Saving seats and Dean's homework

I attended the Midwest Regional this weekend - great event. I was frustrated once again about trying to find a place to sit as many seats seemed to be “saved” by coats, bags or whatever. When I located some empty seats I was welcomed with comments like “those seats are saved” or “someone is sitting there.” Or, people would sit in every other seat in order to save entire sections of seating. There was a couple of seats that I sat in to be pushed out of because they were “saved for someone.” Exerting GP I moved to another seat only to watch NO ONE sit in the “saved” seats for the entire afternoon.

I was not wearing team logo - the people saving the seats would not know whether I was a corporate sponsor or a general member of the public.

It frustrates me because Dean wants us to invite the public to attend our events. How will the public be treated when there is no open seating - and then, when someone sits in an available seat they are discouraged from being there. Is this the way we want to treat the public??

I wonder, if my mother came to the event and was looking for a place to sit would she be welcomed like she should be!

Clearly, FIRST has always said there is no saved seating. How come people forget about this.

Perhaps Dean’s homework should have been a refresher course on GP - for teams and parents!

I had never thought of it in the way that you said it , though I personally don’t advocate saving seat. I would not want to have invited or even general public come in and be treated that way. Perhaps this is something we can work on ourselves.

I also do not agree with the seat saving. I have gotten my teammates mad at a me a few time in the past because I did not save them a seat. If you want to get people interested it’s not the smartest thing to tell them they can’t sit down because the seat is saved for someone who may not come back for an hour. And plus I like sitting next to people who don’t know anything about the game. It gives me a chance to explain to them what the game is and what FIRST is all about.

Next time look for 1038, we’ll welcome you into any open seat near us, give you buttons, and urge you to cheer on the teams on the field. We’ll gladly move any belongings of our team mates that have moved to scout in the pits or are buying food, or who have volunteered to work at the event.

I think the best thing to do is announce, over the loud speaker and by message on the big screen, that there is NO SAVING SEATS.

Frankly, every time I’ve encountered this, it has not been a team member or a mentor. It has been a parent or other attendee who probably has not been well schooled in gracious professionalism and does not yet have the vision of how we should act at events.

Instead, they’re acting like it’s a movie theater where if they get there first, it’s “theirs”.

Announcements over the loud speakers etc would remind newcomers and would lend teams some needed support when they have to tell someone “while I appreciate that you’d like to save this seat, it’s not allowed at a First Competition Venue” - and promptly sit themselves down.

I have mixed feelings on this issue. I understand where you guys are coming from and it does make sence. However if you dont save seats, your team may not get to sit together. I think one of the coolest things is looking in the stands and seeing a large team sitting next to eachother. A good example of this was the killer bees from midwest. They had yellow uniforms, and all sat in one area. When their team went, their whole section was jumping and cheering. I just dont think it would be as cool if teams were scattered around. I could see this issue both ways, and dont see it getting fixed.

We are one of those teams that saves seats.
We find it very important to have our team sit together. Having kids spread all over the arena gives off the impression of a lack of cohesiveness and it helps the teachers keep track of what are kids are doing at what time during the event. We do not chase people away though. If you want to sit with us go ahead. Just be prepared to be assimilated into the X-Cats way.:cool:

I totally agree, that’s how MORT is. We saved seats as soon as we got to the arena on Saturday not only b/c we have a huge team, but b/c its the final day and everyone, I mean EVERYONE comes. Those of you who saw our team at Trenton know how massive our team is. You kinda can’t miss the sea of yellow and black:D But also, teams sometimes save seats in order to have organized scouting and have alternates ready at hand. This is something very important to teams who scout well.

Also, if your team has had the same spot for the last 2 day of competition, let another team take it. Its a little unfair if another team has to sit all the way up in the stands when you have perfect seats throughout the regional. This happened to us and it made scouting,cheering, and also getting out of the arena a lot harder. We actually had people come from other teams constantly asking us if we “really needed those seats” and we assured them that they would be filled up. But yet again, we were asked over and over and finally, at the end of the day, it turned out that we needed more seats than that certain area of the stands had. So yeah…save seats only when you need to.

