[FRC Blog] We're Listening

From http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-Were-Listening:

One of the many things I love about FIRST is the amount of passion so many of our community members have. I love it because it shows FIRST is meaningful to you, and you care about its future. I know that for many of us, FIRST isn’t just something that you do, it’s something that you are, and that fact can drive intense emotion when you see something happen with which you disagree. With yesterday’s announcement about FIRST going to two Championships starting in 2017, we’re seeing this passion by the truckload in the community’s reaction.

I personally believe that Championship is about two things – Inspiration and Recognition. I don’t think I’m going out on limb here. I believe some percentage of our teams deserve recognition. These are the teams that win the awards and have the great robots, strategy, and skill necessary to perform at the highest levels on the field. Those teams rightly get attention and accolades from the community for their tremendous accomplishments, and, I think, help drive the aspirations of teams that someday want to be able to perform at that level. I also believe, though, that all our teams deserve inspiration. Even if a team places dead last in the rankings at any given event, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the possibility for a positive transformation in a team member’s life by attending Championship – even if her team places dead last there, too. This is our goal – to have Championships at which, no matter how well a team’s robot does on the field, the event becomes a lifelong positive memory, a part of the team members’ narrative identities they use to explain to themselves, at least, who they are and what their purpose is. This is an extraordinarily high bar we’ve set, but ‘More Than Robots’ is not just a marketing slogan for us, it’s something that is, and always will be, our core.

Fundamentally, this change to two Championships is about making the Championship experience more accessible to more teams. Our plan right now is to have 400 FRC teams attending each of the two Championships, for 800 teams total. Assuming only a modest 6% growth in FRC teams in 2016 and 2017, the total number we will have when this second Championship becomes active in 2017 will be about 3,250. This means that about 25% of FRC teams will be able to attend. I would love to have every student on every FRC team be able to attend a FIRST Championship at least once in their High School FRC careers. Increasing the number of teams attending gets us closer to that. Most teams will still be earning their way to the events because of their performance during the regular season, or because of their performance in prior seasons, but a minority will be there because they got lucky with the waitlist. I believe this split path approach to Championship supports our mission to both recognize and inspire.

To meet our lofty goals, though, we will need your help. As Don said in his video, we want to engage members of the community in coming up with the best solutions possible to the challenges presented to this two Championship approach. The concerns you’ve expressed are valid. Over the next several months you will see a number of initiatives intended to engage the community in helping shape what these Championships and activities surrounding them will look like. As an example, we are currently planning a town-hall style meeting at the 2015 FIRST Championship that will allow the community to engage directly with Senior FIRST Leadership on this important change. In all of this, we need your help in doing what you do best – solve problems. I’m personally very interested in hearing your ideas about how we may be able to arrange for final matches between the winners of FIRST Championship Houston and FIRST Championship St. Louis.

Let’s work together to make these future Championships great.

Frank

Can I request that this be merged with the other thread in order to keep all the discussion in one place?

I’m personally very interested in hearing your ideas about how we may be able to arrange for final matches between the winners of FIRST Championship Houston and FIRST Championship St. Louis.

It’s good to read this. It’s still of great concern that this dramatic change was announced before any feedback was taken from HoF teams, WFA recipients, and other pillars of the community. But it’s good to see that Frank and co are open to suggestions about how to fix at least some of the many concerns this new plan has raised.

Sounds like they wont be changing the region lock, so no seeing 1114 :confused:

Also sounds like there’s still going to be one “better” championship.

I was about to post this actually! I was refraining in posting for the thread with the previous blog entry expecting a blog post like this.

As a person whose team has never been to champs (we almost went with the 2013 waitlist), I can see Frank’s reasoning really well (I’m probably biased). Champs is a dream for every team, regardless of their skill, and this makes it a lot more possible. Teams won’t be as deterred as easily once they face a bit of trouble because there’s a bigger chance of reaching their Ultimate Goal. Of course winning shouldn’t be an incentive as much as personal bests, but we all feel this way sometimes. Now all those thoughts about having the two championship winners competing against each other are possible. Robot joust anyone?

edit: That’s not to say everything is completely fine again forever and ever. People will still have concerns, but hopefully this way the concerns will be able to be touched upon and helped.

