So Team 3193 won the Engineering Inspiration award at the Finger Lakes Regional, qualifying us to attend the Championship Event for only the second time in our 10-year history. However, the annual high school band and choir spring trip has 12 of our 15 students (money already raised, trip paid for) unable to attend the week of the Detroit Championship (we’re from Ohio). But wait…FIRST has split up the Championship Event in two, and since FIRST said teams can request to attend the “other” Event, even though it will cost us more in travel expenses, then no worries…right?
Sadly, this is not the case. After getting the run-around from FIRST HQ for a day and a half, the response came back:
Hello Team 3193.
Congratulations on qualifying for the 2019 FIRST Championship! And congratulations on winning the Engineering Inspiration Award!
Unfortunately, we cannot grant you a change of venue location for the 2019 FIRST Championship. We sincerely apologize for not being to accommodate your request.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.
Team Advocate, FIRST ® Robotics Competition
No reason, no nothing!! Team Advocate?!? Didn’t “advocate” very hard!! Does anyone see a legitimate reason as to why 1 team cannot be granted a switch at THIS POINT in the season?? Maybe only half of the field is set for each event. This is a complete sham! Way to destroy the season for these kids, FIRST!! In all my years volunteering for FIRST…is this what you call “Inspiration”?!?
Given that the veteran FIRST Championship waitlist is still open through April 5th, it seems rather dubious that they are automatically denying an EI award winner a chance to switch to a non-home championship. Especially without any kind of valid reason given.
Hey who knows - maybe any of the Detroit championship vet teams signing up for the Houston waitlist are already SOL because there’s no room at the inn?
If I remember correctly, they removed the ability to switch between the two championships after very few teams used it in 2017. I think because it was too much work to support the system.
It is unfortunate that they were not able to fulfill your request.
Wow. That’s devastating. Doesn’t seem to embody the “spirit of FIRST” at all. Congrats on all of your team’s accomplishments this season.
I thought that the veteran waitlist was still restricted to their home event.
Regardless, I have a hard time believing that you’re the only team asking to be swapped, no matter the reason. Would you have felt better if they gave you a lame excuse?
FIRST has made accommodations where they could - for example, the Israel district is switching their champs this year, due to religious restrictions. I imagine that there are teams that qualify but don’t go to champs each year for a variety of reasons, and yes, it’s tough. Half of my team misses our week-0 events every year for an annual choir trip, and that’s tough for us to manage - it’s an important weekend in our build process!
FIRST has a lot of things to consider with any such request. They need to look at the likely number of teams that will qualify for each championship, and with things like wildcards, that can be difficult to judge. It’s especially difficult, because it’s not based on what event you go to, but where you call home. We had a team from California at the Great Northern Regional in North Dakota last week - if they had won, they would have gone to Houston. The Chinese team that won Rookie All Star at the event is going to Houston… yet most of the teams at the event would go to Detroit if they qualify.
If you want to follow up, I suggest calling. Having an actual discussion with someone is better than email. Even though the situation is extremely frustrating, it’s important to keep a level head - whoever is on the other end is more likely to be sympathetic if you’re calm than if your yelling at them
While it may not be a popular opinion here, and doesn’t really help right now, I’ll also say this: This is an issue that should have been apparent to your team months ago. Way back before the season started, it would have been a good idea to contact FIRST about it so you would know in advance what the situation was and what the likelihood of being able to switch would be.
When we have our annual parent meeting in September each year, we include dates for everything - regionals we think we’ll be attending, champs, states, etc. We do everything we can to ensure students and parents avoid double booking themselves over those dates, and make sure it’s clear that our event dates are not flexible - they have to make a choice if something like this situation were to occur.
Please calm down a bit. I am also disappointed with a Championship switch request outcome this season (that’s for another post). However, there’s no need to shoot the messenger. Jamee’s job is to act as the liaison between teams and HQ.
Have you tried calling her to ask her for more explanation? Have you emailed her back per her line “Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns?”
There’s no guarantees but perhaps if you convey your circumstances once again to Jamee she will be able to try and advocate for you. At the very least, perhaps you’ll be able to get some more insight as to why your request was denied.
You are more than welcome to be upset that your request was denied. But expressing this kind of anger towards an individual, who probably did not make the decision, on a public forum is inappropriate and unreasonable.
Yes, attempts to get further clarification have been in the works ever since we received the message.
