The (not so) quiet before the storm. The beginning of a new season is very exciting for all of us. Being a veteran of these boards, I’ve seen patterns develop and I’d like to suggest a little forethought and share a little story.
In four days we will hear from Dean, Woodie, Paul Shay, John Abele, and others. We will hear of culture changing, gracious professionalism, and the true meaning of FIRST. We will spend a little time relearning, energizing, and focusing on why we all do this. Then the 2005 game will be unleashed and we will get a close look at the 2005 manual soon thereafter. Changes are sure to take place, it’s inevitable.
Here’s where I suggest the forethought. Six weeks is very little time. We all will have a lot to do. For some high school seniors, this six weeks is the culmination of four years of hard work, accomplishment, and inspiration. ChiefDelphi is an incredible resource and a home base for a huge network of help during that six weeks and into competition season. This home for help, support, and encouragement needs to move us all forward to a successful ship date and into competition. The portal does not need to be jammed up with threads and posts bemoaning the changes. Honestly, I’m numb to reading one more “Why did FIRST change xyz… Don’t they know 123…” thread. I’d much rather read a “Hey rule abc changed this year … how are we overcoming that obstacle…” thread. Now here’s my little story…
Fall 2002 prior to kickoff. FIRST announces changes in the Chairman’s Award submission format. Four pages of text and pictures. A huge change from where some of the FIRST community (including yours truly) thought these award entries were going. No more videos/multimedia in the submission itself. I remember sitting with another team advisor with my head in my hands. “Why did we just invest in that extra video equipment, software, and training for kids? Last year’s winner had this awesome video in their submission and … argh!” I spent about 20 minutes bemoaning the changes to a trusted friend. After that 20 minutes the problem solving started. The realization that it’s not about the format or difference from last year set in. It’s about doing our best to adapt and move forward in the real-time changing world. As I recall, 2003 turned out to be a pretty good year for my former team.
My point? Not one CD post venting my frustration was necessary. When the change that frustrates you the most sinks in I urge you to seek out your trusted friend and talk to, email, or pm them. Spend your 20 minutes bemoaning. Then, rejoin the game, use the FIRST Q&A, start those useful threads, and get to the problem solving as fast as you can.
Six weeks and a few competitions go by in the blink of an eye. For those seniors, their FIRST student careers go by with it. Honor their commitment and make their last student year the best it can be. We all owe them that. If there are issues (and there always are), seek opinions here AFTER the craziness, put your points and possible solutions down on paper, and attend the post-season forums to be heard.
Have fun in 2005, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get to do this again.