Posted by Splash.

Student on team #53, Team Inferno, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School and NASA GSFC.

Posted on 8/23/2000 5:14 PM MST

: I am pretty sure that my hat is safe on this one:
: I will eat my hat if FIRST will ever goes to a water based field.
: Joe J.
: P.S. All bets are off if FIRST forms that pro-league I am always lobbying for :wink: Although I wouldn’t mind eating hat stew every now and again if it helped bring about a pro FIRST league.

I started thinking about ‘what if FIRST had a pro-league.’ I can see good reasons for it, but mostly bad ones. Having a pro league would make it easier to show more matches on ESPN. All the times I’ve seen it on tv, the featured matches had 3 (97 & 98) great teams. With a league of say 100 of the top teams, many more matches could be shown, not to mention top teams like Chief Delphi and HotBot would not be so ‘unbeatable.’ Also having a pro league would give teams incentive to work hard. Earning your way into the big-leagues is how most professional sports do it.

Now the bad things. If there were only 100 top teams, it would be hard to decide who gets in. Some teams would be snuffed. Another problem is that having a pro-league that you have to earn your way into would encourage less student involvement. While there are some great student-only teams, most of the schools that get little to no engineering support, would not be included in this league. By the time a group of studnets at a high school had enough experience to build a professional robot, they would be graduating, and the next group of students would not be ready for the pros. And a lot of teams will say they have a lot of student involvement. Putting the pieces together does not count as student building in my opinion and watching the robot be built does not count in my opinion. I’m not trying to bash the teams where the engineers do all the work, they have great robots and they make FIRST better. But my point is that schools that do not have engineering support would be forced into competition with other amateur robots, and not get the exposure to some of the great robots that the engineers build. And the my last reason in opposition to the pro-league, is that the amateur league would not be as fun. Even having just one great robot and 3 bad ones in a match is more of a thrill than 4 equally matched robots. The depth of alliance selections would be slim and the elimination rounds would go as expected, higher seed always winning.

Just my thoughts, I see how a professional league could be beneficial to FIRST, but I also see how it could make teams more prone to dropping out.

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 8/23/2000 8:42 PM MST

In Reply to: Pro-League posted by Splash on 8/23/2000 5:14 PM MST:

The Extreme League I am proposing would no more be a competitor to the current FIRST league than pro sports are competitors to the NCAA & highschool sports.

They are not competitors so much as complements.

FIRST Lego League -> FIRST Highschool Only League (yet to be formed) -> FIRST (the current league Partnerships between HS & sponsors) -> FIRST Extreme League (yet to be formed)

Each league builds on the other. No teams from the current FIRST competition would be forced into the Extreme League. As to who would enter, I think it could be handled in a number of ways. As an example, pro motorsports seems to have this problem figured out. We could probably steel some of the pages out of their rule book.

To my way of thinking, the whole point of FIRST is to change the culture using engineering competitions to inspire the general population. I see this continuum of robotics leagues as playing an important role in accomplishing that goal.

By the way, how many Formula 1 racing teams are there? I think it is under a couple dozen. I can easily see 24 Fortune 500 companies deciding to join a pro-level FIRST league if it is done right.

I am not crazy. I believe that the world I long for really can be made to exist. I work for it everyday. Perhaps we will get there soon.

Joe J.

Posted by Jason Iannuzzi.

Engineer on team #11, Marauders, from Mt. Olive HS. and BASF, Rame Hart, CCM.

Posted on 8/25/2000 2:17 PM MST

In Reply to: Extreme League in on one one of the continuum posted by Joe Johnson on 8/23/2000 8:42 PM MST:

I love it!

Where do I send my resume? I think I’m more than qualified for a position as a professional FIRST engineer.


Posted by Matt Leese.

Student on team #7 from Parkville High School and NASA, Black & Decker, AAI, Raytheon.

Posted on 8/25/2000 9:22 PM MST

In Reply to: Extreme League in on one one of the continuum posted by Joe Johnson on 8/23/2000 8:42 PM MST:

Ok, here’s my main problem with the propsed idea. First of all, the idea of FIRST is to promote engineering in students. Having a pro-league without students kind of defeats the purpose of that. Secondly, it would be a lot harder to get people (read engineers) to help out with the high school league if they could do it themselves at the pro-level. It would also be a bit harder to get company involvement. One of the few ways (IMHO) that teams getting sponsorship is because of the ‘coolness’ factor of FIRST – it’s unique. If there’s something bigger and badder out there it’s going to be a lot harder to get sponsored.

Now one thing that I would like to see would be a college level competition but once you get beyond that I think you start getting away from the real purpose of FIRST. You would have a point with the ‘role models’ idea but I figure you’re more likely to be impressed by the drivers than the engineers (sort of like Formula 1, no?). That’s just my $.02.

Matt – sorry for the rant