Inspired by this I decided to take a look at awards which have been dominated by a single team at a single event for several years. Some examples are (just some examples that came to mind):
-340, RCA, Finger Lakes Regional (2005-2012 with the exception of 2007)
-694, RCA, Connecticut Regional (2010-2012)
-1868, RCA, Sacramento Regional (2011-2013)
-503, DCCA, Michigan State Championship (2010-2016 plus a string of RCAs from 2005-2007)
-1319, Safety, Palmetto Regional (2008-2014)
I’m not saying in any way that these teams don’t deserve it (because they obviously do) or that they shouldn’t be rewarded for their efforts, but I was wondering how judges at these events approach this? Knowing that many of the judges are perennial volunteers, would there be any tendency to favor/not favor a team that has won the same award at the same regional time and time again?
Additionally, I’d like to see if there’s any information about how having a single team winning the award continually (such as 340 at FLR) has had an effect on the overall number of teams attending FLR who apply for the Chairman’s Award. Plus, in prior years teams had to select a single regional for their RCA to be judged; what effect did these streaks have on teams choosing their judged regional?
These are just a handful, feel free to add more - are there any longer streaks out there for other awards?
Being that FLR is our “home” regional event I know of 340 and their rightly deserved reputation.
That being said, I have had some conversations with mentors from other area teams and on more than one occasion I’ve heard statements from them that their teams don’t put too much effort into the Chairman’s Award since it’s too hard to beat 340 and 1511 at that game.
So your question about the effect on others, I’d say yes it happens. I assure you it doesn’t happen with my team though.
As a judge of six total regional competitions over the years, I might be able to shed just a little light on the process and mentality.
Judges are routinely broken into separate teams including but not limited to:
These judging teams may share information with one another, but rarely influence awards not in their purview. Further, I do not at all take into consideration who has won a particular award in the past. Having won an award the previous year does not at all make me more or less likely to lean towards awarding them this year.
With that said, there are awards that are culturally driven. By that, I mean a team that won a Chairman’s Award last year probably still has many of the same attributes that would make it an appealing candidate for this year’s Chairman’s Award. Engineering Inspiration, Gracious Professionalism, Team Spirit, and Safety are the other awards I see as most culturally driven. Again, I would never take into consideration if/when a team has received a particular award in the past, but this may help to explain the correlation.
Team 93 has won Gracious Professionalism (And well deserved, too!) every year since 2008, for a total of 12 times. They only failed to win it 2 different years in Minnesota - 2010, when they didn’t come to Minnesota, and 2015, where they won it in Wisconsin and got Entrepreneurship in Minnesota. I know it’s not all the same event, but the MN events are all so interchangeable…
I was on 340 for all of those years. I can tell you that during our string of CA wins there was a steep decline in the number of teams that submitted for the award. I believe one year it was less than 10 teams that submitted.
I know that local planning committees and FIRST are looking into creative ways to deal with this problem. I don’t have a good solution either. Part of me would like to say that all teams should be applying for the Chairman’s Award regardless of their perceived inability to compete. While of course I know how hard it is to get up for that fight if you don’t think there’s any light at the end of the tunnel.
I think it’s worth mentioning to your local FIRST leaders any ideas you might have to combat the problem.