So what does GP mean to you?

I keep seeing people on the board saying that GP means different things to different people.

So let’s get it out here–what does GP mean to you?

The way I read it, you don’t intentionally screw people over, cheer when anyone caps or hangs, and help when you can. Hopefully, some sort of FIRST karma will kick in, and you’ll do well.


To me it is nothing more than a punchline people use to win awards and to look good in the eyes of other teams.

It means repecting others.


I disagree.

Everyone is selfish. It’s human nature. Every time you do something for yourself, you are being selfish. Every time you do something for someone else, you are being selfish, because being kind to others makes you feel good about yourself. That’s why people make sacrifices. They may be missing out on something (be it money, fun activities, comfort), but they get a feeling of satisfaction for having helped others.

So basically, yeah, you’re right- but you’re also as guilty of it as anyone else. Maybe teams do things that are graciously professional just to look good- but chances are they also feel good about themselves for having helped others. Maybe it’s cheap. But so is any other form of sacrifice or giving. True, it’s selfish, but there’s nothing that can be done about it. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself- that’s a part of FIRST as well.

Besides, FIRST gives out awards based on GP. The underlying requirement for a Chairman’s Award Winner is a team that is graciously professional. FIRST encourages us to be GP because of that whole vision of Dean’s that has come up once or twice. Maybe it’s idealistic, but regardless of our motives, we’re still helping others, aren’t we? So yes teams use it to get awards- but that’s the point of the award in the first place!

So you do admit that GP is nothing more than something that is used to get awards? So, why even bother with GP then?

Thats why I am in favor of doing away with the Chairman’s Award all together. It is quite simply a measure of who can put on biggest sham showing gracious professionalism.

All I can say is wow. All of you GP bashers have about one day before all the wonderful volunteers, teams, refs, game designers, etc come back and hopefully try to show you why GP is a great way to be and how to live it.

As far as I am concerened, Silencenomore is a person upset after not winning chairmans or being bullied by a team or losing a match or two. This is my first year as a mentor and hopefully silencenomore is a student and not a mentor. Mentors should be showing their teams good things about this program, not trying to find the bad.

I just got off a 20 hour bus ride and I need to organize my thoughts. Look out for my reflective post on this year and maybe it will show some insight.


I ask that we stay on topic in this discussion. GP means different things to different people, and because of this we are all allowed to have different opinions concerning this. Thus, please respect these opinions as much as our own, so that this thread is effective.

Thanks :slight_smile:


By that logic, FIRST only asks us to build a robot to win awards for it. So let’s get rid of that part. Let’s all just make animation submissions, shall we?

To me, GP means exactly what it apparently means to the judges at nationals, who choose the Cheesy Poofs as the national Chairman’s Award winner. I strongly encourage you to read their submission. (

If you really think GP is worthless, maybe you should tell that to the dozen or so teams that have been started and/or mentored by the Cheesy Poofs. Tell them that the efforts of the Cheesy Poofs were just a worthless sham.

FIRST wants us to Inspire people. I think, in essence, the S(cience) and T(echnology) of FIRST are irrelevant. It’s the Inspiration and Recognition parts that are important. GP means inspiring others. It means making sure that everyone has an opportunity to join and continue a FIRST team. It means making sure that every team has a robot to put into competition. It means making sure that everyone involved learns something from the experience.

Having these opportunities and reaping these rewards is something we all enjoy and from which we all benefit. But FIRST can’t do it all by itself. GP teams are those that make those opportunities and rewards possible. I think they all deserve a big thank-you from everyone in the FIRST organization. FIRST wouldn’t be what it is without them.

Gracious Professionalism is about not being sad that your team lost, but being hapy that your opponent one. It is about becoming happy by making other people happy. It occurs when you have nothing to do on your team, because the younger members have taken your part. It occurs when someone has the “opportunity” of committing a malicious action but they don’t because they imaging themselves on the other side of the line.

Gracious Professionalism means a couple things to me.

  1. Pouring your heart and soul into an idea, event, robot, anything and not expecting anything back other than personal satisfaction.

