Perplexed after Richmond Regional

Posted by rob kelly at 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST

Coach on team #367, Delaware Destroyers, from Seaford Senior High School and Dupont, NASA, JRM High Performance Machine, Trigli.

Greetings all
I purposefully waited until today to post a message here. This delay has allowed me to collect my thoughts and hopefully relay them in a gracious professional manner. I am concerned because of the look in my students eye’s and conversations with them since the championship alliances were choosen, and we were not considered.
At the conclusion of qualification rounds Fri. we were ranked 18th avg. points 106.8 with 5 matches. Our alliance scored 128 points in the final match of qualification. this score raised our average to 111, ranking us 12th of 67 teams. We were shocked not to be choosen for the championship round. We consistently completed our portion of the strategy, when many of our alliance partners could not do what they said they could. Some machines could not even reach the bridge let alone cross it. Why inflate your ability at the expense of the other alliance partners? Is this gracious professionalism? Can any of the top 8 teams explain why we were overlooked? We are fortunate to be able to compete in Philly next weekend and need to know what we can do to improve our chances of reaching the elimination rounds. We are a small team and cannot afford to take 30 people to regional event.

 Many teams at Richmond only competed in 6 matches, for some this was the only competition they could afford.  Thats a lot of work and money for only 6 matches.  The Long Island Regionals with less than 40 teams allowed for 11 qualification matches, is this equitable?  After a great rookie experience in Philly last year, Richmond has left a foul taste in this teams mouth this year.  I can't help but believe that teams inflating their abilities in strategy and representation led to the low scores in Richmond.  I still believe in the power of FIRST, it has impacted my students in a positive manner.

Any response would be helpful as we are scratching our heads and wondering what’s up. I apologize if I stepped on any toes, that was not my intent.
sincerely
Rob Kelly

Posted by Chris Orimoto at 03/12/2001 12:33 PM EST

Student on team #368, Kika Mana, from McKinley High School and Nasa Ames/Hawaiian Electric/Weinberg Foundation.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

As “depressing” as it may seem, getting picked as an alliance for the elimination rounds isn’t JUST based on your qualifying score. If you really want to get picked, you MAKE yourself noticible to other teams (especially the high seeded ones). Many times, teams are overlooked because no one notices them…even if they have a pretty high seeding. I suggest that your students go out and “mingle” with other teams throughout the Friday or Saturday, or even pretty extensively on Thursday (if possible).

The 6-11 match thing is basically a result of the amount of teams attending the regional. As you may have noticed, around half of VCU was comprised of rookie teams. This concentration of rookies in that area caused for the limit of matches to be played. Of course, this is not their fault as Richmond was probably the closest to home.

In essence, I just have to say that, if you do well and don’t get picked, it’s no big deal. They joy should (or at least I think so) come out of seeing a robot develop from wild ideas into something tangible. I just hope your students had fun building the robot and seeing it compete. Just relax, and head to Philly for a good time!

Just my personal thoughts (nothing more)…

Chris #368

Posted by Bill Gold at 03/12/2001 1:23 PM EST

Student on team #258 from Lincoln High.

In Reply to: Re: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by Chris Orimoto on 03/12/2001 12:33 PM EST:

I totally agree with you Chris. Average score isn’t everything, a major part of making the playoffs is getting to know other teams and trying to stand out from the pack in the event. The only reason that my team was picked as an alliance partner at the San Jose State Regional last year was because we pushed robots around (our ball carrier never worked) and because I “mingled” with some of the students from Vintage High (232).

But like you said Chris, if my team doesn’t make the playoffs I won’t be upset. I had enough fun helping to design/build my team’s robot. I know it’s cliche, but there’s always next year.

And since your team is competing in another event, you can always say that the VCU Regional was practice :slight_smile:

my $0.02

Bill Gold, 258

Posted by Jason Rudolph at 03/12/2001 1:41 PM EST

Coach on team #459, Rampage, from University of Florida/Eastside High School and Adaptive Equipment.

