FRC Blogged - Championship and You Folks are So Nice!

Taken from the FRC Blog, 5/2/13:

Championship and You Folks are So Nice!

Blog Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 09:11

There is so much to say about Championship but I only have the energy right now to cover a few items. The week after Championship is one of the few quiet weeks we have at FIRST, so many of us are taking a couple days off to catch up on our rest. After a very full Championship schedule, this break is something all of us – teams, volunteers, and staff – really need!

My sense is that overall, we had a great Championship, but we’ll be sending out a detailed survey to everyone who attended so we can better understand what went well, and where we fell short. Bob’s email to teams already talked about two key FRC-specific areas we’ll definitely be working on – getting you more plays, and improving real-time scoring. We’ll also be doing what we can from our perspective to shorten up that closing ceremony.

I’ll have a blog next week that goes in to more detail on this topic.

You Folks are So Nice!

You folks really are so nice, much nicer than you need to be, and certainly much nicer than I deserve. I’ve been overwhelmed by the very generous comments about me and the direction FRC has taken on Chief Delphi and the social media outlets. It’s unexpected, and wonderful. I’m deeply touched. Thank you.

I want to emphasize, though, that if things in FRC are going well, it’s because of the FRC staff. I have 18 of the finest people you can imagine working in FRC. They’re innovative, they’re smart, they work hard, and most importantly, they care. When something doesn’t go well for the teams, it hurts them personally, and they do everything they are able to make it right and fix it so it doesn’t happen again. There have been numerous behind-the-scenes changes in FRC over the past several months, making this program better, and it’s the creativity and energy of the staff that is driving this forward. You may not know their names, but they absolutely deserve thanks and recognition.

I’ll blog again soon.


More qualification matches at Champs and better improving real-time scoring? Awesome. Frank and everyone else over at FIRST HQ are the best!

I think it might be the first time that anyone at FIRST HQ has mentioned CD by name. I think it’s great that Frank and his staff seem to be monitoring it daily. It gives everyone a voice.

I will say though that I absolutely love the idea of more matches and better real time scoring, BUT, I hope that game design doesn’t suffer. I don’t want “simple” games for the sake of faster reset and easier real time scoring.

I know there are plenty of smart people working on the GDC and I’m confident they can find a way to accomplish both.

I’d actually prefer simpler games. I think 2012 did that well. What I don’t want is easy games. The two concepts are very different. A game that can be quickly understood, like basketball, is very good for spectators and teams alike. As long as the game is hard enough that you can’t “do everything”, I’m happy with simple, easy to understand games.

I’m pretty sure they mentioned CD when giving out the volunteer of the year award at champs - Al’s 9,000 posts certainly made an impact!

Everyone I’ve worked with at FIRST definitely “gets it” and does everything they can to make sure the program runs smoothly. I certainly hope they continue down the path of openness and communication they’ve been working on for the past year or so!

Merrick 2013

I was about to say exactly this!

Logomotion was not a very strategically deep game, but it took me a very long time to explain the game to any spectators my teams brought to events. The last two games are easy to understand, and difficult, but had different ways of displaying difficulty. 2012 was a subtly difficult game, with having to arc shots and compromising frame perimeter vs. endgame.

2013 had obvious challenges that allowed a lot of teams to focus efforts on completing simple tasks well while powerhouses could still build great robots that scored more points. 2013’s frame perimeter rules, game piece rigidity, selectively open field, and smaller safe zones invited the most strategic depth we have ever seen in the 3v3 era, except maybe keeping track of the rack in 2007.

I think after making easy-to-understand games in 2010, 2012, and 2013, and the community’s affinity to them over 2008, 2009, and 2011 will/did influence the development of the 2014 game. The increased importance the GDC has put on autonomous and the evening-out of the endgame with the general teleop period has also made the game a lot more exciting and has made teams consider more about their build to capitalize on autonomous points and time spent pursuing endgame points.

A game that could combine the strategic depth and universal team-by-team success we had this year coupled with near-perfect real-time-scoring would be more than ideal, it would be practically perfect. I was already happily surprised to see 2013 play out so much better than 2012, which I thought was the best game in the modern era.

I also believe it’s become clear that FIRST defines its success by the satisfaction of not only its investors (sponsors), but also its customers/products (us), which is a belief I did not have until recently. That is the biggest success story of the year.

Two things…

  1. HQ has been on CD for years. Sometimes lurking, sometimes posting under pseudonyms, most of the time just reading and taking notes.

  2. Be careful what you wish for. With 100 teams per division there is only so many plays that can be had in a given amount of time. Do teams (and mentors) really want to start matches at 0600 and play until 2100 to get in 2 more matches? See where I am going with this? More matches also equates to more hours. More hours equates to more days. I would venture to guess that most vols and mentors were pretty beat after being on site for 12-14 hours a day for 3 days straight.

I bet that if Frank made a CD account, he’d be right on par with Bill Miller in terms of reputation/post…

To address some points in this blog post:
Never have I disagreed more with Frank then now. How could he possibly say something I so vehemently oppose? :ahh:

You folks really are so nice, much nicer than you need to be, and certainly much nicer than I deserve.

Understatement of the year much? He most certainly deserves all of this, and MORE. [strike]I also wish that Bill would release the names of the other 18 people so we can thank them in full as well. But alas, that might be divulging too much. [/strike] Thank you Mr. McLeod! NOw to figure out the best way to thank all thee staff…what would a good sized gift basket be for FIRST HQ…

Bob’s email to teams already talked about two key areas…more plays…improved scoring…shortening up closing ceremony.

WOW! All of this being improved? That’s insane! They really do listen, and I honestly think they are trying their earnest to fix all of these problems. FIRST is a learning program, both for the students and the staff, and each year the program is growing and getting better. I’m proud to say that I’ve participated for four years, and am sad that I won’t get to experience these changes as a student. Mentoring ho!

The week after Championship is one of the few quiet weeks we have at FIRST, so many of us are taking a couple days off to catch up on our rest. After a very full Championship schedule, this break is something all of us - teams, volunteers, and staff really need!

I hear that Kansas is lovely this time of year; quite relaxing and away from all the hustle and bustle of the true city life…:rolleyes: (Look at where I reside.)

EDIT: Hello, Texas Torque post. And at such a great time! Congratulations on your well deserved World Championship. You’re no longer “the team from the back woods of Texas.”

The FRC Staff - Blog post 12/20/12
Chuck Harris joined after that I think.

In addition to thanking Frank, I just want to thank everyone on the FRC Staff for all they do, and the passion they show this program. Having worked with and seen a few of these guys at events, u can tell they are really passionate about what they do.

So a big thankyou to the FRC Staff!!

Thank you FIRST Staff and Volunteers at CMP, Districts, and Regionals everywhere! :slight_smile:

As for increasing the number of matches and concern for stretching competition hours too far, why not just have more divisions? Talking with a few mentors and peers, we felt that there was enough room to add at least one or two more fields in middle of the Edwards Jones Dome. I don’t know how much this would complicate scheduling, seating, and Einstein match ups, but it is an option.

Also, thank you all FIRST Mentors, Volunteers, and Supporters for making such an amazing organization and learning experience possible for students around the world! :smiley: I’m just finishing up my final year of High School and moving on to an exciting future, but I promise that I’ll return over breaks to help mentor and volunteer at FIRST events!

Thanks for everything you’ve done and know that we appreciate it!

So my mother and I have actually done that.
Carla Proulx was the person primarily responsible for organizing the Dean’s List Summit, which was an absolutely amazing experience. Now, in my family, when you want to thank someone, you send them Godiva chocolate. Unsurprisingly, (we were told) that went over exceedingly well at HQ.

I do have to say that Frank is right that the FIRST staff is incredibly awesome. Whenever I talk with them I am always in awe of their dedication and their wealth of knowledge. We’ve gotten to Beta Test for four years and, as a student, its been great to be able to work with, in particular, Krista Pratt, Kevin O’Connor and Kate Pilotte. I’m pretty, almost definitely sure that during Beta Testing Kevin doesn’t actually sleep… (not that FIRSTers sleep much in general)

During my post-Championship “robot hangover” early this week, it occurred to me that another couple of hours per day wouldn’t really have made any difference. If I’m already getting too little sleep, it’s not that much of a problem to get just a little less.

Kansas sure does have something to suit everyone. 80 degree weather one day and snow the next. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds like Minnesota lately. :rolleyes:

If it takes until Wednesday (instead of Tuesday) for my body to not feel like I was hit by a truck, that’s worth a couple of hours. I’m in.