Please quit bashing Houston

As a Houstonian, a Lone Star Regional committee member, and part of the team that submitted the 2004-2006 Championship Proposal to FIRST, I would like to plea that the CD community quit bashing Houston.

Although the 2003 Championships were a success, Houston was truly embarrassed with the problems that could have been resolved with a little more attention by the event organizers. In defense of FIRST, they were on a short fuse to get the event planned. In defense of the Houston FIRST Community, not one Lone Star Committee member or local team leader was invited to be on the 2003 Championship Planning Committee.

Houston is a great city with world class facilities. In our proposal, we had solutions to all of FIRST concerns (food, ramps, hotels, etc.) but we could never overcome the negative wake that was left from the 2003 Championships. Along with offering Reliant Stadium again, we offered Minute Made Park as an option which solved FIRST’s concern about “green space,” pits close to the fields and nearby hotels.

For a true perspective of Houston, please ask those that attend the Lone Star Regional for their opinion. In Houston, we know that the teams are our customers and we strive to make them VERY happy.

Concerning Atlanta, CONGRATULATIONS! You have a beautiful city with beautiful facilities.

Thanks for listening to my plea,

You are 100% right. There were a lot of things about the 2003 championship that I didn’t like, but I thought that they were obviously things that could be fixed. It’s always easy to sit back and criticize things that worked well and didn’t work well, but hindsight is 20/20. I think that given another chance, Houston would have done a wonderful job. Let’s also keep in mind that Atlanta had a similar dome/secondary-building arrangement and I’m sure a lot of the lessons learned from Houston were incorporated into the Atlanta setup. Given the lessons learned, it’s easy for Atlanta to look better than Houston.

since Houston was the 1st championship 'post WDW" I think no matter what you did, Disney was a tough act to follow

now that we are getting out of the ‘nationals as a reward’ frame of thinking people will look back at Houston in a few years and realize it wasnt that bad

My thoughts: Houston was a learning experience. I don’t begrudge anyone for how that turned out last year. There was very little time, and as Ken said, Disney was a hard act to follow. I enjoyed both Houston and Atlanta, and I’m sure, with the same amount of time and preparation, Houston could have been just as successful as Atlanta this year.

Houston was my first ever national competition, it will always hold a special place in my heart :smiley:

I only hope for the day for the nationals to return to Orlando…jeez our travel expenses were dirt cheap it was great…hehe

Natchez is definitely right here. I was very happy with Houston as the championship in the time allotted to them. These kinds of events take more planning in advance than Houston had the chance but nonetheless they put on a great event. Were there problems and things that could have ran smoother? I would say yes. But I saw several things in Atlanta that could have ran smoother, and will next year, also. These things include getting into the pit area and moving from the pit area to the stands.

I liked both Houston and Atlanta a lot (other than lack of heated pools. Does anyone tell them it is cold?) but it is because I enjoy the competitions way more than I could care about the venues. I guess I’m only a second-year so I miss out on this magically place that everyone more than a couple year FIRSTers call Epcot. I like the venue and city we’re in but would love to go back to Reliant someday too.

HOUSTON did not drop the ball guys. The Lone Star committee and the Houston Convention people tried as hard as the could to make it work. They were not included and consulted by FIRST incase you did not read Lucien’s post. FIRST let the teams down and didn’t put on a good Nationals and didn’t give themselves enough time to make it good. You think Atlanta was better this year? Do you honestly think FIRST learned nothing at all from Houston and that they hit themselves on the head until the forgot everything everyone told them about Houston? They learned from their mistakes and brought that knowledge to Atlanta, and that’s why Atlanta was successful.

To reiterate, Houston was nothing but absolutely, fully, and totally supportive of FIRST. FIRST turned a deaf ear the suggestions and advice from the local committtee, and they let the FIRST community down. Obviously FIRST realized the error of their ways and fixed the process in Atlanta, but it is in NO way the fault of Houston or any of the FIRST people in Houston that Nationals last year had problems. You can ask anyone who has attended LSR if the Houston committee knows what it’s doing and how to put on a good event.

