"We Are the Champions" and GP?

I haven’t posted on Chief Delphi in a while, but a recent chat with my dad about something that’s frustrated me lately has made me revisit the forums to put this issue out for discussion:

Is the song “We Are the Champions” (by ‘Queen’, a rock band) an appropriate choice of song to be played after the final elimination round (i.e. after the final matches are over)?

First, let me say, I have nothing against Queen or even this song in particular. Here’s what I find questionable for use in this particular situation:

[From the song lyrics]
We are the champions, and you are the losers [emphasis on losers], no time for losers, 'cause we are the champions…].

(I’m not sure I have that exactly right, but I think it’s close enough to give you an idea of the tone.)

To me, this choice of song (if it were supported by the FIRST community) puts the lie to the entire concept of gracious professionalism. The feelings of the defeated teams (“losers”) aside, can we truly say that we are “graciously professional” while playing songs that put the emphasis on winning and then mocking one’s opponent?

I’ve never been in the position of being a “loser” (i.e. a finalist) or even making it into the semi-finals. I imagine that most if not all of the people on those teams shrug this off, saying “Oh, haha, well, that’s just a song.” Maybe no one feels hurt by this. However, even if that’s the case, it seems to me that we ought to try to express our gracious professionalism in everything that we do, and not have that tainted by anything, ideally. And furthermore, it is important to consider the feelings of defeated teams. I could certainly see myself getting more than ticked off about this after losing a close match that would have qualified my team to go to the Championships.

Let me back off for a second here: I’ve been to a relatively small selection of tournaments so far: Annapolis in '06 and '07, Champs in ‘06, and a few off-seasons including most recently the first annual Battle O’ Baltimore, which (shameless plug) was |awesome|! However, I distinctly remember this being played at Annapolis both years as well as (just today) at the BoB. I seem to remember it at Champs in '06 as well, though I wouldn’t swear to it. And again, let me back off once more: I am not making any claim that the song is endorsed by anyone in FIRST (except, one would suppose, the person(s) who selected it). Maybe I’ve just run into one person who has requested/demanded/threatened/whatever to have this song played.

However, unless my trusty “search before you post” stratagem has failed completely, I don’t remark on any CD postings directly on the subject, nor did I see an angry mob of FIRSTers storm the iPod and demand a song change. So, while it would be unfair to say that anyone necessarily likes the song (for this situation), what I’ve seen and heard indicates that no one particularly cares enough to make an issue of the subject. The general attitude is one of apathy.

So, what’s the conclusion? Mine would be that people probably haven’t thought a lot (or at all) about what our song choices have to say about our events. If this is the case, then we should all take a moment to think about the issue. If people have already thought about the issue and have reached the conclusion that the song is not in conflict with our GP ideals, this would surely warrant discussion. Maybe I’m proverbially making mountains out of molehills, but I would personally hope (as I think I said earlier) that we are able to exhibit gracious professionalism in everything we do. If this is a tradition (I don’t know enough to say) let’s take a long hard look at it, and if it isn’t, let’s keep it from becoming one.

I’ve talked long enough… what does everyone else think?

Paul Dennis

P.S.: Please don’t mis-interpret what I’m saying (I say this because I did use some fairly strong language on a subject a lot of people feel very strongly about). Here’s a handy-dandy outline:

What I’m saying:

  1. The song is inappropriate for the situation because it puts emphasis on winning rather than achieving "FIRST"ish goals that we all know so well.
  2. It therefore contradicts our most basic idea of gracious professionalism
  3. We should consider the song and perhaps conclude that it should not be played after elimination rounds.

What I’m not saying:

  1. I hate Queen/this song.
  2. No one is graciously professional.
  3. The song is widely played.
  4. Everyone loves this song and has no problem with it.
  5. This song should never be played at a FIRST event.
  6. This song makes us somehow not GP just by being there.
  7. This is a big huge deal.

As I do understand what you are trying to say, I really don’t think that this is a big deal. It does not bother me one bit:) and I would not be offended if I was on the losing end, but I can not speak for everyone else.


Clarification: you:

a) don’t see a contradiction between GP and those lyrics or
b) see a contradiction but don’t think it’s important



I’m afraid one of your underlying assumptions is false. I Googled the lyrics, and came up with the following chorus in multiple places:

We are the champions - my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the champions -
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world -
Given that FRC has long aimed to use the more desirable aspects of sports, I think a tasteful moment of celebration for the teams who find themselves at the top of their field is appropriate. If nothing else, it makes perfectly clear to those who might be less game-savvy in the audience that the on-field competition has, in fact, concluded.