In Reply to: Re: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by Chris Orimoto on 03/12/2001 12:33 PM EST:

Now, this is my third year in this competition. For the past two years I have been on a team with very little funidng, and no engineering assistance (all which changed this year). I am now a coach on team 459, and it is a complete change for me, we have money, and some engineering assistance as well. For the past three years, I have seen many people post on here about how you shouldn’t be upset about how your robot does, it’s the experience.
Well, on some levels I agree with this. The experience of building the robot, and teaching and inspiring students is extremely awarding. But I seriously doubt that ANYONE out there has never been upset when their robot broke down, or didn’t make it to the elimination rounds, or lost in the elimination rounds, etc. I am not saying that winning is everything, in fact, my personal opinion is FAR from that. However, winning is nice, bringing a trophy home to your sponsor doesn’t hurt, and having a robot that doesn’t move isn’t the most fun thing in the world either.
All I’m trying to say here, is that I think it is more than understandable to be upset, or even mad if you didn’t win. It’s ok, as long as it does not keep you from staying in this competition the year after. OK, enough rambling, if anyone disagrees, please respond, this is just my opinion.

Jason

Posted by Matt Leese at 03/12/2001 1:28 PM EST

Other on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

I really doubt not being chosen had little to do with how great your robot was. You have to remember that when picking alliance partners, you want a team that will compliment your own team. You don’t want to pick a team that does the exact same thing your team does – that’s not going to help you in the elimination rounds. Don’t take it so personally. Not everyone can make the elimination rounds. Also, remember that the most important part of the entire FIRST competition is not the regionals and nationals. Instead, it’s the six week construction time. That’s where some of the most important lessons are learned.

Matt

Posted by Andy Grady at 03/12/2001 1:31 PM EST

Other on team #126, Gael Force, from Clinton High School and Nypro Inc…

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

Rob,
Unfortunately every year great teams get overlooked and it is a great bashing to a teams spirits. I have been part of 2 different teams now in my time in FIRST. One of them the picker, who is well known throughout FIRST, the other was a smaller, little known team who struggled on many occasions to get noticed. While with the smaller team we had been overlooked on a couple of occasions too, and of course we were very unhappy when we didn’t get picked. Unfortunately many teams do not scout to the point where they find these gems in the rough and instead go with names that they recognize over robotic skill. Don’t give up though, just because you are a smaller team does not mean that you have to go unnoticed for the rest of the competitions. Here are some suggestions which may help your team get noticed and raise your chances of getting picked…

  1. Always aim high, the best way to get into teams heads is to hold the number 1 spot in the rankings at one point in the day. In many cases all it takes is one good round and people will flock to your pit wondering who you are and why you are up on top of the leaderboard. Of course this is easier said than done.

  2. Be friendly with other teams, especially on the field. If you talk to other teams, make friends, they will remember your number. Also if you work with another team real well while on the field (especially if you use total honesty about your robot) they will remember that. (note: be careful not to annoy other teams, this could be bad!)

  3. Make something about your team stand out. Anything from a team name change, or color change in your t-shirts can make a world of difference. My team in 99 did this between regionals and nationals. We went from a light blue shirts to bright orange shirts (keep in mind bright orange shirts are becomming common so get creative) and changed our name from a long hard to remember name to a short catchy name that everyone remembers. On various occasions people would ask me what team i was on, i would answer 42 and they would have the reaction of “Ohhh, PARTS, the team with the bright orange shirts!”

  4. Team Spirit and Gracious Professionalism. People will remember you if you are great at cheering (especially if you cheer for their team). Also any way you can help another team, whether it be loaning them tools or whatever always helps you stick out in a teams mind.

