My Only Problem This Season

Edit: Just a quick note: RoboCoach is the term I’ve learned to use to refer to the drive coach. Any time I say “RoboCoach”, I mean the drive coach.

As a high school senior, it was great having 2 solid back-to-back games from the GDC. Both games were fun, challenging, and intensive!

Being Finalists at Greater Toronto East and Western Canada, I’d say this year has been a great success, and I’m extremely proud of my team. I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my FRC experience as a student…

That being said, there was one specific incident this season that still is vivid to me.

During one of our competitions, our (216’s) robot had a major electronics issue. Talking to FTA,who gave us a loaner digital sidecar as a possible fix, I felt fairly confident that the robot would be operational again in time for our first match of the second day.

I went on to talk strategy with our Alliance partners for that match (in which there was a powerhouse team on the other Alliance), but was disappointed when I came back to the pit hearing that the robot still wasn’t working. Still not knowing what the issue was, we started to format the cRio with the loaner sidecar in the hopes that the issue would be resolved.

While the robot was being troubleshooted, two other members of the drive team and I went out to tell our Alliance the bad news. One of the teams took it well, but the mentor RoboCoach from the other team was furious. He went on to say that formatting the cRio was “the worst possible thing we could do,” and that we were a “pointless” team. Needless to say we (the students) were continuously apologizing, though the Alliance ended up winning the match.

With my team, our coaches, and FTA baffled by the situation, 216 ended up missing the next qualification match. Our troubles were finally over when another team generously loaned us a brand new sidecar. We went on to become an Alliance captain during Eliminations, but we really couldn’t have done it without the help of that team.

Looking back at the situation, I realize in hindsight that I should have mentioned the possibility of our team not being able to compete in that match. In my opinion, however, the furious RoboCoach definitely overreacted to the situation. I, as a RoboCoach myself, understand the frustrations and stresses of qualification matches, but the mentor acted in a way that I never would have dreamed of doing myself. Coming from someone who didn’t ask or care about our issue at all, his words were hurtful and demoralizing to us as students.

Don’t get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for mentor RoboCoaches and their respective teams (33, 67, 217, and 469 come immediately to mind). This post is directed more to everyone in FIRST.

I suppose the overall message is: Don’t make accusations or assumptions about other teams. You never know who’s dealing with what.

Okay. I’m off my soapbox.

Before I respond to your statement I just thought I should mention the entire time reading this I was confused since Robocoach is a term from the 2008 game for what was basically the human player equivalent, I have never heard of the person with the coach badge referred to anything other then coach but this is just me finally becoming an old man in FIRST.

Now I feel the mentor of the other team over reacted and that is one of the reasons why when teams approach our pit they speak to a student first, and then if needed a relevant mentor. So being the coach myself I do not speak to the other alliances usually until we are in Que.

People can be irrational sometimes, don’t let it be a blemish in your season. Having dealt with the same situation before, take it as a lesson to remind yourself how to never act towards another team. Better to be productive and help get alliance partners running.