Have Faith in Frank! A solution will be found.

I think the community agrees that a True International Champion Alliance should be crowned. We just need to figure out how to do it in a way that will work elegantly.

Not necessarily true. If a legit suggestions are brought to the table. Like having one location be FTC, and the FLL programs while the otherocation is just FRC everyone might get what their looking for.

Of course FIRST could have just stuck with the plan they laid out a few years ago and everything would have been just fine…

This would be perfect, but i think they want to keep all the programs together so the younger people can see what they will eventually do and inspire them.

I like that they are listening, but it sounds like we are essentially redefining “Championships” to this often-bandied term “Super Regionals”.

So instead of regionals and championships, we will have regionals (or districts), two winning alliances from two “regional championships”, and then some form of match between those two for the real title of “World Champion”.

I like the passion that Frank has described for making sure as many students as possible make it to a championship. He has basically exactly described our team and our students. I think this concept will work if they acknowledge that these two regional championships are exactly that, regional championships, not dual world championships.

Actually, I think it would be more appropriate to keep the initial reactions in that first thread, with the updated ones here.

Being the overly optimistic person that I am, I have hope that these meetings and future endeavors by FIRST HQ will result in a more positive outcome than what everyone had originally panicked about yesterday. That being said, with all of my optimism, I still don’t know how many people will stay involved with the program, or why they should.

I agree. But one could also argue though that these FLL and FTC teams would rather have more slots at championship than they currently have than be squished with FRC just so they can see them every once in a while. The percentage of teams FLL can send to champs vs FRC isn’t even comparable.

Ugh, as much as I like Frank, this blog post just confirmed most of my biggest issues with the whole concept. Extremely disappointed.

They are taking community feedback into account now, but the FIRST senior leaders should’ve consultes some of the FRC community members before booking venues and marching forward. I am still if the opinion that we can get the inspiration and recognition… at the district championship and super regional level. Worlds is definitely an amazing and inspirational experience. I certainly wouldn’t be as active as I am if I hadn’t gone to worlds in high school. But as FRC becomes more and more commonplace, I feel like we can bring that amazing experience to a more accesible, local level, while having one amazing championship.

They want championships to be inspirational for people, but I can guarantee it won’t be as inspirational when you only get to interact with half of the FIRST community.

I understand that they want to engage more people and allow them to see the championships as a team, the method they’re going about doing this seems to me like it would cheapen the overall experience for everyone involved.

After reading this blog post, I feel 0% better about this whole situation. FIRST has totally swung and missed on this.

Stop making champs less inspirational, and work on making DCMP’s and Super Regionals more inspiring.

Asking for feedback after already making the decision is like a politician asking for their constituents’ input after already voting for a law.

It’s good that *FIRST *claims to be listening now, but I wish they would have asked sooner.

While I understand expanding championships to more teams, I don’t think 2 events is the solution. I like being able to meet and see all the great teams from Michigan, Canada, etc all at once. I’d much rather see one large championship with 800 teams. If we’re already at 8 divisions, why not just add some more teams to each? I get the time and volunteer issues, but it seems like a better alternative to multiple championships. And just having the two winning alliances play each other doesn’t solve much except possibly the “undisputed best of the season” issue, it still means we won’t get to see all the cool designs and amazing students and mentors from around the world.

This. This goes directly with the whole core of “raising the floor” of the competition. Two championships is much less inspirational than one, very little of my frustration with the situation is about the two top alliances playing each other, and that is the only thing that they seem to think it’s about.

This championship format is less inspiring and provides less inspiration for science and technology. The solution, in my personal opinion, is to make DCMPS’s and SR’s more inspiring. Raise the floor, don’t lower the ceiling.

I feel like this is how most people (including myself) feel about this issue.