Question of the Week!!! (5/24/04)

Well, it has been quite a while since I have posted a Question of the Week (about 3 or 4 years now), and due to the summer months with all the activity dropping on the boards, it is time to bring some conversation back. Thank you to Ken, M Krass, and the others who helped it survive as long as it did, now it is time for me to come out of retirement and get the ball rolling once again!

**Question of the Week (5/24/04):

What was the most difficult aspect of this years challenge, technical, personal or professional, for you or your team to overcome?**

Remember, as always I am open to suggestions for any questions that you would like to be posted. Feel free to PM me, e-mail me ([email protected]), or IM me (quietriverrage1) with any suggestions.

Have fun!
Andy Grady

For me…

Field reset

Trying to work faster while everybody is yelling at us to go faster so we can finish on time.

I cant wait for Battlecry!


able to turn easily in high gear…

I would have to say-us not getting picked in nationals. Its been 4 or 5 years in a row that we were picked/could pick. We were all just confused and disappointed about it, and it was just hard to get over.

Getting the team to be a TEAM:ahh:
5 different high schools makes things a little bit more complicated plus a new orgnizational system, and THEN conflicting personalities and jobs, involvement, etc
sometimes i’m not sure it totally worked, but hey, we tried and i know it worked for most of the team:)

My personal goal this year was to communicate the details of the season back to the students, parents, and sponsors via a newsletter and e-mails and meeting minutes. I found it frustrating when e-mail systems bounced my e-mail as “spam”, when people kept changing their addresses and when people stopped reading the e-mails…but then asked the same questions that were already answered in the e-mails! :frowning:

I think it might have been getting the team to understand urgency.There always seems to be the thought that we have lots of time. If we were rookies I would understand. We had problems with this last year and things did not improve much this year. The other issue was Chairmans Award. The team felt that they couldn’t win so why bother. It came to a point were I lost it (not the best thing to do when trying to set an example) and started yelling. For some reason I couldn’t get them to understand that you can learn alot about yourselves and your direction by doing the Chairmans. Cooler heads prevailed eventually and the submission was made. I am not sure if they learned anything (hey guys let me know) but it should make it easier next year to get done.

Personally time management was an issue. Work, robotics and family are tough to balance. Family took the worse part followed by work. Boy when I finished I had a lot of make up to do (still do). Still I would find it difficult to give up.

This year Team 573 was left without a team to go to, so the Juggernauts took us in. It was hard for us to gel together as one team at first - considering the differences in ideologies and the ways both teams work. Differences aside some weeks after, we did come together as a team, and that made the FIRST season a very enjoyable experience.

The most dificult aspect of this season for me was the transition from Pit Crew to Competition team. On our team, we have set people who are chosen to be on each, and they are mutually exclusive. In the past, I had always been on pit crew, and I really enjoyed the challanges that it offered. From rebuilding a 10’ wing in 20 mins on MOEhawk in 2002 to the constant rapid maintenance of GeroniMOE to keep it stacking, there was a continuous flow of challanges that offered themselves to be completed. This year, however, I expressed my interest in Competition Team. The past year, I had disagreed with many of the on-field decisions made by the comp team, so I decided that “well, of course I can do better than that”, so I wanted to be on Comp team. As fate would have it, I passed all of the requirements and was selected to be the arm, kilt, and everything else but wheels driver. This, too I enjoyed, along with the immense amount of stress and pressure it carried with it. The experiance also gave me another perspective on how difficult it is to make strategy decisions on the fly, and make the robot do exactly what you want it to do. Although…while I have a greater appreciation as to why all those “other” MOE drivers made the decisions they did, I still think they were wrong /sarcasm :rolleyes:

Building a robot on time. Fund raising. Team raising. Designing.

Wait, thats 4!

If I had to pin it to one thing, I’d say it was getting into the groove of things. We were rookies this year, and I think Palmetto was an eye-opener. I mean, we kinda kept a low profile this year, especially with SPAM to your left and ComBBAT to your right. But now that we know what we’re up against, I think we’re more inclined to come back in a year and bring out the required can of graciously-professional whoop-booty.

Finding sponsors. Our founder’s mom paid our team’s entry fee for the Nationals.

Being the coach it was kind of difficult, but fun none the less, to see everything thats going on during the match, think what is supposed to happen, telling my drivers what to do, which was easy because already knew what they were doing. Also being in charge of scouting was pretty hard too. Especially in Atlanta.

First off: we have our original host of the Question of the Week back. Yay!

::waves to Andy::

Now, on topic:

Personally: being able to get to the competitions this year. Of course, I have a grade-A posse, so that was solved rather quickly. So my most difficult challenge this year was queing at Blitz. I mean, I knew what the job was, but had never done it. You try to get your crew to get teams in the waiting area before they go on deck. Problem is a lot of teams like to drag their feet. So I’m hounding my pit crew from the field, they’re hounding the teams, teams wait until the last possible minute, and it gets very messy. But it was still fun. And I witnessed Dez hitting the Big Red Button. :smiley:

The toughest thing for our team was that we lost our sponsors, and all financial backing. This is tough to get used to because we have always had money “handed” to us.
As a Mentor it was very tough (and still is) to get the students to participate in fundraisers! I have great fundraisers lined up for this summer where we can raise over $4,000.00 in two days, but I still can’t get the kids to comit! It gets very frustrating for myself and my husband (who is the teacher) when we give up so much of our time to line up these fundraisers and work them (even our kids ages 5 and 8 work them with us) and we have kids who feel they are to busy to help with the team except when it comes to building the robot and going to the competition. I’m sorry that this sounds like complaining, my husband and I love the FIRST program and have been involved for over 10 years. We stay involved because if we were ever to take a year off there would be no team. There is no one else from the school willing to help out. What do other mentors do to motivate your students when it comes to fundraising?
All you students out there if you haven’t done this already you should take a minute to thank your teacher for all that they do for you! With our team the kids always thank the engineers (which they deserve) but always forget about the teacher. It would make their day!
Again sorry for the complaining!

I’d have to say that it was watching alliance partners get in our way instead of helping us and watching them drive stupidly.

No offense to anyone… :cool:


Mentors or students who show up for 1 day of kickoff, and/or an hour or two of build season each week, who complain about what’s been done, and demand things be changed to their way, and/or criticize the results who think that ONLY a winning robot is what this program is about.

Mentors/students/parents who complain and insist “this should be done, this should be done” and have expectations the SAME people who are already overwhelmed and busy will do MORE, rather than the complainers volunteering the time and effort themselves.

Kudos to the majority of our mentors/students and parents for wonderful support of encouragement, time, money, supplies, food and energy.

Kudos to the parents and students who were disappointed with some results, but instead of criticizing appreciate what was done, and commit to putting in more time and effort for next season to put into place some changes they’d like to see happen.

Communication. Between all the team members, we spoke 11 languages. But sometimes the listening isn’t great. :frowning:

And the time management issues. As I’ve said before somewhere in these forums, there is a commonly embraced philosophy of why do anything now when “I” can wait until the last possible minute.