I was talking to my mentor yesterday on the way up to the Portland Regional. I named the day before (Friday, we went 6-1) the 3rd best day in the history of WATSON Team 957. So I made a challenge to my team to make that day the best day in WATSON History. So we did. We won the Chairman’s Award and finished 3rd in the Quallification rounds. I have thought it would be cool to see what teams thought their top 3 days were (Whether they are in competition, an award they got, a important breakthrough in design, a cool presentation etc…) So I hope other teams can post theirs on here and here is my teams “Top 3 Days in WATSON History” As of 3/13/05.
3/12/05 WATSON Robotics Wins Chairman’s Award for 2nd Time. We had our highest ranking ever as we ended in 3rd place after qualification rounds… We got picked for the 2nd alliance with local team PHRED 847, and “graciously accepted” We were very spirited and active in cheering for all teams, and with our alliance partners 847 and 753 were very close and our voices echoed throughout the arena. We lost in the Semifinals, but in the Award Ceremony came away with the most prestigious award.
3/5/04 WATSON Wins Regional and Sportsmanship Award. In the same day we came away with 2 awards for the first time. We were apart of the #1 seed alliance as the 3rd pick by 492 and 1031. We breezed through with a 6-1 record in elimination rounds on our alliances way to the championship. We won the Sportsmanship Award by helping out team 1432 a team that came with basically no robot and we had them working in 4 hours. Lots of spirit as we continued on in the elimination rounds as we gathered 5 or 6 oregon teams to cheer with us.
3/28/03 WATSON Wins first Regional chairman’s Award. This one was special but not quite as special as the 2nd one. We won this in Seattle the last year the event was held there, and we didn’t have as good of day losing in the quarterfinals paired up with local rookie teams 1087 and 1130 in the 5th alliance, we only finished in about 19th place after qualification rounds and were dominated early, but then we went on to win the Chairman’s Award alreadly having a spirit award from the previous day. Overall a great week.
In 2001, 573 received a regional All-Star Rookie Award. We also were finalists in our division at Championships that year.
In 2003, we won the West Michigan Engineering Inspiration Award, which symbolized all the efforts we had put into not only the robot, but into bringing Brother Rice’s sister high school into the FIRST experience).
Ramp Riot October 2002 - Even though team 84 had obtained a great deal of “hardware” over the years, no one had latched onto a Champion title at any event to date. After a long grueling day against excellent Mid Atlantic area teams… Chuck finally snags his first Champion title.
Mid Atlantic Regional March 2002 - A whirlwind of never ending events. Chuck and Moose sweep up the Leadership In Control Award Friday evening, and amaze individuals on their ingenuity and design. After a long, amazing match with team 95 “Grasshoppers” (last match) Saturday afternoon, Chuck and Moose obtain yet more hardware with #1 Seed. The wind picks up again when we are honored with highly seeded team 25 accepting our offer as our Alliance Partner, and we end as Regional Finalists. All in all we qualified and made the trip to 2002 Nationals, and pre-qualified and made the trip to the 2003 Championship Event.
National Championship Walt Disney World April 1999 - The team that nobody knew. “Up CHUCK!” Chuck Pi, gets picked up as the third alliance partner for the finals, and finishes up a dreamy weekend as National Runner-Up.
Great Lakes 2003 - Regional Champions (with 67 and 302). It was amazing. It was the happiest moment of my life. It probably deserves more than one spot on my best days list, because that definitely made my year.
Thursday March 10th, 2005, Pittsburgh Regional. I’ve never seen my team work so hard for so long. We worked for nearly 13 hours straight without rest. Even though we missed all but our last practice match, I’m proud of how well the team worked together.
All of the late nights at build. I probably occasionally complain about being hungry, tired, and stressed but I wouldn’t ever want to give them up.
Of course this is all based on my experience on 226, both as a student and as a mentor. If you asked someone around in 2002 they may mention something about being selected for finals at nationals, but I can’t personally attest to that.
I would have to say the top three days for our team are the following:
2003 when we became finalists at the New Jersey Regional and lost by just a few points.
2003 at the Texas Championships when our team got qualified to go to the Championships and we had to make last minute travel plans. Our team ended up winning the Championship Team Spirit Award and just a few moments before we left the pits out all the sudden we heard 222… We were like ummm did we just win something…
(We had to leave early because of our last minute travel plans)
To say the least there was no way we could have made it from the pits to the arena as it was good 10 minute walk and make our lap around the arena!
