SpecCheck and R-03/Team Update 11

For those that do not know what SpecCheck is:
In 2016, 4607 saw a need to for teams to get their robots through a mock-inspection by a LRI. Jon Stratis, one of MN’s LRI’s (and the best that I have worked with) was more than willing to drive the hour to Becker and help us out. Over the last few years this event has added the CSAs, and now safety captain/pit advisor presentation as well as a Chairman’s Exchange on a more intimate level.

What happened last Friday ultimately grew into a new rule change today. I am not going to offer my opinion on the rule change in regards to R-03; mostly because I am still reeling from the last 96 hours following SpecCheck. We have worked with 9 different teams that did not meet the original rule and since all met the rule prior to Feb 13. They also spent many hours to meet this rule - and now that seems for nothing. In other words, these teams lost incredible amounts of build time. I have heard from a few of these teams in the last few hours and they are less than pleased, to keep it G-rated.

What I am going to do is stand on my soapbox for a few more moments:

What 4607 has seen come out of SpecCheck the last 3 seasons has helped numerous teams adjust to the current game’s new rules over previous seasons. What I hope is that other areas of FRC adopt a similar format of SpecCheck where teams bring in an LRI and a CSA and go over robot inspections and code checks a week prior to Week Zero events. It has not just been this one rule (R-03), it has also been other frame perimeter issues, wiring issues, and yes, numerals on bumpers.

What I have seen personally in our shop and classrooms is a real connection between teams as one robot fails. What typically happens is that other teams jump in and help the team adjust to the infraction. This year we had 14 teams and their robots in our own shop and that has allowed others to look them over and offer suggestions, trade ideas, etc. This type of low-stress environment has allowed for real discussions and networking between teams. The CMNRH is the strongest of Hubs. Not because of SpecCheck (in fact, they have made SpecCheck what it is now), but because we work together on a weekly basis during the build season.

What I would like to see is the format of SpecCheck grow. It is simple - it is easily adopted. If you would like more information on SpecCheck or on Hubs, Alliances, or Coalitions, please let me know. I will share what we have learned and how we operate.

Again, many thanks to Jon Stratis. I don’t care what side of the new rule you are on - this man has done so much for FIRST and our community - and many times he gets lambasted for clearly stating rules. No, he is not a saint, but he is truly a great standard for our community.


Lead Mentor, FRC 4607 C.I.S.

Thanks to Mr. Stratis, and 4607, for all that you do for the MN FIRST community!

Thanks! We look forward to working with 3082 this Sunday and at Lake Superior.

Good Luck!