I will attempt to put it in terms that any FIRSTer can understand. Imagine you are a mentor of a rookie FIRST team. The team has an excellent machine shop at its disposal, CNC, the works. You and a team of expert FIRSTers and engineers are brought into the team 2 weeks late, but you know you can pull off a great design… but the kids just won’t listen to you and you can’t do anything without them thanks to the rules of the team. You tell them how to make a great robot, and they go off and make every rookie mistake known to man. Imagine your frustration. Imagine how you would feel when other teams look at your robot that sort of runs and tell you that you did the best you could when you know that you could’ve done better if only the kids would have listened to your advice…

Except, of course, that all good FIRSTers know that rookie mistakes are due to inexperience and don’t assume the team is fundamentally flawed and useless because their rookie year wasn’t the best, don’t they?

Joseph- It didnt work because they had 3 months to plan the entire event. Give them a break. I dont care how bad it was. It wasn’t because they didnt try, it was because they were given an impossible task.

If you gave Disney 3 months, or Atlanta 3 months, they would both be hard pressed to deliver what you would consider to be acceptable.

If you want to dislike Houston, fine, but at least understand what the real situation was, and why things happened the way they did.


wow, okay… sounds like we are bashing ourselves/others now?? now now simmer down now… haha… hmnn my opininion, houston was my first championship ive attended, and whether it made FIRST learn anything or not, i helped ME learn a lot… about people, FIRST, and robots of course… it also drew me closer to first and being a part of robotics…everyone should know, everyone makes mistakes… and of course with experience, everything gets better… i didnt really notice much flaws (cept a few minor things) but it didnt get in my way at all… and it didnt really bother me… of course 3 months is impossible for such a big even to arrange, but guess what? they actually arranged it… so they get many props from me for doing that, just take the robot that was built in 10 HOURs! they had limited times, and most likely limited items too… they managed to pull off a robot and actually run it in the fields, im sure there were minor drawbacks (no hard feelings). but hey, it worked! isnt it just the same as this? well yea. this is my thought… didnt think it would be this long… but yeah… although houston had a few problems, i had no problems and it was my first so of course it was the best experience for me…

I think this illustrates a good point. We should all look to the new people, be they rookies, or new members of veteran teams. Did they enjoy the event? Did it excite them about FIRST? If the answer to both questions is “yes”, then the event was a success, no matter how it compares to previous years. I think sometimes, us veterans get so worked up in our nostalgia for the old days at Epcot that we forget that. FIRST is about inspiration, not what kind of cool things you can do and see at the Championship. Be it in Disney World, Houston, Atlanta, or anywhere else… it’s about inspiration.

Though I did not attend Nats at Houston, I have been at the Lone Star Regional for the past 4 years. I must say, each year, Lone Star never ceases to amaze me. The amount of thoughtful energy that is put into that even is unsurpassed. I think that had first had the time and rescources that it had for Atlanta, it would have been just as good. Unfortunately, FIRST did not have the experience that it did for Atlanta, and was going blind in the respect that they were going to host a major event in a new city and did not let any locals on board. I commend FIRST for doing what they did all things considered and for learning from their mistakes and making Atlanta a great event.


Why Houston and Texas Rock:
*Great Hotels and lots of stuff to do around town
*Fireworks on the outside of town
*Everybody drives a truck
*Its Texas for Gods Sake!

Why Houston Sucked:
*Terrible Pit Lay-out
*Poor transportation from hotels to arena
*Difficulty with rental cars due to shuttle search teams

I liked Houston, besides the problems with the pits and transportation. Atlanta is a great town too, I love the South and can’t wait to go next year.

I do agree, FIRST did learn a lot from Houston. A lot of these lessons learned were brought to Atlanta and helped make this Championship an improvement. Atlanta had a much longer time to prepare, I give a lot of credit to the Houston group for being able to put together a successful event in such a short time. We can all learn from each other, there is no need to bash anyone since Houston really did a great job with the resources and the time that was given to them. I know that Atlanta had many more months and we still would have needed more time to get everything done right. Please don’t bash Houston, you all really helped make this event a success. Thank you and hopefully next year the Atlanta event will be even better.