2004 when we placed FIRST seed at Chesapeake and lost by just 10 points in the final round; we even took it the THIRD round!
There are many other top days I can think of, but since you listed three I said the three I thought were the best.
Just to let you know some of the bad luck we have:
In the past TWO years we have been the finalists FOUR times in a total of FIVE FIRST regionals, but FIRST is not about winning so I shouldn’t complain.
**2000 - **At EPCOT, 2000 Nationals competition, team #269 seeds 3rd overall and ends up in 3rd place, losing in the national semi-finals to Team 25’s “Claw of Death.” We still refer to that darned robot today.
**2001 - **After seeding dead last at the end of the qualifications, we are picked by the #1 seed, and join teams 71, 111, 234, and 112 in winning the Midwest Regional with a national high score of 710 points, not beaten until the 2001 IRI.
**2004 - **The robot that could hang from anywhere, Hodag, goes 7-1 in qualifications at Midwest, getting the #2 seed, the highest in team history at any event, and goes on to win the regional with teams 45 and 930, qualifying 269 for Atlanta.
May 1997: Amy F. became the first student from our team to receive an intern appointment at NASA. This was followed by NASA support for her grad school and her current pursuit of a PhD in astrophysics. Amy establishes the groundwork for other students to become NASA interns based on their FIRST team experience.
April 2000: The first time a student on the team states that his experience with the team was the causal factor for him to get cleaned up and able to deal with severe substance abuse problems.
March 2003: a father that has been helping with the team tells us how the ability to work on the robot with his son has changed them both. They see and appreciate each other in new ways, and their relationship has been significantly expanded and strengthened.
May 2004: Alisha W., an alumnus of our team, is assigned as the FIRST Israel Regional Director and begins working to bring the program to the Middle East. After an enormous amount of work, this is followed the next year by the FIRST Israel regional competition, with 12 new Israeli teams and a brand new set of relationships between FIRST, GM, The Technion, NASA, The Ministry of Science and Technology, the U.S. and Israel.
FIRST is about so much more than the competitions. With all due respect to the posts above, if the very best days of every team are defined just by the opportunities to collect plastic trophies, then we need to think again about what we have accomplished. I bet with a little more thought, we can focus on the things that are really important - the future careers created, the lives improved, and changes made to our society and culture. The competition events are just momentary celebrations of what we do. The real work - and real effect - takes place before and after the competitions. And that is where the important stuff happens.
Thanks Dave for reminding us all of why we are here (and making me feel six inches tall). I deleted my previous post and, now with proper focus, I’ll try again …
There’s no way I can narrow this down to three days/occurances, but I will dig up a borderline ancient thread:
Rob is studying Engineering Technology at Penn State University. Pat is at John’s Hopkins, has already been hanging out in graduate labs, and is talking about a PhD in Public Health. Kathryn is at RPI (a Rensselear Medalist) with a major so complex I can’t spell or pronounce it. Allison is at Ursinus College as a Steinbright Scholar studying Business and Education.
The graduating class of 2004 from Team 103 wound up at places like Tufts, St. Joseph’s, and RPI. Last I heard current senior members of 103 are headed for incredible futures at places like Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, Boston University, Drexel, the list goes on.
At my current teaching job, just the promise of a FIRST team next year has increased one student’s motivation and grade point average. His mother has thanked me profusely already and he has binders filled with programming and other FIRST information.
Awards are nice, really nice. I carry a letter from a former team member with me everywhere I go. When I think I’m too tired to “do FIRST” anymore and feel like the strain isn’t worth it, I read the letter. The medals hang on the wall, but they are certainly not the reason I keep coming back.
For Team 233, my present team. Caveat–I wasn’t with the team for some of of the events on my list, so other’s opinions may vary from mine.
Championship 2002–winning the division
Florida regional 2005–being top qualifier and winning regional
NYC 2004–going through the entire event undefeated
For Team 45 which I was with for 7 years.
Championship 1998–winning the Big Event the last year before alliances
Great Lakes regional 1998–finishing second after two “award-less” years
Midwest regional 2002–regional Chairman’s Award
There have also been a number of less clearly defined “days in the teams’ history” which are very significant, such as learning that team members have been admitted to MIT and have won major scholarships.