I don’t see any GP issue, and am all for keeping it.

Actually both A and B. I do see a contradiction between GP and the lyrics(A), but I don’t see it as that big of a deal(B). As entitled, just my opinion, and I am with Billfred for keeping it.

Having been on the second place team for about 5 regionals in a row, that song gets old, and is slightly depressing by the last regional. I agree that it’s a great song to celebrate for the winners, but it’s not really the most forgiving song for those who are not as fortunate. (my saying is that second place is the first loser, which is why I always give every kind of competition my all…)

I wouldn’t mind it too much if they kept it, but I wouldn’t be sad to see it go either. (also because of what our team has up our sleeve for the coming season… Unstoppable drive train, anyone?)

Hearing “We Are The Champions” after a victory is probably one of my favourite FIRST moments. The song has such historical significance in North American sports, that it’s hard not to feel important and celebrated when it plays. FIRST is about celebrating Science and Technology. I definitely want to keep hearing a song that celebrates the teams that win our events. These teams deserve every minute of celebration and recognition that they can get.

Now, I’ve been on the losers side of the coin. Hearing WATC after a loss isn’t exactly fun. But each time I’ve heard it after a loss, it’s made me do two things:

  1. Feel happy for the winners, knowing what a great feeling they must be having at that moment.
  2. Inspires me to work that much harder next time, to ensure that I’m hearing the song from winner’s circle.

So the song makes me recognize the champions, and inspires me to work harder. Sounds like a decent combination to me.

I would hate to see the day come where we downplay the celebration of victory to lessen the burn of defeat. I know there’s more to FIRST than just winning on the field, but there’s still a competition out there with winners and losers. As long as any sort of celebrating doesn’t demean the losers, and is done with class, I see no reason to do away with it.

Billfred… I gotta say that I fail to see a large enough difference between the lyrics you quoted and the lyrics I quoted to warrant an underlying issue; both refer to one group as champions while referring to another group pejoratively as losers. Help me out.

Josh, I can’t dispute the idea that from your perspective I’m making more out of this than actually matters, because that’s your personal feeling about the matter. However, to me a contradiction between one of the most basic ideals of FIRST and /any/ of our actions is worth at least careful consideration (and I don’t mean that in the Washington way).

That’s like saying that defeating the other alliance is disrespectful and not GP.

I don’t see a problem with it being played. I don’t think it’s not GP at all.

Shouldn’t you be bummed more about the fact that you were simply beaten than the fact that the song is being played? Or shouldn’t you be happy with how far you went?

Let the people who worked hard to win enjoy their experience. By complaining about the song being played, I see it as being selfish (we all are selfish at times, however). People should be more worried about how the finalist teams feel than how the champion teams feel?

I complain simply because I don’t like the song (I find it unexciting and simply annoying) not because I am considered a “loser” and that the DJs are being disrespectful to me and all of the other non-champion teams.

Yeah, that’s my stand.


You seem to have missed the fact that other significant parts of North American sports (and, well, almost everywhere else) include: the idea that winning is everything and acting in an unsportsmanlike manner towards your opponents and getting away with it/applauded for it. I would like to think, cheesy as it may sound, that we’re all winners at first, and if we all recognized this song as applying to all the teams who built a robot, then really my entire argument collapses. But we all know that that’s not the meaning of the song.

I’m glad that you feel recognized when this song plays. However, it’s frankly unreasonable for the recognition of winning teams to be more important then (broken record sound) our most important ideals. If recognition has to take a back seat to respecting the entire idea of FIRST, then that’s the way it needs to be.

This is a thread asking for opinions regarding a song.
If opinions are expressed respectfully, there is no reason for negative repping anyone. Healthy discussions are a wonderful thing, especially when they involve the celebration of FIRST competitions and the efforts the teams put forth.

I’m not sure I see the connection here. We’re not talking about the fact that one team wins, and others lose. It’s more of the fact that the song speaks of losers in a negative and dismissing manner.

[sidenote] And no one should neg rep you for speaking your mind, because having many honest opinions is an incredibly valuable asset to any debate or discussion [/sidenote]

The responses to my original posting seem to indicate that I went a little off my intended topic. My biggest concern about the song is not that it would make anyone feel bad. My biggest concern is that the song is fundamentally not in tune with the FIRST credo.

Furthermore, I really have to ask, how is it selfish to say that we shouldn’t play songs that take away central meaning from an organization in which I am one participant of thousands? You’ve confused me.