  2. Knowing that someone wronged you, and forgiving them and continuing on without making a mess of the situation.

  3. Acting in a way that is appropriate and sets an example for humanity.

  4. Helping another team, even though you might end up losing against them later. Knowing that by improving their FIRST experience, you might have changed a life, and that’s the greatest personal satisfaction of them all.

To me gracious professionalism is a way acting in which a person is gracious-kind, calm, and helpfull, while still being professional and getting done what has to be done. i agree entirely with what Ogre said.

To me gracious professionalism should NOT be a religion where those who show the most of it are transformed into gods and worshipped by all, and it should NOT a commodity that is coveted and wanted by all . While these people do deserve respect so does almost every other mentor, volunteer, and First member.

Ben Van Selous

I believe that Gracious Professionalism the name for the general attitude of students, mentors, teams, and other organizational subunits within FIRST.

To understand what it is, split it into its two parts. The first part, “Gracious” is the more difficult to understand. To me, it means that you accept the successes of others with a genuine smile and are willing to share parts/expertise with other teams, even if they might be opponents.

The second part of GP, “Professionalism” has an important meaning. While Grace will carry you through good times and victory, Professionalism will carry you through hard times and defeat. It guides one to away from desparate acts and acts under stress and frustration.

The most amazing thing about Gracious Professionalism is how it endures the change of members of FIRST. I believe that it is not imposed or even explained from the “FIRST gods” but instead appears from below, in the pits of the regionals and in communications between teams, and a will to follow the spirit of the rules, even when it would be easier to ignore them.

We didn’t even submit for the Chairman’s award thank you very much!

I think I should clarify that in terms of awards won and competetiveness, this was our team’s best year. We couldn’t be happier with our team’s performance. We won the Imagery and Entrepreneurial award and advanced to the semifinals in both regionals. However, these victories could not overshadow the fact that our experience was generally unpleasant.

Like I said, I still believe GP is just something teams use to win awards.

Like Jess said before, it’s important to allow everyone to express their opinion, and more importantly, respect those opinions (which oddly enough, falls under the category of gracious professionalism.) With that in mind, I’d like to see a legitimate, honest, and respectful discussion come out of this.

I believe gracious professionalism is a phrase coined in attempt to put into words the feeling and spirit of what FIRST is. It’s not any particular action, thing, or person, but a concept/idea. Like any concept, it’s not the word or words that are important, but the connections they imply (to paraphrase the last Matrix movie). Gracious professionalism is the feeling both sides get when a robot breaks down, and 15 other teams are waiting at the pit with various parts to get the robot up and running. It’s the feeling of giving your best to benefit the community as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual. Sure, it could mean respect, helping others, being gracious in defeat and professional in victory. But above all, it’s a positive feeling or influence designed to instill feelings of positive reinforcement into people for positive action. I believe it’s the type of feeling FIRST wants us to bring into the real world, to change the modern corporate model of crushing competition. That’s why the Chairman’s award is the most prestigious award in FIRST- because the winners have undisputable hard evidence of the spirit of gracious professionalism, and the positive influences and actions which have come forth as a direct result. Granted, at some times it can be treated as more of a buzz-word than anything else. But as long as people experience it, and are able to relay it to others, it’s a vital part of what FIRST’s message is to the world, and a critical part of what it will take to make this world a better place.

Gracious Professionalism is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And then some. And that is the way we have always done it and we don’t do it just for the sake of awards. We do so because that is our way of conducting ourselves.

In a quote from the FIRST website and I bolded what I feel GP is.

Gracious folks respect others and let that respect show in their actions. Professionals possess special knowledge and are trusted by society to use that knowledge responsibly. Thus, gracious professionals make a valued contribution in a manner pleasing to others and to themselves. In FIRST, one of the most straightforward interpretations of gracious professionalism is that we learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. We try to avoid leaving anyone feeling like they are losers. No chest thumping barbarian tough talk, but no sticky sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, pride and empathy comfortably blended… In the long run, gracious professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. If one becomes a professional, and uses knowledge in a gracious manner, everyone wins. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you have acted with integrity and sensitivity.

GP isn’t the chairman’s award. It is about how you act. And if you listened to Dean this year take these terms at face value. What does straddling mean? Straddling. What does Gracious Professionalism mean? Being gracious and professional. If you can’t figure it out from here go ask Webster.

