My Personal Thanks

In 1999, my then Geophysical Science teacher, Wayne Cokeley, invited me to go watch The then Johnson and Johnson Mid-Atlantic Regional. That was the catalyst that started my Explosion into the culture that is FIRST, to this day, I am a horrible student, the only way I could ever focus on anything math related was if it was applied in some useful form, well FIRST provided me with that application, and I can honestly say that w/o FIRST I would not have made it through high school. When I joined Team 25 my sophomore year, (for those of you keeping track at home that would be 2000) I was really interested in learning about this robot stuff, to me it was all about the bots, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, the students played a limited role, on the production of our robot that year, does that mean, that I wasn’t inspired to continue, nope, it just meant I found better ways to learn, whether by talking to one of our teams Tradesmen, to just sitting there for a while staring at our robot, just taking in as much as I could. The next 2 years, were the best I could have asked for, I learned my role on the team, the one that people will always remember me, as that weird freak with the heavy hat on his head, or the kid with the volcano on his head that couldn’t dance, sure it wasn’t the nicest costume in the world, and sure it caused my head to catch fire (remember kids, don’t stick a large muffin fan on your head w/o some safety precautions :p) and I started meeting people, I started making friends, the one thing that I have never been able to do before and well, not to steal Ken’s thunder or anything but I feel that I need to thank all these people, although I will never actually name them all, I feel that even my small list of great people,

First and most importantly, thank you Wayne Cokeley, you gave me this opportunity to grow (even if I still act like a kid) you got me in this mess and have dealt with me for years, you have given me chances to take risks with the team, and while many may have failed greatly, I learned a great deal from you, and the team, You truly earn your title as mentor and I will always consider you a friend.

Next is Rich Kressly, I really regret the day that I met you (just kidding) you and your team are a great group of people its amazing to know that there a people who will put the work in to help you at no benefit to themselves, Your always good for a laugh, even if its just towards me

Mr. Baker has probably helped me more times than I can count, he has helped me keep a cool head and given me an alternative angle to look at things, I don’t think you actually realized how respected you are, by me, as well as the rest of FIRST. You are what makes FIRST great, you’re the guy who gives up his time to a cause he believes in, and that being said, even though I never met her in person a thanks is in order for Mrs. Baker, cause she lets you do all this

Dave Lavery sure I use him to get out of work… for some reason, the un-normal people don’t seem to think that people from NASA are all that interesting, you are great to talk to, to joke with/about, you even gave me ways to make ideas a reality, and have even used tiers to describe my stupidity (really long story)

The College FIRST-a-Holics, Yea that would be JVN, Amanda, Jess, Joel, Grady, Steve Shade, George, Erin, and a whole bunch of others – Thanks for putting up with me, helping me, keeping me sane, as well as just being there you’re the people I look for at competitions when I need to hang out with people my own age :stuck_out_tongue:

And finally to the members of team 25, thanks for accepting me, for letting me pass on my limited wisdom to you, you’re a great bunch of people, just stick together and you can get through anything.

There are many more who deserve recognition but I really cant think anymore. 

Anyone else wondering why, I am writing all this stuff…. Well its all for a good laugh what else, okay so its not all that funny, its really cause I think my time on a FIRST team is up for now, I am taking a year or so off to do some other things I need done, to set my priorities and to take a breather, but all in all thanks for the memories, thanks for the laughs, thank you to all those I consider friends, the ones who have helped me grow

Mike, I hope that you can stick around and be involved in FIRST some way or another. You’re one of those success stories that I love to hear about. I love to hear about how people have been inspired by FIRST and all the good things they have gained in life about it, rather than all of the bashing and negativity that seems to be more rampant on these forums.

Good luck with your future and whatever you decide to do. What the heck, I’ll even let you bear hug me once in a while too. :ahh:

You’re a great guy.


Say it isn’t so!!! No one ever leaves FIRST do they? You are just going to be volunteering at some other events. See you when you get back, big guy.

You can take the man out of FIRST, but you can’t take FIRST out of the man.

Don’t worry, everyone. I’m sure you’ll see Mike running a practice field near you next year.

::cough cough::

hahahaha or MCing a regional, perhaps headed to the west coast to ref a regional… the possibilites of more stress open up as soon as the team dissappears…

Oyy what have i gotten myself into :stuck_out_tongue:

Mike, you can’t leave. Imagine all those people on CD who have never been bear hugged, all those innocent children who havn’t been scared, and finally being able to put me in a coma. :wink:

Oh, what? So I block a bear hug and now your going to take your volcano and go home?

Good luck in whatever your new adventures will be. I hope to see you soon.



FIRST would not be the same without you. It is good that you are going to stay involved somehow. Thank you for the kind comments, and I will be sure to pass along your thanks to my wife.

FIRST needs guys like Big Mike. Mike is not boring, as he is ALWAYS up to something. It could be a bearhug, or a joke, or a demonstration of 25’s drivetrain. Mike, you are ingrained in the FIRST movement, and we all appreciate that.

Andy B.

Coming from someone who took a year off to do her own thing, if Mike thinks this is for the best, then all we can do is support that decision. He’s not “leaving FIRST forever”, he’s just “taking a break”.

Mike, trust me, the experiences you will have elsewhere will just make you a better FIRSTer, whether you come back soon or not. I know when I took my year off and joined Sigma, it added a whole other depth to my life - and it made me appreciate FIRST in a whole new way…hence why it’s my avatar.

And hey! You still have a reason to come back…I didn’t get a chance to kick your butt while you attempt to bearhug me. :smiley:

PS - If/When you do come back, those seasons you missed will be reaaaaaally hard to catch up on (you have no idea how long it took me to grasp 2003!)…so my suggestion to you is to read the game overview once you decide to come back.

PPS - Keep in touch with us anyway. Maybe not post on CD, but feel free to im me anytime - when I took my year off the only FIRSTer I really talked to on a semi-regular basis was Ken…and he found a way to not talk about robots with me unless I wanted to. We can do the same, just let us know.

Mike, you’ve inspired some of the best Dave pictures I’ve ever done. You’ve never bear hugged me, but you’ve used my head as an arm rest. Reading your posts are as much fun as reading fortune cookies (which every cool person knows is the best part of the whole meal!). If you feel like you need a break from your break, you know where to find us… I know a lot of us will be hoping that the year goes by very quickly and we once more find you in our midst.


and if you get any more inspiring ideas my muse, you may always contact me :smiley:

Oh no! You can’t leave, Big Mike. I enjoy feeling short at 6’6".

J/K :slight_smile: Good luck… you know where to find us when you are ready to come back.

Mike -

Thanks for the kind words. Give a hollar whenever you want to chat.


p.s. you still have to complete the bear hug on Jason Morella - he was too squirmy for that one to officially count.

I just met you last weekend, but I know that the personallity of FIRST will never be the same. Hope you come to IRI so I can formally receive my Bear Hug.

Ben, be careful what you wish for…I’m still waiting for the splinters that used to be my ribs to be FedExed home from Atlanta, but seriously…

Being on your list of people to thank(between Wayne and Andy nonetheless) is a true honor. I’m glad 103 has a great friend in 25 and I’m equally glad you are going to continue to lend your energy to FIRST in a way that makes sense for you. You can’t make a bad decision as long as you take what you’ve learned about making other people’s lives better and pass it on to others in your life no matter what you choose to do. Good luck and I’m sure I’ll see you soon.

See you in a year or so Mike. Some shall miss you bear hugs, and your humorous jokes during team meetings. Well, good luck, and you can bear hug me before you leave :p.

And there never is a bigger Mike…