Posted by Mark Stover.
Coach on team #293, Bullbots, from Hopewell Valley Central HS, Pennington, NJ and Janssen Pharmaceutica / Morehouse Engineering.
Posted on 4/10/2000 6:21 PM MST
In Reply to: Lack of the good ol’ strategy team posted by Andy Grady on 4/10/2000 4:33 PM MST:
I’m glad to see that there are some teams that are shocked at how we, 293, did not get picked for the finals (along with several other good teams) while there were some seemingly not as good teams that did. We left nationals with a smile on our face and had a great time, but also with a severely bitter taste in our mouths.
I had posted a message before nationals mentioning that my greatest fear was that we would not get picked even after winning 2 regionals – and sadly my fear was realized. I knew it was possible because we did not have an impressive looking robot, a large team with bright, bold colors, and a reputation (we were rookies to nationals). Our motto after the regionals was ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.’ and we fought valiantly.
Several of us disected the reasons why we got overlooked. The first reason is that best robots for the qualifications are different than best for elims. While we won 6 of the 7 Q-matches, we could not score enough for the other alliance to get points (especially when both played full-D) and look impressive in scoring ability. Several teams also got lucky in alliance pairing and got the full effect of the 3x scoring. The second major reason is that we did not have the marketing ability and connections as the larger teams do. With only 6 students, we could not afford to have them selling our team to all the teams all day nor did we have a huge cheering section with bright, wild shirts to make everyone recognize you. I am absolutely positive that that is why some teams got picked above us (the squeekly wheel syndrome). Also, a lot of scouting efforts fell apart with 4 courts to watch and plus, we did not even have an official practice slot so that people knew where/when to come watch us.
And you know what? after all the disecting of what we could have done differently, we realized that it is not about winning or even finishing well, but the experience itself that is truly rewarding. It was just really tough explaining to the students (and adults) that it’s just like life and sometimes the best do not get recognized and you get delt a bad hand, epecially when you feel just as bad.
We had a great time, learned a lot from this experience, and truly embodied the spirit of FIRST among our team – which is everything we could ask for. We are truly proud of our performance this year (2 Regionals and still undefeated in Elmination rounds), more than any of us ever dreamed of. The Bullbots vow to be back next year and hope to be a bigger and better team than this year.
We congratulate ALL FIRST participants and hope to see everyone next year.