While this is probably a good idea, I question how useful this for most teams. For most teams, champs is little more than a dream, and qualifying for champs is incredibly exciting and unexpected. From TBA, 3193 has only been to champs once in their 9 year history. It’s hard to ask a team to plan ahead for such an unlikely event, and you’d probably still end up with conflicts, since students and parents would assume you weren’t going to make champs.
You remember correctly.
There was a mechanism to flip teams from Houston to Detroit due to religious holidays creating travel issues. There’s no language in that blog post to say they were flipping from Detroit to Houston for anybody or any reason, but I have to think you’d have had your best shot (if you had any shot) then.
It’s a shame that the conflict happened either way.
As a point of clarification, what is the response you are receiving?
We do this every year and the parents thank us for it. While the events we share at the start change, we host a meeting again right at the beginning of the build season sharing the events we decided on and share the State champs (new for us this year) and Worlds dates. I always inform them that there is a chance we might not make either but I rather them have the dates and know instead of it being a surprise late in the season.
To be fair, your success rate at going to worlds is a little higher than the team that made this post. My point was the less frequently you go to worlds, the less a preseason announcement is going to mean, and the more likely it will be that you end up with conflicts.
A couple of things…
- Congrats on the EI win, no small accomplishment for any team.
- Being close personal friends with Jamee, I can tell you she cares about teams and their experience more than anyone else I know in FRC. Take that for whatever its worth to you. I’m confident she did ANYTHING in her power to advocate on your behalf. Throwing that back in her face is just a bad look.
- There is a definite slippery slope situation here. Your team has a band trip, but another team may have prom or the state baseball championship or xyz other reason. You can imagine as teams qualify later and later in the season it gets harder and harder for teams to pull the trip off. This is something district teams face every year btw. Frankly, I’m not sure how FIRST grants your request without granting all requests.
Do I believe teams should be able to switch? 100% yes. I participated on the committee at HQ to make switching possible during the first years of 2 champs. I think theres a legit question in there as to why the program went away completely - but I don’t think you’ll find this post ages well for you and your team.
Just my advice for you. I hope you find a way to make it work.
Are you suggesting the link I posted to the FIRST website that was dated late 2018 that explicitly referenced getting on 2019 waitlists to go to either your home or non-home event is somehow incorrect? If so then I think FIRST has a communication problem.
"Both FIRST Championship locations in 2019, Houston and Detroit, will have Waitlists. Teams may join the Championship Waitlists to fill any remaining FIRST Championship slots not filled by qualifying Regional or District teams. Teams may sign up for either their home or non-home Championship Waitlist. Teams who sign up for the Waitlists will be randomly selected as described below at various points throughout the competition season in an effort to give teams as much time to make travel plans as possible while ensuring we do not exceed FIRST Championship capacity.
“Home teams on a FIRST Championship waitlist will always have priority over non-home teams on that waitlist. The list of home waitlist teams will be exhausted before we start inviting non-home teams. Because of this, there is an excellent chance, as a practical matter, non-home teams will never receive a waitlist invitation to Championship. Teams are still free to join their non-home Championship Waitlist, but should be aware the chances of their getting invited to that Championship location are very small.”
Truth be told I’ve never personally investigated going to Houston for my team because the 2 phrases I most commonly associate with that city in relation to FRC are “infinitely long ramps” and “death by heat stroke”, so who knows what the real waitlist situation is? I just looked something up on the FIRST website expecting it to be accurate. Please excuse my egregious error in judgment.
Travis, I think there is a difference.
Your link is about signing up for a lottery to get a chance to go to the other championship.
Billfred’s link is about having earned a slot for one championship and trading it for the other championship.
I say take as many kids as can make it. Skeleton crews have done it before. Sucks, but you can still make the best of a crappy situation if FIRST is unable to budge. Back in 2011 I think 3553 took 1 or 2 kids. I don’t even recall.
If EI teams still get champs paid for, it’d be a great trip for the kids and mentors who can go.
Ok, Billfred is freed from the shackles of my blar. Mea culpa, good sir. At least we have established there are 2 separate processes being discussed here - one is defunct apparently (Billfred) and one (waitlist, mine) is still active.
Tying it back to 3193’s predicament, it surely would be infuriating and frustrating for teams who otherwise did not win an award or qualify for a championship to get into Houston ahead of EI Award winners who wanted to transfer, but if there is no current dynamic officially for FIRST to accommodate teams like 3193, I’m not sure there’s much anyone can do.
That being said, I do believe if they really wanted to give someone a spot out of extenuating circumstances, they could certainly find a way.
To that end, is there anything keeping 3193 from adding itself to the Houston waitlist right now?