Though I cannot guarentee this will work for everyone, it does help a little and it does enhance the students experience of the competition. If they go out, have fun and make friends, im sure that any bad things competitionwise will be overlooked. So I wish you good luck at your next competition, and have fun.
Andy Grady =)

Posted by Allen Smith at 03/12/2001 2:19 PM EST

Engineer on team #7, Knights, from Parkville High School and Black & Decker/AAI/Raytheon.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

I have to say ditto to the mingling comments. In the pits we were right next to one of the alliance partners that picked us, and we had been helping each other all weekend. We were staying in the same hotel as the other alliance partner that picked us and we had been talking strategy, team building, etc. the previous two nights.

A coach on a picking team told me they made one of their selections because a team stuck a flyer describing their robot’s abilities into his hand only moments before he needed to make a pick.

Many times the teams doing the picking never expected to be in that position, so don’t go away thinking there was an intentional slight, just resolve to make yourself more visable next time.

I want to edit together the 3 times team 7 Parkville High School helped backstop the ramp for a quick balance and put it on a loop running in our pits in Florida. I know there will be many teams claiming they can do this but how many have successfully done it in competition? Anyone know where I can get a VHS loop tape?

Posted by Patrick Butler at 03/13/2001 5:57 AM EST

Student on team #122, NASA Knights, from NHGS and NASA Langley Research Center.

In Reply to: Flyers don’t hurt either
Posted by Allen Smith on 03/12/2001 2:19 PM EST:

: A coach on a picking team told me they made one of their selections because a team stuck a flyer describing their robot’s abilities into his hand only moments before he needed to make a pick.

COUGH COUGH Wonder how that got there, Rick . . . That was us, gotta love our flyers :). But, we definitely did as we said we could (and helped out), even though we weren’t planned on which is always a nice plus for the alliance.

Patrik

Over the ramp and under the bar to grandmother’s goal we go. . .

Posted by Jason Flanagan at 03/14/2001 12:04 AM EST

Student on team #250, Dynamos, from Shenendehowa HSE and General Electric, Verizon, .

In Reply to: Re: Flyers don’t hurt either
Posted by Patrick Butler on 03/13/2001 5:57 AM EST:

yeah I’ll definitly have to renforce that idea having the flyers with a pretty picture in front of you seeing exactly what the bot can do is a definite nice thing to have

Posted by Doyle Capps at 03/12/2001 3:48 PM EST

Other on team #343, Metal in Motion, from Hamilton Career Center.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

What we did was start scouting the moment we arrived at VCU. As each team went through the practice rounds we kept track of what we could see them do and what they tried to do. (Some teams did improve during the matches and that was also noted.) We tried to see as many robots as we could without getting in the way and talked to lots and lots of people.
At the end of the first day we were in first place and started making a list of what type of robots with what abilities would compliment our design. (We can’t handle balls and we can’t limbo under the bar.) At the end of competition we were in 7th and could only make suggestions since we were not the head of the alliance.
All the teams that were picked for our alliance have our sincere thanks in that we all worked together to end up with first place. We could not have done it without them and we would like to think they could not have done it without us.

Because this is our 2nd year and we hope to be around a long time we do not want to alienate any team and hope that each one on our team demonstrates ‘gracious professionalism’ and true courtesy to all other teams. As a parent of 2 team members and a team member myself I hope anyone seeing a member of our team not living up to first standards will let us know.

Unfortunately all teams don’t get picked for the finals and our time may be coming. Thanks Rob for your ability to express your disappointment in a responsible manner. I would like to congratulate you and the others at VCU for the hospitality we received and the gracious professionalism exhibited by all the teams.

Posted by Gary Stearns at 03/12/2001 5:23 PM EST

Other on team #236, Techno Ticks, from Lyme Old lyme High School and Millstone Power Station.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

Like everyone before has said: Visibility, Team Name, Sprit, Filers, an Awesome BOT…High ranking, should be what makes the perfect Alliance Partner, But unless you are in the top 8 you’ll be in line hoping to be picked like the rest. Remember the reason we’re here, build a bot, and learn a lot.
One thing this game is stressing is real life. One task Many different individuals with different strengths working to do it better than any one else. Some say I want more competition (kinda but not like Battle Bots)Dean, and Woody, and the rest of the FIRST org. cane up with a game that allowed Teams with little experience and less funds to play with the super teams.
Instead of being a spoiler in a match. Just getting the way of a Bot trying to score.
The Alliances reflected this usually they were 2 Big Ball Bots a Balancer and some combination of Limbo Bot, Tug Bot, Ramp Bot, Bridge Tender Bot… well see what I mean.

