What did Texas think of the first season of Districts?

I’m curious to hear what Texas thought of the new introduction of Districts now that the DCMP has concluded. I know from a spectator pov I really enjoyed watching it all play out. What was good or bad about it? Was it easier, or harder? Was it more fun, or more stressful. Any and all comments are welcome


Districts are amazing. Weve never had so much Texas talent in one competition. Ive never seen Texas so deep. INSANE levels of practice for worlds and crazy fun matches. And a lot of good Texas robots who wouldn’t normally go are now going to represent at worlds. Rating: 33/10


I’ll avoid any comments on what I’ll write off as “growing pains” that happened with trying to expand from 3 events several years ago to 11 events this year. I know there’s been a lot of talks about what went well and what didn’t and how to increase the quality for next year.

Instead, I’ll point out something that I found incredibly disappointing about districts itself.

In what world does it make sense to award a single Woodie Flowers Finalist to districts? I love that all the nominated mentors were on the field today. It gave me a chance to look and see a number of mentors that I’ve worked with (including one from the team I mentor) getting recognition from the kids they’ve invested so much of themselves into. Looking at that crowd, I couldn’t have narrowed it down to 5 if I were asked.

The first thing I did after seeing this was take a look at TBA to see if Michigan does the same. Sadly, every district is giving out a single Woodie Flowers Finalist. This is inherently wrong. If we truly believe there should only be a single Woodie Flowers winner from a region like Michigan, we should remove “Finalist” from the award and simply declare that individual as a Woodie Flowers winner. Otherwise, we should be giving that group of mentors similar recognition we give to other bigger awards. There should be a number of them proportional to the district.

With Districts, the benefit of unbagging coming next year also seems to be less important. Teams having two weeks to spend time on their robot in their shop versus at a venue was a contributing factor to a VERY competitive district championship event. Basing Champs invites on three events also feels far more fair for a lot of the teams I saw this weekend. Those that had sustained success across events were rewarded. It felt less like the lottery of the regional system where your goal was to either be an elite robot or a lower mid-tier robot. With a strong or mid-tier robot, you were most likely to have a solid event and not get the invite. There are other avenues for less competitive robots to get into the event (and I applaud that). But, the ways to advance via competition give a better feeling of going to the most consistent, competitive robots this year. That’s not the feeling I had with regional events.


I agree, this is the thing I absolutely hate the most about districts. Some regions go from handing out 4 WFFA’s to just 1, and its ridiculous. The mentors are the heart of our program, and its insane that the decision was made to do this. The Post Season events have the same issue as well, where Chairmans gets awarded to 2 separate teams, but still only 1 WFA between both events.


If you wait long enough, the WFA winners that make this decision will come in here and tell you why you’re somehow wrong, like they have before.


Yes, this is an intentional choice the WFA committee has made.


I’d honestly love to hear this perspective. I’ve tried and can’t put myself into a mindset where it’s wrong to either have multiple finalists within a district or a single winner.

I 100% agree. I think that this isn’t just true for the Woodie Flowers Award but also for other champs qualifying awards like RAS. If we say that each regional represents 60 teams and we have x teams represented by a district wouldn’t it make much more sense to have x/60 of these awards given for each district?


Those awards are given out proportionally. There’s a formula listed in the Game Manual listing a minimum and a maximum number for those and the district itself determines how many in that range it wants to give.

For a bit of context, Texas had 3 events before starting to push towards having more events to get ready for districts. This year, there were 2 RAS, 2 EI, and 3 Chairmans. Those numbers match the pre-inflation (and growth) numbers. Reasonably, we wouldn’t be much larger for these.

I cannot believe how competitive that event was. It was literally so deep, with teams like 4063, 5892, 2714, etc. going so far in the draft. Amazing practice for champs, if you could keep up at this event your gonna rock it at worlds.


That makes it even weirder to me. I had always assumed it was the same for all awards where they only got to send 1. Having it like that makes even less sense to me now.

Yeah. Just wait till you find out it’s up to your district on how many chairman’s to send to worlds… And then your district decides to send far fewer than they could…


How come FIRST gave up that ruling to the autonomy of districts? Did they ever say the reasoning for that?

The only district sending less than the maximum number is Michigan. They’re sending 5 when they’re able to send 10. Granted, that’s the minimum.

