In Defense of the White Glove Award

As this is a rather controversial subject, I will preface this by saying that this does not represent the views of my team, though I will be using them as an example.

Many of you may have watched FUN last night and were unfamiliar with the first subject: the White Glove Award. In summary, it’s a team award that was started last year by 2713. What follows is my opinion on its intended purpose and why it’s so controversial in our community.

A solid percentage of people, including what seems to be a good portion of Twitch chat in last night’s stream, seem to strongly believe that this award qualifies as “taking a shot across the bow at teams run with mentors” by “passive aggressive children”.](https://clips.twitch.tv/PerfectTangibleTardigradeOhMyDog) As a mentor on one of those teams that won the award myself, I believe that notions like these come from a miscommunication of the purpose of the award, or perhaps that there was no solid definition of what the award is and stands for.

I believe that the award recognizes mentors who mentor. I don’t think there are any teams out there whose mentors do all of the work, but I do think there are teams where the whole process of building a robot is controlled by the mentors. This is how quite a few teams that I have friends on are run. It certainly works, consistently producing robots that do well; however, I believe that it doesn’t give students as valuable an experience as building the robot themselves.

Does building the robot themselves mean that mentors are useless? I don’t think so. I’ve put in hours of research into how this game works and what the best way to approach it may be, what capabilities the team’s robot should have, and potential solutions to problems. Sure, it’s joked on our team that the mentors do nothing; but what we really do is give the students the information they need to accomplish the tasks at hand. Sure, there are mistakes, but the team learns from them, and I am confident that they will continue to pass the lessons they’ve learned on to the next generation of students. This is what the White Glove Award is supposed to recognize; mentors who can help their students build a good robot without altering the design themselves or even working on the robot. We’re supposed to be teaching these kids what engineering is like, not spoon feeding them a bunch of steps. I don’t think any high school student likes to be told what they have to do, and I don’t think it’s very inspiring either. My point is, student run is not the same thing as having no mentors.

On the subject of this being an official award, I feel that there’s no need. From one team to another is fine.

But that’s all just my opinion, and I’m sure that CD has different opinions. All I want is my white glove award while other teams get their blue banners.

I don’t see how this thread could possibly go poorly!

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I know our gloves are black and white… for obvious reasons.

Safe Opinion: Peer awards are pretty cool.

Fact: They are not official awards.

Fact: They should not be announced during the official award ceremony.

Now you’ve ruined it. We were going to present you with the creamiest memes award at the NC DCMP.

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why do they have to be creamy

vs.


Need I elaborate further?

We’ve received so many “Best Pit” and “Best Looking Robot” awards. Why, oh why, did we not get recognized for these wonderful achievements by our graphic design kids? :frowning:

As said on the show I agree with Andrew 100% here. If a team wants to do a peer award that represents their team’s viewpoint then more power to them. The award is a representation of that team. The issue that I personally have is that it was represented as an official award and it becomes viewed as an official representation of FIRST.

That’s all reasonable but the survey was written in a way that it associated any non-student led team with elements of a poorly run team (EX. not allowing students any ownership or responsibility of the robots outcome). This association is simply untrue and hurtful.

My gloves, and hands, get dirty on the robot. That’s because I am a hands-on mentor. And that’s the way the FIRST Robotics Competition is intended to be.

This is not my own opinion. A statement to that effect has been part of the Manual for as long as I can remember, which is 22 seasons. Here is the latest version:

To paraphrase the great Texas golf coach Harvey Pennick, “you can play FRC, or you can make up some other game and go play that.”

Wouldnt this award automatically segregate all teams associated with public schools? Because, at least with the one I was on as a student, the “team lead” had to be an employee of the school.

I love that quote.

I’m convinced that anyone who has time to complain about the way that other teams are run must have a perfect team and a perfect robot. There is NO other way they should have time to whine about how team A is too mentor or team B isn’t mentor enough. But giving team-to-team awards saying you like the way someone is doing something? Pretty much always cool.

My team has given out a giant, shiny, corndog-shaped trophy-on-a-stick to teams for being “chezy”, whatever that means.

Point being, anyone can create an award for pretty much any reason, and nobody should lose too much sleep over it :slight_smile:

Yeah that’s basically how I feel too. Announcing it during the official award ceremony, especially with no one having any idea of what the award was, was a very poor decision.

White gloves are the FRC equivalent of purity rings.

Probably not? Our head mentor has to be an employee of the school, but he doesn’t have to take charge of everything.

Unless it gets presented during the official award ceremony?

Begin Opinion:

Richard, I agree with you. But I feel it would be hypocritical of me to dictate how other teams are run. I DO feel they are missing out on a part of the program that distinguishes it from other events. Based on this belief I personally feel that teams that do not encourage collaboration between mentors and students would be better served by other programs. This is in part due to student experience (the “we only lost cuz NASA built their robot” comments) and in part due to lower cost of iteration. Iteration, as we know, is incredibly educational should be encouraged. With mentors some of that iteration can be done at the whiteboard/CAD/FEA stages but many HS students can’t do that alone.

However, if students want to go-it-alone I respect their choice but I do ask they do the same for the choices made by other teams. I had concerns with some of the wording in the WGA survey as the questions felt very leading. It very much felt like the survey was a propaganda piece rather than a data collection tool.

End Opinion