NEDCMP and Religious Holidays - an idea

Hi all,

I’ll keep this short, but as some of you may be aware the NE District Championship this year falls right in the middle of both Easter and Passover, and poses a big problem for religiously affiliated teams. I saw that something similar happened with the FIRST Championship one year, and FIRST was kind enough to allow the Israeli teams to change to the other champs. Our team, being Catholic, has been told strictly by our administration that we can not attend, even if we have the best robot in the district. And its not just us; our archdiocese has strict rules about extracurriculars during Holy Week, and Jewish schools likely have similar policies about Passover. Would anyone support trying to get them to move it to the week after? There’s a free week before champs. Or, if not, do you think its worth a letter to FIRST to maybe let us attend a different event in place of NEDCMP so we don’t lose our chances of Detroit? Anyone have experience with how they would handle a letter about something like this? Lots of questions, thank you to anyone who might know a little something!

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I absolutely do not speak on behalf of team 177, but I personally would not support a change for this season. The contracts and event venue was announced late as it is, who knows where/when they’d be able to find a venue for it a different week.

While I can understand your predicament, I think that avoiding AP testing week affects the ability of more teams and students who will qualify for NEDCMP than does avoiding the holiday.

As for attending a different event, I don’t think there is any chance they’d allow this while inter district play for points doesn’t exist. At the end of the day I view this as an issue individual teams must address with their schools.

Also FWIW, since the actual holiday falls on Sunday, (understanding that’s considered a full week for some people who observe it) it doesn’t technically affect everyone who would have otherwise just celebrated the day of the holiday. For that reason I don’t think it would change.

I wish you luck. Again, this is just my personal view, not that of team 177.

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Passover is a problem pretty much every year. Being 8 days long (9 since it starts the night before) and falling around the same time each year, it almost always covers either a DCMP or CMP weekend. Every year at least since I started in 2012 has had conflicting competitions. This championship will be the 4th event away from home I’ll be attending over Passover (2015 MAR CMP, 2016 CMP, 2019 Detroit, and 2020 Houston). Depending on how religious you are and which day of the holiday it falls on, some people may be inconvenienced while others will be completely unable to attend. FIRST has forced teams to make the hard choice not to attend events for religious reasons before; I wouldn’t expect this year to be any different.

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Unfortunately, I do agree with a lot of this, even though it goes against some of what I said. Easter does fall on Sunday, but the way that many schools handle the issue is that Holy Week, not Easter, is the actual problem. Its the most sacred three days for Catholics, and many schools have no exceptions when it comes to sports/clubs. We’ll still probably see what we can do, but won’t expect much.

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Our school definitely falls in the “very religious” category, banning all teams from doing anything during Holy Week. I don’t expect them to do much, but this is the first time Easter has conflicted in a long time, so maybe there’s a sliver of hope that having two out of the three major religions’ holidays conflicting could make them have a change of heart

edit: not in a long time, its actually the first time ever

Personally, I have seen teams at Championships that have religious conflicts work with other teams to drive, fix, and help out during the times the original team could not work themselves. Although I can not say how NE FIRST or FIRST in general would handle it, the teams in New England have always been there to support each other. If your robot for the upcoming season competes and earns a spot at the district championship, one suggestion may be to ask another team/teams to help operate and/or work on your robot for the weekend. With the elimination of bag day, this could work better than previous years as you can interact with teams outside of competition days.

This is just a rough idea for a potential solution. Definitely talk to some official FIRST and NE FIRST people soon as to figuring it out beforehand. Good luck!

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I don’t have much of a comment on the dates for the NEDCMP.

But to this point, your team is certainly allowed to register for a regional event as well, which would give you a chance to qualify for the championship event.
Close regional events to you that you could attend include:

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I’ve heard that this was explored by NEFIRST but blocked by big FIRST since Houston is that weekend. Something about not being able to support a district championship while a world championship was happening.

That makes sense, I didn’t even realize that. I thought Houston was the week right before Detroit, but it’s two weeks before. Interesting.

This is exactly what we were thinking! As of now, though, all of those except the Canada regional show as full on the FIRST website. Do more spots open up on the 31st when other teams are allowed to register? Or, if not, would we maybe be able to coordinate something with the teams running those regionals to see if they could fit us in?

This was another idea we had. We may consider it if we have a robot that we think has the chance to qualify, and it will definitely be easier without the bag day restriction. Thanks for the reply!

There have been some good suggestions in this thread, but I just want to add this one piece of advice that I was given a long time ago by a very wise mentor.

“You can’t get what you don’t ask for”.

It doesn’t hurt to reach out to FIRST to ask what you options are. They very well may say that there are no options, but it’s worth asking. Sometimes these types of conversations lead to solutions/options that neither side had fully considered. Good luck!

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I can tell you Central New York for sure has more spots, and if you guys are trying to get into it, you can shoot me a message which I will forward over to our coordinator for the event. CNY can hold up to 40?, we have had 35 and 31 respectively so it is available.

Honestly, I would take this option. In my personal opinion it’d be an awesome opportunity to play with new teams and can still qualify you for champs.

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unfortunately this overlaps with one of our district events, but thank you!

We had that issue with the Houston championship. We won a district event chairman’s award and after that our donor stepped in to get us approval if we advanced but from what I understand it took a lot of political capital. And it was a moot point because we didn’t qualify.

If we had this issue with the Texas State Championship I think our team would register for one or two regional and not compete in the district at all or just show up for our home event. We were planning to have the problem when we compared 2019 weeks to 2020 weeks.