One of the sticking points that has come out of this recent thread is that we don’t all have the same perspective on exactly what FIRST is about, and as such, we can find ourselves talking past one another when it comes to how we’d like to see things change. That’s a big topic, and it’s best addressed on its own.
So making yet another split from the main thread, I want to open a new discussion. To keep the topic focused, I ask this one question: How central (or not) to your experience of FRC, and FIRST as a whole, if that answer differs, is the aspect of competition? Not the act of going to events, but the idea that we play matches and hand out judged awards for the purpose of competing against other teams.
This is a different question than what FIRST should attempt to impart to its students in terms of skills or inspiration. I am interested in specifically whether the process of competing—of not merely trying to demonstrate your abilities, but striving to be the victor in a competition against others—is an important aspect in how we achieve whatever goals we have.
I will also note, with some sternness, that this is not a venue to air your grievances surrounding how any team conducts its program or builds its robots. The purpose of this discussion is to explore the differences in how we look at FIRST, not to slander the virtue of anyone’s perspective.
So everyone knows where my sympathies lie, I believe strongly in emphasizing competition. It’s how I’ve always interpreted what Dean and Woodie have said about their intentions for the program, and being a naturally competitive person myself, it was an important part of how I got hooked. I won’t say too much more and take up all the space before I turn the question loose.