The rookie Rat Pack (Team 830, Huron High) derived its name from school’s mascot, the River Rats. Huron High is located on the Huron River in Ann Arbor, MI.
Back around 1970 when the school first opened, they allowed the students to choose their own school mascot. They chose that one, much to the consternation of parents <chuckle>, because of the amount of Rodentia present around the river. At first, the parents howled and wanted it changed, but they SAID the students could choose it and were stuck with it! Besides, they were having WAY too much fun with it, so the parents backed off. It’s now been around for 30 years and well accepted by the community. We have the Bat Rats (baseball team), Mat Rats (wrestling), etc.
Our team entered the CDI shortly after forming last fall. We had to have SOMETHING for the CDI contest’s program, so we started throwing out names at a meeting. We knew we wanted to tie this fledgling program to the school so it students would identify with it and join. Then someone suggested “Rat Pack”. It was definitely a head slapping “Yea, of COURSE” moment with everyone! <grin>
As for the robot, we WANTED to name it to be something apropos for the contest at hand. The CDI printing deadline was AFTER the contest was revealed. Our robot for the CDI contest was called “Pack Rat”, as the problem was to collect OJ jugs and shuffle them around from shelf to shelf. Since running around randomizing objects’ locations is exactly what a real Pack Rat DOES, it was definitely appropriate.
It’s too bad that the FIRST printing lead times don’t allow for us to name the robot after the contest is revealed! Since we didn’t know what this contest was about yet when the program deadline came up, we just decided to keep the same name for this, our first FIRST contest.
But now we’re finding we tend to tie a name too tightly to one robot. Although our FIRST machine will also be called Pack Rat, we’re definitely using the name “Pack Rat” to refer specifically to our CDI contest machine (in fond memory, as it had to be torn down for recycling <sniff>). We’re probably going to have to start thinking about annual robot names.
Any chance FIRST might ever set up a situation to allow us all to name our robots AFTER we find out about the problem?
BTW… One concept bantered about is in the future using famous “positive image” cartoon rat names for the individual robots, especially those that are popular enough to have stuffed animals made after them, so suggestions ARE appreciated to add to our list. An example might be Rizzo, from Henson Associates (Muppet fame), a Pokémon character, or the like. (Gee, we’ve found that for some reason it’s HARD to find positive “rat” dolls! Stores don’t seem to get into rats as much as they do the “cuddly” animals! <head scratch>
BTW… Do any of the teams ever dress or decorate themselves as some variant of their mascot for contests, or have their “furry suit” mascot come along to the Regionals?
Keith McClary, Advisor, Huron High Rat Pack, Team 830