Playing a fair match and doing your best to win is of course fully within the scope of gracious professionalism. However, imagine the following situation: someone from the defeated team walks up to the alliance captain and says “Great game” and offers to shake hands. The alliance captain on the winning team says “Oh, sorry, I don’t have time for losers.” Is that GP?

You seemed to miss the fact that it’s still a competition. If you take the competition out of FIRST, you are left with very little, and we’ve suddenly lost the source of inspiration, and the medium to achieving the goals of FIRST.

Perhaps we should stop giving out trophies and medals to the winning teams as well. Everyone should be satisfied with their bronze participation medals. After all, we’re all winners.

If we come to a point where the celebration of the winners demeans the losing teams, then yes, we need to cut back. But in FIRST, we’re not even close to being at that point. Frankly, I don’t think we do enough to celebrate the teams that perform the best on the field. In my opinion this is one of the bigger problems in FIRST. It’s almost as if people are ashamed to be competitive in this program. That we’re so focussed on keeping everyone happy, that we’ve lost site of the competition.

Yes, there’s much more to FIRST than winning. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with celebrating the winners.

You’ve missed my essential point here: it’s not that the celebration of the winners demeans the losing teams; it’s that the celebration of the winners * in this way * demeans FIRST itself. Another poster (Josh Murphy) mentioned that he saw a contradiction between the lyrics and GP. While he didn’t think this warranted a song change (if I may speak for you, Josh), he still considered these things to be in contradiction.

I’m thinking at the moment that if you don’t see the contradiction, then, no disrespect to you, but between us (and this goes for everyone), we don’t have common grounds for further discussion. It’s not my aim to convince you that the song is in conflict with the idea of GP. To me it seems obvious; to others, not so much.

It’s not as if this song is the aural representation of FIRST and it is completely contradicting the ideals of FIRST. It’s not as if that one line in the chorus is completely twisting the minds of FIRSTers everywhere such that they become rude people. It’s just a victory song. It has been for years. It has become a tradition to play that song at the end of a tournament/competition/etc.

I’m sorry, I read your post and assumed you were specifically complaining about how the finalist teams must feel when they play that song.

No, it isn’t. But do we hear about that happening? It’s not as if… I won’t repeat myself.

There are other songs that go against the ideals of FIRST that get played at competitions. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 comes to mind…

While I did not read all the posts thoroughly, I think I really need to mention this. When the song says, “you are the losers” or mentions anything about “losers”, what they are really saying is “the team that won deserves it because they have worked hard as anything and smarter than anything and winning is the most important thing to them and that is why they won”. I have been fortunate to be on a team where we value winning and I am also fortunate to be associated with people in other organizations who value winning. This is why I understand that to be a winner in the real rough world out there, you need to have many things in your life in place. Or in the case of FIRST, you need to have many things in your team in place to win consistently. So that is why, if my team is a finalist, we’re still a winner. We fought our way hard up there and we deserve it very well. If this song had a negative meaning towards the finalist or second place, then I do not think the world of sports would embrace it so much.

It’s been said before, it’s been said again: GP is an internal yardstick. I can’t (properly) judge whether someone else is acting in a graciously professional manner, only whether I see that action as GP or not.

The song overall is one of accomplishment. The references to “losers” can be associated with thousands of possible explanations (or so my English 102 professor drilled into my head over many a red-ink-covered paper). Same goes with the “we” that are the champions.

I agree with the Long-Named One–there is nothing wrong with celebrating the winners through this song.

Waitaminute… the song is exactly that: an aural representation of FIRST. It’s not an aural representation of the entirety of FIRST, but everything we do, including the songs we play at our competitions, represents FIRST in some way, however small.

You extrapolate from one to infinity in the influence any song might have on FIRSTers, and you may want to reconsider this, seeing how it’s one of the most baseless arguments one can make. If the song has a negative influence that outweighs the positive benefit by any amount, it should be removed and we should find something better.

Tradition is also one of the lamest excuses for inexcusable behavior. Bad things don’t get better just because you do them over and over again. In 1776, we broke tradition into teensy little pieces, because a group of people got together and realized that the tradition was no good.

What exactly is your response to the hypothetical I raised, which almost directly quotes from the song? I don’t hear anything meaningful.

That sounds nice, but you’ve honestly got to be kidding me. If you think the world of sports gives a darn about #2 compared to #1, get me some of what you’re smoking.

How does talking about the team that didn’t win refer to the team that did win? I don’t even know what to say here.