Also it just so happens that awards depend on how you act. How you present yourself. How you communicate ideas and thoughts. This is why people who act in a GP are more likely to win awards. But awards aren’t given out for being GP barring I think 294 gives out an award.

I know this may be out of the thread but I need to respond to this in some way too. Teams creating spare parts list and then getting parts for team is not a sham. It is a act of GP to be the team that gives that spare parts list and not get upset when the other team get credit so to speak. My team worked on doing such a thing (we didn’t get the other teams involvement this year but hope to next year). I personally helped pass out 300 fliers making sure that every team got a list of our spare parts this weekend and am proud to say that our team gave away in the range of 40+ parts. My proudest moment this year and probably most inspire moment in FIRST so far is when a team we had given some parts on Friday came back on Saturday morning. The mentor was so thankful that he gave our team some of there extra lunch coupon books. Then half an hour later a couple team members stopped by our pit to say thanks. This made everything we do worthwhile and is far greater than any award I could get.

I will post more about NRLB and plans for next year at a later time. I have several new ideas that could make this more efficient (have more parts) and let other teams be involved.

I think you may be hung up on using a word that sounds like it fits but really doesn’t. The word “selfish” implies you are doing something simply because it benefits you at the expense of others. When you do something that makes you feel good, it is not being selfish. When you are doing something that benefits others and makes you feel good, that may well be “gracious” but not “professional”. When you do something that benefits others in a professional way (i.e. an exchange of ideas with no limits) that is “gracious professionalism” and it makes you feel good because you are doing the right thing. There are hundreds of teams that exhibit and practice gracious professionalism but do not come close to achieving chairman’s status. We do it (I do it) because it is the right thing to do, period. Hang whatever name you like on it and it is still the right thing to do.
As a last note, when you think about the effect your words might have on someone, before you say them, that might also be gracious and professional. Remember that some of those who are reading your replies on this site, may be visiting for the very first time. Make an impression.

Many people think FIRST is about building robots. I can’t stress how much I disagree with that. When I first got into robotics, I thought this… but now as I have been involved for 2 years, I can really start to see what FIRST is all about. Gracious Profesionalism is one thing that makes FIRST what it is, and even though you may not realize it, is probably the reason that people love FIRST as much as they do.

But, what does Gracious Profesionalism mean to me? I dont think I can answer that acurately, at least not yet. But I guess I’ll take a stab at it. GP is not something you do. It’s a way of life. You cannot “put on” your GP at competetions to impress judges or other teams. GP is something that is inside of you. It is that drive to help others out, even when you yourself may need help. It is respecting others, and not putting them down for anything. GP is the true spirit of a “Co-opertition”. GP is that feeling you get when you see the smile on someones face after you have helped them with a problem they were having. GP is going out of your way to help the cause.

GP IS NOT sitting and moaning after your team has lost. GP IS going out there the next time, giving 110%, and giving everything you have to turn that loss into a victory. It may not be the next match. It may not be the next competetion. It may not even be the next year… but if you practice GP, it is a guarantee that you will come out succesful.

I would like to quote one of the judges I talked to at the NJ regional (cant remember her name) “10 years from now, your not going to remember who had which robot, or who won what award. None of that will matter. But, you are going to remember what you got out of it. And, you are going to remember how much fun you had.” These are words to live by. This can also tie in to what my definition of GP is. GP is something that stays with you for life. It is something that will help you get anywhere you want to go. GP is what gives FIRST the fun, friendly type of atmosphere it has.

One last thought…
Who here likes the website “”? I bet you all do! It may not occur to you that this website is the perfect example of GP. In what other sport would you see competing teams go online to a PUBLIC forum, and post all of their strategies, and secret weapons. NO WHERE ELSE but FIRST. That, in my mind, is what makes FIRST so great. No matter what, there is always someone out there willing to help you out. Thats what GP is all about people. Helping, respecting, and caring for competitors/other people/barrel of monkeys, even in the heat of battle.

Im not too good at these big long posts giving my inner thoughts, but I tried, so thank you for reading :slight_smile: