Need Help Breaking Bad News to My Team

We are a rookie team this year, but our students are really excited and our team is doing a lot to fundraise. We registered for the Finger Lakes Regional right here in Rochester (ie no travel/lodging needed) and for the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland, OH.

Our students wanted to go to a third regional to increase our chances of getting to nationals, so we wanted to register for UTC or Pittsburg. Both were waitlisted at the time and FIRST said that we could only pick one of them to waitlist since they are on the same weekend. We picked UTC, and I registered for Toronto as a far backup.

Thanksgiving week, Championship registration opened up, and we “became eligible” so I signed up and paid our deposit. I discussed it with the school and sponsors to make sure we were en route to go, and then announced it to the students. They were so excited and relieved to be able to make it as a rookie team! We worked out our fundraising strategies, and talked with the parents and prepared everyone to get underway.

So this morning I arrive to an email from FIRST that states this:
I just wanted to send an e-mail regarding your team being dropped from the Championship roster. As a rookie team, you were not eligible to register and our system did not “catch it.” Sorry.”

Anyone have any suggestions on how to break it to my team? :frowning: I know some of the responses might be “suck it up”, but as a rookie team, my team looks to me for guidance and direction from FIRST, and Im really upset that I have to break this news to them (not to mention a little crushed myself).

I think that as a rookie team two regionals are fine (there are a bunch of verteran teams only attending one regional) and that you shouldn’t be so concerned with making it into Championships. I understand that it’s difficult news to break to the team, but the explanation is beyond your control so I wouldn’t worry about telling them the truth.

The FIRST Robotics Confereneces are occuring in Atlanta so perhaps a few members of your team could still go to Championships, attend workshops to learn more in regards to strengthening your rookie team, and experience the excitement before competing directly in it. It’ll better prepare yourselves (just a suggestion).

Good luck!


I think you should simply explain the situation. Explain the registration system allowed you to register and they you did so because you knew your team wanted to go.
Then FIRST told you that the registration system made an error and you should not have been allowed to register. Make sure you explain the reasoning behind rookies not being allowed to register so they are not discouraged.
The reasoning behind rookies not being allowed to register for nationals is purely based on a capacity problem. The rule is simply to give teams who have been in the program for many years a better chance at being able to attend nationals.

I’d explain the story, but then I’d turn this into a motivation. After all, as a rookie team, you can still get to Atlanta via Rookie All-Star or Regional Champion. This could light a mighty big fire under your team’s collective hindquarters, so you might as well make it count, right?

I’m not in this position with my team, but another rookie team I help out with is. They don’t know yet either but when I do talk to them I’m going to try to stress to them that it is still very possible to qualify for championships, especially with multiple regionals.



Tell your kids:
“There is no free ride for us.” Time to put up, and bring home some gold.

Use this as a rallying point. If the kids want to go so badly, use this to gear them up for the season.

Remember – you’re not alone either ;).

Take Care,

If it makes you feel any better we are 5th year team and are only attending 1 regional this year. The most we have ever attended is 2 (twice), and we have never been to the Championship.

There’s a few things you could say, but I think the best is to use it as an example to show that life isn’t always fair, and then light the fires by pointing out that if they win almost any award (any technical award I think) they can go to Atlanta, and if they win the reigional they can go to Atlanta.

As for three, or even four competitions, that’s a lot. My old team went to three reigionals each year (save for 2003 which was only two, because of the “war” in Iraq, but that’s for another thread), but we had severe budget problems trying to fit it all in. This year I think they’re only doing two, which is much more feasible.

Also, don’t worry about going to Championships. Yes, it’s an amazing experience, and it sucks that your current seniors may never go, but if you don’t go this year, you’ll almost more than likely be able to go next year the way that FIRST’s system works.

Finally, tell them to get working on Chairmans Award material, not for this year, but for following years, because if you win national chairmans award, you get to go to the Championships ever year (I think?).

It would seem only the Engineering Inspiration Award counts this year.

To add to some motivation: You have some more money to play around with, and as others said, you still have a chance to qualify during the season. Good Luck

Two events is the average number of competitions that many teams compete.

Also you should seriously consider saving that money and going to a couple of off-season competitions. There are a lot out there, and I believe are more fun than a regular competition.

I’m sry to hear about the news.
I’m please to hear though you guys are going to two competitions and working hard on raising money. I say just tell them what happened of course but to tell them the great opportunities they have by going to two competitions. I know there are some teams that can’t even make it two one do to money and not being let in yet to a competition. You may not go to nationals this year but save up the money to go perhaps next year. My team yes is eligible to go but if we don’t have enough money we will not be able to go. So good job on raising funds one of the hardest parts besides getting the robot to work completely well.

And saving money for off season competitions are a great way to bring new members and have lots of fun. You know the game better and can relax just a bit more because of that fact.


We could tell you what we would do until we’re blue in the face (and trust me, some will try ;))…but the people that know your team best, and the best way to approach them, are the people on it.
This is a perfect example of how every team does things differently: though the points raised above can be grouped into a couple of major thoughts, I am sure that the end result will be a blend of thoughts that your adults feel comfortable with and you all feel is the best way to break the news to them in a way that won’t kill their drive.

Remember, the resilience of a team is not measured in the greatness of their successes, but in how they react when pitfalls arise.

Good luck!

Man, I’m sounding preachy…writing final papers needs to end now! :wink:

Just because you didn’t “pre-qualify” doesn’t mean you didn’t qualify. There’s still a possiblity that your team can make it happen.

Thanks everyone for the advice… I know it seems overly ambitious to want to qualify for nationals off the bat, but for the majority of the time that I went through FIRST, every team that wanted to go went.

I appreciate all the suggestions. I will likely just be telling them what happened, and tell them that while it is sometimes hard to understand mistakes like this, we still have 6 shots at getting there:
for two regionals:

  1. Rookie All Star :slight_smile:
  2. Win a Regional :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
  3. Engineering Inspiration (???)
    And we should do everything in our power to do this now that we are well on our way to the funds.

Thanks to everyone, and good luck to those of you already headed to nationals! :slight_smile: