell you they were a little buggy. One bug was that if it got hit too hard it would loose the program that was on it. So as we were hanging on the bar we were hit hard by one of the other teams. And our bot stopped working. Then as we took it off the field we say the blinking red light of doom, the Basic Error light. Our program was lost. And ill Always remember the face that our arm operator had on his face when he discovered the problem. We knew SPAM and Ramtech were strong bots so we had faith they could take the win. Then another snag in our road came, our programmer couldn’t come on the trip with us, and he didn’t give us a copy of the program, and he was in New York. So this means we had no other software to upload to get the bot back up and running. So as programmers programmed they couldn’t figure out how to make a 1 stick program like we had before. So we got another stick and our driver had to learn real fast how to drive 2 stick. So we got the bot back up somewhat, but Ramtech and SPAM wasn’t enough to stop the other alliance. So we went on to see if we could take it all. And we got up there and the river hit the sticks to go and the bot turned. They programmed one to go forward and one to go backwards. So he is there trying to drive a bot in an entirely new way. Eventually we lost to the other alliance and had to go home and find a new program for the bot. Definitely an exciting year.

Since you’ve just enjoyed this story, perhaps you would enjoy writing one of your own? The queue is down to 1, now, so I really, really need more stories if you want this to keep going. That is all.