Posted by Chris, Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.
Posted on 4/7/99 6:50 AM MST
In Reply to: holes in hole poking posted by Joe Johnson on 4/6/99 7:18 PM MST:
: : Reason #2. Everyone gets to see these well funded teams at nationals. They don’t need to see them at the regionals. Teams make notes of who performed well at the regionals and make it a point to see them in action in Florida.
: Not everyone goes to Nationals.
I really feel for these teams, but that is another argument all together, maybe for another day. This one drains me enough as it is. I can only fight battles one at a time, in steps. However, there are usually enough good teams at each regional for the lesser teams to see.
Even if there weren’t great teams to see at a regional, I would rather let the lesser teams battle it out so that they can feel like kings for while instead of feeling totally defeated by a great team. Let them have their day in the sun.
: : Reason #3. A season of events would be great if the costs were controlled. Here in the Detroit area it would be great since we have around 40 teams and no one would have to travel. I would be all for that.
: I have been involved in serious conversations with serious folks who think that it is not out or the question that Detroit could have its own regional next year. I have also heard that Grand Rapids may have another regional next year. Now your talking SEASON! Between Ypsi, Detroit, Western Michigan and Chicago, you could have a serious season of events within a 4-5 hour drive of Detroit. Let me at 'em
As I said before, I’m all for this because travel is next to zero. But it is still a problem if we have all of this competition experience and the teams out west only have one regional near by.
: : In the second part, you completely agreed with something I said earlier. The people writing the checks want to see a good result or the checks will stop being written. The ‘less fortunate teams’ (PC term) in the long run will do poorly and all of their sponsors will stop writing the checks. In the end you may up with only GM, Delphi, Chrysler, Motorola, and a few others left. Shouldn’t we do something to keep everyone competitive? Granted, someone is going to finish last every year, but funding is hardly ever pulled due to one bad year. It’s a trend of bad performances that is noticed. If the field is not level, the less funded teams will be on the bad end of the trend and will get their funding taken away.
: Beatty Hammond! What more can I say? They have a 60 person tool and die shop and a community with a heart of gold. They beat up the big three year after year. Are you telling me that there is no such great engineers at TRW to compete with the likes of Beatty the Elder and Beatty the Younger? You know that there are. FIND THEM!
You can find an exception to every rule. Beatty is just that, the exception. Once again, let’s talk trends, not single instances. As far as finding engineers where I work, let’s say the engineers are good here, but the climate isn’t. I’ll leave it at that. In fact, I’ve been wanting to discuss this with you to get some ideas. I’ll try to track you down in Florida (you have decided to go, right?)
: : It’s also hard for a team to feel inspired when the cards are stacked against them. Some people start to feel discouraged. Sure, your team may feel more inspired, but at whose expense?
: There are teams that do very well with little funding. Harrison RIT were national champs in our first year. They bragged that they spent a TOTAL of $19K on their entire FIRST effort – including travel! Next year, Beatty won. The next year Delphi won, but a not super funded Naval Undersea Warfare Center finished second.
Recall that your first year there was only one regional, so your argument fails here. In fact, I think your example proves MY point. My whole point is that small funded teams CAN win if we all had the same competition experience, as was the case in 1996. In that year teams were forced to be limited to one regional because that’s all there was. I want to return to those days where a small funded team can win it all.
In 1997, Beatty won. I already stated that I believe Beatty is an exception, but even so, in 1997 there were only a few teams going to multiple regionals; the multi-regional effect was limited and it was nothing like last year and this year. Besides, they were in the finals with your team, one of the only teams that I knew of that went to multiple regionals that year. Beatty also went to more than one regional this year.
As for NUWC, they did great, but all I have to say is ‘Villanova in the NCAA about 10 years ago’ or ‘Gonzaga this year’. Tournament brackets can and do have upsets in which big underdogs can make it through (no disrespect for NUWC intended). Once again, the key is trends.
: If you will allow me a personal digression: At one point, I was considering moving on from Delphi. Before I would leave though, I was polling my brother, sisters, and misc. relatives to see if between us, we could come up with enough dough to fund a Team Johnson. You can bet that I would not have just tossed up my hands and just said, ‘We can never compete with the Delphi’s & GM’s!’ I was planning on kicking my former team’s behinds And believe me, my family couldn’t come up with a 10th of the budget a typical Delphi team has. Would I have done multiple regionals? Yes, even if we had to stay at the KOA! My point is that I reject the idea that money is the only or even the major limit to competitive teams.
I’ve said it before, if I was running the team, we would be going to multiple regionals as well. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still lobby for a rule to against this practice. I’m competitive and I want to look out for my own team first. (BTW, have fun staying at a KOA in the Midwest in March :).)
I never said money is the only limiting factor. I just said that it IS a factor and it is just the easiest to control. In every major form of competition that I know of where money can have an influence, rules have been put in place to lessen its influence. Examples:
CART: limited practice and technology limitations
IRL: ditto, plus many other measures like mutual practice sessions (ring a bell, Joe? I tried getting this to fly this year.)
Formula One: Technology limitations (more recent consession to less funded teams)
NFL: Salary Cap
NBA: Salary Cap
NCAA: Scholarship limits, practice limits, and not paying the athletes
Major League Baseball: Luxury Tax
Note that MLB and the NHL desired a salary cap but the players union defeted it in their most recent strikes.
Now, all of those organizations that I listed have a vast number of years more experience running a competition than FIRST. Considering that what I listed is basically ALL major team competitions where money can influence the outcome, and ALL of them have rule in place to limit this influence, I have to believe that this is a correct practice. It’s hard to argue with these governing bodies, especially when they all agree on this.
By the way, has anyone not noticed I’m a sports nut?
Speaking of sports, there was an argument in a post below about crappy high school basketball teams. Remember that high school basketball is broken into a class system for the same reasons that I’m arguing here (at least in Michigan). A tiny class D school would find it very difficult to compete against a class A school. (Yeah, I’ve seen Hoosiers, but I’m talking about trends again, not single instances). Of course, there is still a wide range in the level of competitiveness within each class, but there is a general feeling of a level playing field. There wasn’t a feeling of a level playing field before the class system. As long as no feeling of a level playing field exists, people on the short end of the stick get discouraged. If people feel the playing field is level, they can lose and not feel short changed.
On a lighter note: I try to inject some humor into things when I write on occasion (to lighten the mood). I’ve had people write back at times arguing against a statement that I intended to be humorous. My friends tell me that I have a good sense of humor (I hope they’re not lying), so it leads me to believe that we’re just all too serious. It also leads me to believe that I ought to stop doing this because it’s causing me headaches (that’s in the figurative sense :)). But anyway, I’ll stop my humor if everyone promises to lighten up a little and stop being so serious all the time (that includes me).