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 “www.ChiefDelphi.com”? 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