Gracious Professionalism

We all talk about Gracious Professionalism a lot. It’s our common core value. It’s what binds FIRST folks together. It’s what defines us as “givers” and sets us apart from the “takers” in this world. We are all eager to try to explain it to those outside of FIRST who just don’t “get it”. So let’s talk about it here. What amazing, inspiring or just plain cool acts of GP have you witnessed this competition season? What unselfish acts have made you stop and think “This is why I love competing in FIRST”?

Our team has grown very close to team 1610 over the past couple of years. Over the past 3 years we have met them in the elimination rounds 4 times. This year we met in the finals of the Chesapeake regional in which we won. After receiving our medals we were going to get our picture taken and there they were waiting to give us hugs and tell us that there isn’t another team they’d rather lose to.

At Utah, I saw a team who had serious difficulties with their robot. A member of another team was constantly in their pit during the competition, helping to make their robot work. When they went on to win the regional, they brought him down to receive a medal as well.


This experience is dear to me because I’ve worked with 1772 on and off for the past two years up until this year when I started my rookie team with Billfred.

This year 1772 was good, far better than my team is yet. 1772 was playing on the level of powerhouse teams. We had worked together at Palmetto before going to Orlando and our students knew each other to a good extent. We never got to play in elims together as much as I or some of the students wanted to. After, in the end we had,to eliminate their alliance to continue in the elims at Orlando they all were somewhat dissapointed. Once finals ended they all came down to the floor pits and hugged and congradualted all of us and my students whom had become friends over the course of the events. It was a cool thing to see and I’m glad I got to witness it. Its not going to be the same without them competing in the SE regionals.

The huge amount of help we received while completely rebuilding a large portion of our robot at Greater DC ranks pretty highly on my list.

Being a “small” team with limited mentor resources, I have witnessed MANY!

1st - at Centerline, several teams including 1189 and 217 jumped in and helped us help the rookie team we had been mentoring throughout the season. They had inadvertently built their frame too large, and these teams sent representatives to help rebuild this rookie team’s robot and help them build their bumpers. They completed the inspection process in time to play their first match because of everyone’s efforts.

2nd - at our second event - Bedford - (“our rookie team’s” third event) team 68 loaned a couple of team members to the rookie team since all but one of the rookie team’s members had left the program (they only started with three). This allowed my team to keep the members we needed for scouting and allowed our rookie team to have enough people to man the drive team. The rookie team ended up winning the judges award and highest rookie seed at Bedford.

3rd - this was our first time competing at MSC since our rookie season (2010), and on Thursday, I (a non-engineering mentor) was the only mentor/coach present during the day. Team 3539 mentors and students worked feverishly and at length to help my sophomore programmer resolve some issues that arose after the team re-calibrated our talon motor controllers. They missed their lunch break and took time away from their team to help us. My programmer learned so much thanks to their guidance. In addition, 3539 continuously checked in with our team to make sure things were still going well once we resolved our issues.

We have had numerous teams help by loaning us anything from Velcro to joysticks, and we always try to return the favor when we are capable. The sense of cooperation and everyone’s willingness to help each other out/cheer each other on is one of my favorite parts of being involved in FIRST! Together Everyone Achieves More!

Several teams have reached out with acts I would define as graciously professional but the team that has helped us out the most is team 180 S.P.A.M. They opened up there practice sessions for us to attend, helped train our entire drive team, put up with our horrible jokes, and even helped us with mechanical and electrical issues that would have sent us home. At the competition they gave us scouting info and helped us fix our shooter. Even on the field, they are great alliance partners and always have a fix for everything.

While some of those actions are not necessarily graciously professional they all help set the bar high for next season and make S.P.A.M a role molded team.

This year at SBPLI at the end of the training day a very important pulley made of ABS broke and while we were trying to solve that one of 329’s mentors saw we were having problems and offered to make a new pulley during the night. This saved us. We ended up teaming up for the elims and winning the regional :slight_smile:

GP is everywhere I look at FIRST events – I cannot walk through an FRC pit area without tripping over it.

However, one incident always comes to my mind whenever GP is mentioned. It happened at the Buckeye Regional, ten seasons back.

Here’s the link.

A member from 2412 attends the same after school computer science class as majority of our team also do. He never joined our team fully but he helped us constantly in build season being there most meetings. He also brought in members of his team some days to help us, if it wasn’t for him our gear boxes would have never worked.

When we won the Shorewood event in the PNW district instead of giving our second trophy to our main sponsor, we actually gave our trophy to 2412. We would not have such an awesome season as a second year team without them. Our team’s have grown really close, I love working with a team has nice and professional as them.

A team at New England Championships gave up half of there hotel rooms to another team that only found out the night before they were competing.

I remember I was at a FTC scrimmage and our sister team who is power house in central texas came with us as support since there base wasn’t done. They helped us out majorly by getting our autonomous and tele-op running. They became so well known at that event that at one point there was a line of 10 teams that were waiting on assistance from them (labview,robotc, and even photoshop). This transferred over to the OKC regional we went to, I saw our senior members going out to all these other teams and offering programming assistance. IT was really inspiring to see

This kind of event is typical for FIRST, atypical for other sports:
2014 Midwest Regional Alliance Selection.
Teams 71 and 4096 ask Saber Robotics of Franklin, WI, FIRST Team 2506, to join their alliance. The representative from 2506 has a discussion with the other two reps before announcing they accept the invitation.
Turns out Saber was having some problems, and weren’t sure their robot was going to be 100% for the eliminations (they were, and imho were underutilized). So they offered to reject the invitation and go home (they were not a top 8 seed), rather than hinder the alliance.