Since I always reply to the questions regarding the WFFA decision I will also respond here.

First, if my responses have ever come off as “we’re right and you’re wrong” then I apologize. The Championship Woodie Flowers award winners have been given the autonomy to decide the logistics of this award.

We made this initial decision in 2009 when Michigan went to districts. We were looking ahead to an FRC where every region was in districts and each District has its representative. We still stand behind this decision today.

We think the multiple winners is arbitrary and unnecessary. It is our position and respectfully disagree with those of you that think there should be multiple per District Championship.

For what it’s worth, I personally think the other awards should follow suit. We say we want to follow the sports model but we have these weird things like multiple “winners” for individual team awards. By your logic we should have multiple design award winners, quality award winners, etc.

Look, you have the right to disagree with us, but we, collectively, disagree with you on this matter.

One last thing: we feel it is much more important to recognize EVERY mentor that is nominated for this award by bringing them down on the floor and announcing their names at every district. Some districts didn’t do this in 2019. We will address it for 2020 as we want every mentor that is nominated to be recognized.


Should we also restrict Deans List to 2 students (Or maybe even 1) per district? Since that’s an individual award, not a team award, and very similar in the way its given out and thought of as Woodie Flowers.

Maybe we should also make it so Deans List only gets rewarded to a single student across both championships as well.


I can understand the sentiment that with universal districts these awards should be 1 per district however we don’t have that. Would it not make more sense to have it like the other awards now and when there are universal districts to change it to 1 per district?


Slightly off topic maybe, but what’s the typical judging structure for wffa? Is it a separate group of judges or are all nominees judged by wfa winners, even at regional and district championship levels?

This is an area I’ve literally never paid attention to, so I am not sure how the award is judged.

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I think you already have multiple explanations, but it’s not something I currently have a clear perspective on myself, as it has changed for me many times over the last couple of years. Also, as someone who is not a WFA, it’s not my award to coordinate, judge, and well, award.

To be fair, things change. You initially made a decision in 2009. In the past decade, the Michigan district has changed immensely. Other districts have popped up. The number of teams, the number of mentors, and the overall impact have changed greatly. The decision made in 2009 is no longer really relevant. You’re making a different, similar, decision each year by continuing to stick with one per district. It’s no longer the same decision. You’ve opted to make it MORE difficult each year rather than the same level of difficulty. That’s fine. But, let’s be clear that it’s different.

No more so than opting for a single winner. Both are arbitrary. It’s also not difficult to argue the award maintains prestige without reducing the current number of recipients and it’s unnecessary to reduce the number that were previously awarded.

If we want to extend the logic, we can do the same with yours. By yours, it doesn’t make sense to award ANY WFFA at district championship events. This arbitrarily and unnecessarily awarded 11 such finalists awards. We should only be giving out the actual award at Champs. If your argument is going to shift to point out Champs gives out the WFA while districts give out WFFA, I’d also point out this is an arbitrary distinction and we should remove “Finalists” as I also suggested.

Honestly, I’d never waded into these waters before. I’m not driven by recognition so I’ve never aspired to receive the WFFA. I do see how the kids I work with look at the award and how it means to them to see the mentor they nominated get it. I know how much recognition means to others. I never realized how many amazing mentors hadn’t received this recognition until they were standing on the field today.

I’d like to point out the WFA isn’t just about the current winners. It’s something that impacts the entire community. Can you think of another award where the sole deciders on how to handle the award are past winners? A very small minority in a community wanting to ensure their accomplishment is considered as prestigious as possible determining how this is handled for a community at whole just seems awkward. I don’t know why there aren’t other voices in there.

As you say, you’re welcome to disagree. I appreciate the actual response rather than brushing me off. From someone wanting to see the appreciate we give mentors remain at the same level, this process feels broken. If the community’s voice doesn’t matter to WFA winners, I’d question why the award continues to exist. Do you get a lot of feedback that it’s better now with the number of recipients reducing?

I absolutely loved this. I’ve got worlds of respect for so many of those mentors I saw today. I’m curious why you see a difference between districts and regionals in this respect. Why not do the same at a regional (the pool is the same as it isn’t reduced prior to district championship events). Also, I’d gladly endorse pushing this out to all districts. That was such an amazing group of people on the field today.