This is a huge pet peeve of mine…

Section 3 of the documentation:

Sitting together in a group during competition matches makes the game more exciting and fun. It’s where you can show support for your team. Since very often there is not enough seating to accommodate everyone, there has to be a policy regarding seating. Teams are not allowed to save seating space.
With this in mind, it is not permitted to hang banners or ribbons to designate such an area. We will remove and discard banners or roping, etc. Please take turns sitting in the bleachers. Share the fun. When you see there is a crowding problem, leave after your team’s match and return later for another few matches.

I think one of the first comments was very important, YOU NEVER know who might be asking to sit down in the seats “saved” for your team. How many people know the Administrator of NASA or one of the Center Directors or some big potential corporate sponsor that came to the events to watch first hand of what FIRST is all about.

What if a judge came to your area because your section looked like fun and someone on your team (parent or visitor) said, “You can’t sit there, those seats are saved” We have to treat each person as you would treat your grandmother. Remember she is always watching…

As members of FIRST we have to constantly show Gracious Professionalism to everyone at the events. Never say those seats are saved, invite them to sit down and when your team gathers together for your matches, give them a pennant and have them hold on for the ride.

I want our team to always sit together, but it is very important that we allow people to sit down when there is an open seat. Our team is very enthusiastic in the stands and often the people behind us are always asking us to sit down. We cheer for our team and try to be considerate at the same time. Tough balance if you have people who just do not understand sitting behind you.

So I would suggest Never to tell anyone those seats are saved, let them sit down and make them part of your team. Explain the game, have them up and cheering by the time they leave. This is an event meant to be enjoyed, if your team has the best seats, then sure others will want to sit there. Maybe move your seats to an area “less than optimal”.

Good Luck and HAVE FUN!

We’re not that big a team, plus Buckeye is almost always half empty. I agree that while teams should sit together, you shouldn’t “shoo” away other visitors. Help them figure out what’s going on here. They shouldn’t play musical chairs to find a place to sit, it’s not only un-GP but downright rude.

At the NJ regional, I’ll admit that we were guilty of blocking off a section of seats for our team and guests, and we fully utilized them (and then some). In addition, at least once there was a seat open in our section and someone else came to sit in it, and we didn’t say anything to them about it because, well, they needed a seat, too.

What I often find to be true when the public comes and sits in a seat surrounded by a team, they sometimes feel awkward when they realize that they’re not here to root for that team. In at least one case, the individual asked where team 293 was sitting, and we gladly directed them.

Now, I may be alone on this opinion, but here’s what I believe are reasonable guidelines to think about in regards to creating blocks of seating:

  1. create a block of seats that you believe your team will need, and try to use a “border” as a guideline. Either consider taking half-rows, or start at the top or bottom of a section to box yourself in.

  2. Think about the needs of other teams, and make sure your neighbors have adequate seating. Don’t take 6 rows in the middle of a section only leaving two rows on top and two rows on the bottom. Take the bottom 6 rows or the top 6 rows so that a team that needs 4 can fit in.

  3. Don’t be afraid to mingle within a row. If you find that your neighbor needs more seats and they’re above you, there’s absolutely no reason that they shouldn’t be able to share a row with you.

  4. Don’t discourage the public from sitting with your team, even if they’re not associated with you. You may be surprised that some guests may be interested in FIRST and may not be associated with a team.

  5. As someone suggested above, be helpful to the public! Explain the game, direct them to places as necessary, and extend to them the gracious professionalism that we all tout so much.

Feel free to add to the list, but remember, don’t just think about your own team – you might just happen to be sitting next to the team that may end up being your alliance partners! :wink:

I have always had a problem finding seating within my own team. I seriously think that the amount of stuff a team can bring into the stands should be limited. I swear, we have more crap up there than people. Tubs and coats and whatever else you can think of… Using my team as an example, I’ve seen this everywhere I’ve been.

wow, what a complicated issue.
First off, I do respect teams MORT and the X-cats. However, it seems that they are clearly breaking a policy by FIRST.

