[FRC Blog] A NEW Woodie Flowers Tradition is coming to an event near you, in 2022!

Posted on the FRC Blog, 2/14/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-a-new-woodie-flowers-tradition-is-coming-to-an-event-near-you-in-2022

A NEW Woodie Flowers Tradition is coming to an event near you, in 2022!!!

2022 FEB 14 | Written by Woodie Flowers Award Winners

In the early years of FIRST, Woodie, wearing his denim shirt, was a staple at every tournament. As FIRST grew, it became virtually impossible for him to be at every tournament because of the multiple tournaments each weekend! Now, as we get back to “in person” events and dynamic robotic challenges, we will need to be reminded of HOW to be back together, HOW to be Graciously Professional at events, and who else better to lead the way than Woodie? This year, in a fun and exciting way, we’ll all celebrate Woodie’s legacy! Gracious Professionalism, what’s that?! Many people consider Dr. Woodie Flowers to be the father of competitive robotics. Woodie helped create MIT’s renowned course “Introduction to Design”, which inspired many current competitive robotics and education programs. In FIRST, Woodie was also famously known for coining the term “Gracious Professionalism” (GP). It is part of the ethos of FIRST. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended. In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life.

This year a full-size color cutout of Woodie, wearing his famous signature denim shirt will be at each District Championship, Regional, and FIRST Championship! To carry out the tradition of Woodie’s shirt signing, a denim shirt will be near the cutout for YOU to sign. Once you sign the shirt, you are committing to carry on Gracious Professionalism in all that you do. Woodie loved to talk to you and share your excitement for FIRST, but more importantly he wanted you to get the most out of the FIRST experience by behaving as though your Grandmother was watching! We hope that by signing the shirt you will honor the legacy that Woodie established.

If your Woodie Flowers nominee wins the WFFA, they will also be awarded the signed shirt at that event! The signed shirt at the FIRST Championship will be presented to the WFA recipient for the event, and then it will become part of the existing collection of WFA shirts for awards ceremonies to come! So sign a shirt at the event and hey, when you sign the shirt post a photo of you with Woodie on Twitter: @WFAward or Facebook: @WoodieFlowersAward or Instagram: @WoodieFlowersAward and hashtag: #GPWoodie

Good luck with the rest of build season, treat everyone Graciously and enjoy the experience of a lifetime building your robot. See you all soon!

- The Woodie Flowers Award Committee


This is an incredible (and incredibly moving) idea, and I’m super jealous of all the folks who will become WFFAs this year. Well done once again to the WFA crew for bearing the standard of FRC and continuing to walk like Woodie.


I’m assuming each event will have its own COVID protocols regarding this shirt, like somehow sanitizing it before it being given out? Or collecting signatures digitally then getting them printed on (making it contactless)? Not sure if having a single item everyone is encouraged to touch and then giving it to someone is going to fly everywhere…

If COVID were proven to readily spread via surface contact I could see this being an issue… given the reality we live in I don’t think this is an issue at all.


The challenge is how to size this shirt… If they size it for Woodie, it won’t fit many… lol

I assume most won’t be wearing it. I think if our mentor gets it, we’d look into getting it framed or otherwise mounted.


Well, I mean, they select the WFFA before the event even starts, right? So if you are a mentor and you try on the shirt and it’s not your size you aren’t going to win that weekend. :smile:

So the WFFA questions students have to fill out will be:

  1. Why is your mentor awesome?
  2. What are qualities of Woodie that your mentor possesses?
  3. What is your mentor’s shirt size?

Seriously, though, this is an awesome idea and I hope that future generations of students will still feel the impact that Woodie had on the program for decades to come.


The Manteau Chooses the Mentor?

(Yes it’s a stretch, but I’m trying)

For the award ceremony is it like a Cinderella situation? Everyone publicly tries it on until the right fit is found. Is it a tailored Demin shirt?


certainly a lot more sanitary than glass slippers…

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