I know i can speak for everyone with this, but the consensus on my team wasn’t winning. This season was about challenging us in ways we’ve never have before. Going to another regional, building a more intricate bot, changing to java, as well as trying out vision. We don’t have much time in the off season so most of this learning has to come in the build season.
As I have been apart of this program for a while with another team, I can confidently say my old team was always trying to win, and we’ve gotten close in the past, and faced the sadness of getting so close and failing. In 2012 we lost comms every other match at nyc and sbpli, which causes us to lose in the finals. 2013 we lost comms 3 times in semis #3, it prevented us from climbing, which we never missed once. The first time, the only time we missed was the field losing comms with our laptop, and we lost by 7 points. We didn’t argue for a replay, our team accepted it. Also in 2013 at nyc we had our 30 point climber and 20 point pyramid goal bot lose comms to the field, and our opponents lost comms as well. They won the match and even argued on our behalf for a replay seeing as it wasn’t fair the match didn’t play out to its fullest.
I’ve seen first hand how refs, FMS, and human player/driver mistakes can cost a match. But have always learned to not dwell on it too much. Its something to use as a reason to fight harder next year. A way to inspire students to try harder, because you got close but you didn’t get to win.
Heck 66 teams competed at NYC only 3 teams get to win, that means 63 other teams have to go home disappointed. I know some teams think the end goal is winning. Being apart of FIRST, and being taught so much by my mentors lead me to want to study engineering in college. Me and two friends from my team wanted to give back the same way or mentors did. We created a team in college, and give up most if not all our free time. Were not doing it to try and win/ stay in the program. Were trying to help inspire kids the way our mentor inspired us. We want to bring FIRST to a new set of kids. Thats why our students are pushing to try and create new FLL, FTC, and FRC teams in our area. This kids first hand went from just a driving bot that didn’t preform how they expected to building a bot they are proud of. I think some of these kids might try to mentor teams in college if they could, and thats what this program is really about. Outreaching STEM, not going after some medals.
The medals and winning is what keeps us like sports, what separates us from is the fact that we see our results and hard work come to life, and even when we lose we still have gained experiences and learned valuable skills.
I’ve gone back to my high school and seen the old bots I’ve helped build and can remember how much I learned that year while working on it. Its physical proof of concept to reality, other sports don’t get the same gratification that FIRST gives.