Sitting together in a group during competition matches makes the game more exciting and fun. It’s where you can show support for your team. Since very often there is not enough seating to accommodate everyone, there has to be a policy regarding seating. Teams are not allowed to save seating space. With this in mind, it is not permitted to hang banners or ribbons to designate such an area. We will remove and discard banners or roping, etc. Please take turns sitting in the bleachers. Share the fun. When you see there is a crowding problem, leave after your team’s match and return later for another few matches.
It says: Teams are not allowed to save seating space.

To me it seems to me like there isn’t enough room for every member and fan of every team to sit together, and still have room for any non-team spectators to sit. I agree that this is a problem that must be solved for Deans homework to succeed. Here is a possible solution:
Have designated areas for “Spectators Only”. This could be one or two seating sections where anyone with a team shirt is not allowed. Anyone from the general public can sit here. This section should have a good view, so that non-team spectators can enjoy the event. Then, even if teams save seats, there is still a place for spectators.

Just my thoughts,

The problem I have with this arrangment is that it helps create an us and them attitude. I think if the public sat with a team even though they aren’t
associated, I feel like they would recieve more of the experience.
I definitely wouldn’t want our Gen. Shoemaker to be told that " this seat is saved." If you don’t know who he is look him up.

My personal opinion is that there just aren’t enough seats for everyone in the first place. At VCU last year, almost all the seats were taken! Maybe FIRST needs bigger venues?

Just my two cents

I’m going to clarify MORT’s seat-saving policy before this gets blown out of proportion.
MORT is a team of about fifty students. We also have a very active group of alumni who come back for regionals. It is not unusual for MORT’s section of the stands to contain about 100 people on a Saturday. In order for our team to sit together, we do take up a massive block of the stands. That’s just the nature of a team of our size.
If someone who is not from MORT tried to sit with MORT, I doubt (and sincerely hope, on behalf of my team) that anyone would give them a hard time unless someone was sitting there and had left to get food, go to the bathroom, etc. We do not mark seats as taken unless they actually are, and I would not begrudge it to any person, on or off the team, to sit with us.
That said, there are often seats in our section of the stands containing only a pile of coats. Just ask and we’ll move them for you!

The way I see it, MORT also has the common courtesy and sense to utilize a section of the stands that isn’t prime real estate that everyone else is “fighting” for. You realize that sometimes you have to make sacrifices to make sure you can fit everyone in. I suspect that we’ll be having to do similar things in the coming years. (Of course, this means now everyone will fight for the top box seats so we can all fit our huge teams :stuck_out_tongue: )

Indeed, the stands at NJ were almost maxed out.

First, MORT took up a sizable fraction of the arena, they are a HUGE team. It’s a beautiful sea of yellow and black!

Second, MORT selected very non-prime seats, off to the side and up pretty high. (A minor logistical issue when they came down for their trophy ensued…)

Third, I actually DID sit within MORT’s “area” and nobody said a word, shoo’d me away or anything - there was an empty seat, I sat there, later I left…Just like it should be.

I agree that teams need to sit together, and kind-of staking out your area is a real necessity. Chasing people away is to be frowned upon. If anyone were to say “that seat is saved”, I’d reply “OK, I’ll leave when they return”.

On a related note: I wish there was some better way of managing ALL THE COATS that are a necessity at a northern regional. Bring a team of 35 and you have to somewhere store 35 big fluffy coats - not to mention the other paraphernalia that teenagers bring with them. The pits don’t have the room, there is a security concern ( I don’t want my coat to walk away), I need occasional access to it, etc…

Hmmm, perhaps some team can organize a free Coat Check service next year…


I dont think they need bigger venues, mainly because they dont get much bigger. I do think they need to reorganize the set up. It they put the field in the middle of the stadium you could use the side bleachers that would be around 1/2 courd or the 50 yard line. This would allow seating on both sides of the field. They could split the pits into 2 sections like they do at WI. Put pits on either sides of the field. The only problem I see with this set up is trying to find a place for the large display screen.

There has always been the rule of no saving seats, but someone always does. its one thing if they are saving a seat for someone who just left to get some food or use the restrooms, but saving seats for the end of the day for the awards or finals is a bit much. So you have to split up a little, it will make it seem like there are more people if the cheering is coming from all over the place. it will kinda be like surround sound, making your team possibly more noticeable, that is if your big enough.