Anyway TEAM!!.. 236!! TECHNO TICKS!!!

Posted by Alan Federman at 03/12/2001 10:56 PM EST

Engineer on team #255, Odyssey, from Foothill HS, San Jose and NASA.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

Rob -

Don’t feel bad.

In our first regional we won 9 out of 12 matches and won the last 8 straight. We did not get picked. The reason we didn’t get picked is we didn’t compliment potential alliance partners. In our second year we won the Nationals, we spent a lot of time scouting - but even so the last few minutes were so confused we almost missed being on stage to make our alliance picks. The sad fact of it is that not all the deserving teams can be in the finals.

This is not to say that winning is terrific and does great things for the team and the school. But even in that rookie year when we finished 192 out of 208 at the Nationals - all the students (This is an alternative high school) - graduated or were promoted.
Now parents are asking how they can get their kids into the robotics program.

Your time may come - it may never come - but what are your team’s goals? Did the team members grow as people? If yes - then you are winners in my book.

Are you going to the Nationals? Hope to see you there!

Posted by Carolyn Duncan at 03/14/2001 4:00 PM EST

Student on team #495, The Pack, from Jamestown High School and VBEP/Raytheon/Saic.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

I totally understand where you are comming from. Team 495 was also in this position except we are rookies and were not fortunate enough to rank as well. I held up a sign before our final match that said “We do what we say we can do.” This was out of frustration from being paired with teams who did not complete the tasks they claimed to be able to perform. We are also a small team, 17 people including 7 mentors, and could only afford VCU and Orlando. Hopefully in Orlando things will be better for all teams who were in this situation.
: Carolyn

Posted by Carolyn Duncan at 03/14/2001 6:45 PM EST

Student on team #495, The Pack, from Jamestown High School and VBEP/Raytheon/Saic.

In Reply to: Re: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by Carolyn Duncan on 03/14/2001 4:00 PM EST:

: I totally understand where you are comming from. Team 495 was also in this position except we are rookies and were not fortunate enough to rank as well. I held up a sign before our final match that said “We do what we say we can do.” This was out of frustration from being paired with teams who did not complete the tasks they claimed to be able to perform. We are also a small team, 17 people including 7 mentors, and could only afford VCU and Orlando. Hopefully in Orlando things will be better for all teams who were in this situation. We also had plenty of teams tell us they wanted to pick us in the finals. Unfortunately we never got to practice with them.
: : Carolyn

Posted by Matt Anwari at 03/14/2001 6:10 PM EST

Coach on team #116, Epsilon Delta, from Herndon High School and NASA.

In Reply to: Perplexed after Richmond Regional
Posted by rob kelly on 03/12/2001 12:20 PM EST:

To Mr. Rob Kelly
Hi! I’m one of the members of the Flight Crew on team 116, (the team that ranked 4th), and i feel i can answer your question. We never prepared or even comprehended that we would even get in 4th place! We were so amazed when we were in 30th a while before it. We haven’t had much luck in competition and when we did come in 4th, we just looked at each other and pondered, “What do we do now?” Just the night before, we stayed up all night trying to make flyers to pass out to other teams so that “we” would be picked. Once we saw that it was going to be us that would do the picking, we panicked! We struggled in the 10 minutes that we had to come up with teams to pick. You saw us…we tried to pick the top seeded team! Don’t take it personally. I can’t speak for any other teams, but we were just unprepared. In nationals come up with more propaganda so that someone would notice you. Good luck in nationals and we hope to see you, (maybe even be partnered up with you), there!

Yours Truly

Matt, Team 116, Epsilon Delta

PS: We were the ones who were paired up on that last match weren’t we? Which team number were you?