What FIRST is all about

Hello friends,

Today I have a story for you. I know it is quite long, but trust me, its worth reading. One that I feel absolutely shows what FIRST is. My name is Justin Sticht and I have been a part of FIRST since 4th grade (FLL). I am now finishing my second year in college, and as a mentor for Team 3278 Qwerty. You can say I’ve seen many things in my FIRST career, but I don’t think anything amounts to what I recently witnessed.

As I write this, Qwerty is on their way back to Minnesota from Calgary, Alberta after finishing off our 2013 regional. We met many wonderful teams from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and even our own United States.

The pits looked like they took no space at all in the Olympic Oval. Having only 30 teams at the brand new regional, it was indeed a lot smaller than what Qwerty has in their 4 years, and I in my past 5 years have seen at our home state regionals. As I walked into the pits for the first time, I noticed a kind of pitiful robot still in its bag. There didn’t seem much to it, but I didn’t look too much. As the day rolled on, 2 gentlemen, not dressed in any team uniform, finally entered that pit and swiftly got to work. To this point I had been told about the “One man team”. These 2 people made that team. A mentor and a student, Herman.

I had learned that there was originally more students on the team. However, after other extra curricular activities came up, those other students soon put robotics to the wayside. Herman however made sure to stick to the end.

Word had gotten out about what had happened to Herman’s poor robot. A situation I thought only existed in nightmares. His robot was destroyed during shipping. Not only that, but the programming computer was somewhere in the air still on a plane. As soon as we heard this news, Qwerty student, Korgen jumped into action. Grabbing his computer that had Labview on it, he asked a few coding questions and scurried over to the humbled robot, Team 4625. There he met a few other people from other teams including 771 SWAT and Team RoboDawgs. (there were 3 RoboDawgs teams, but they all claimed to be one entity, so that’s how they will be in this story). While RoboDawgs and SWAT helped the poor rookie team work on a drive train Korgen worked endlessly on the code in labview. All day during practice competitions, and all through the first day of qualifiers, it seemed Korgen was was part of a different team.

I offered as much help as I could building a simple code just to get the robot driving, and showed the other mentor along the way. I had to help Qwerty though and left Korgen to helping out. Soon, not only was there a driving robot, but also a shooting robot.

I talked to Herman just before the second day of qualifiers, and mentioned he should go to the meeting teaching rookies how the alliance picking works. His mentor said that they had to go home, and would have to forfeit. This dissapointed me to no end. Why go through all that stress as Herman, and not get to the fun part?

The day wore on, Calgary finally reached the alliance picking part of the day. All the top 8 teams picked their first partners. Qwerty was the last to join the 8th alliance. As the 5th alliance struggled to find an ally, they finally called in Herman, team 4625. Just as the MC started to say that 4625 would not be joining us, I heard someone shout “wait!” and saw Herman sprinting in with his jacket on and traveling bag resting on his shoulder. He ran right to the alliance and graciously accepted the offer. The crowd went wild. An instant standing ovation. Herman was going to the quarter finals.

Alliance 5 was up to play. I watched the team walk up. Herman, Korgen and the other students who had helped all had matching shirts now. They are a team. They are now Team 4625 Eyes High. Herman was at the controls and played OUTSTANDING defense. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to go further.

Herman still had his chance to shine, while he was awarded the Judges award for his inspirational work. Never in my life have I been more eager to jump to my feet and shout in excitement. Herman went to accept the award in front of a roaring crowd.

Now whenever I see Korgen wearing his eyes high shirt, I will always remember this weekend. Eyes high has inspired me so much. The people that dropped everything to help Herman deserve a huge thank you for their showing of gracious proffesionalism that has not been matched. Herman had the experience of a lifetime, while making new friends to last that long. I am so proud to have witnessed this and hope to just share this story of FIRST. Never have I been more proud of a robotics team. Good job Eyes High.

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Thanks for sharing. Reminds me of a similar occurrence at Buckeye many, years ago. As I recall, it was one student, no mentor that year.

It’s amazing how dusty it is in here.

I’ve seen things like this happen a few times, and it never fails to make me proud to be part of an organization where this is the normal way to react to this kind of situation.

When I first heard Herman’s story (here), I was completely stunned. If you told me I had to build a robot alone when I was in my first year, I’d probably run away, and unlike Herman, I was taught the prinsiples of building a robot by experienced veterans from the moment I joined the team, and I have plenty of veteran teams a short drive away.
I find it increadible what FIRST makes people do, how it inspires them go get above the tallest obstacles, and surpass what they could accomplish in their wildest dreams, and does it over and over again.

Herman’s story proves to me what I’ve seen in FIRST over and over again: you can do anything you set your mind to.

This was a great story to read on a lazy Sunday, as I prepare for the chaos that will be MSC in three days.

It’s sometimes easy to look at the not-very-competitive teams and wonder why they even bother, but stories like this remind me that if just one person is inspired, than it’s worth every moment, cent, blood and tears shed.

Thank you. This is what FIRST is all about.

I will second that emotion and repost what I witnessed in Connecticut:

One great story is the rookie team 4812, Crosby Robotics, with a paltry crew of maybe five students and mentors that felt like they had bit off more than they could chew. The team was created in December.
On Thursday, they were desperately trying to make their bumpers so they could pass inspection, which they didn’t until after their first match. Teams jumped in to help, among many, 4134, Amsterdam, who with a staple gun and hammer, helped them to complete the job. 4812 team was so forlorn at this point.

Then the day began.

In their third match with 228, GUS, they were asked to go after 2170, the Titanium Tomahawks, with their climber dumper, and hit them as they transported their red disks to the pyramid. Crosby’s driver did, they lost their cache, and the match was won by only two points.

No question that they are being carried. Nonetheless, they are ranked 12th (losing the first match by DQ) and are theoretically undefeated.
When asked about scouting, they seemed to think about camping.

They are in for quite the ride tomorrow, and may not even see eliminations, but the spirit of FIRST is alive and well in Connecticut this weekend.

Finally, a quick video of 4812 Crosby Robotics from Waterbury, behind the glass before match 60. This is a thank you video for them.

I wish I had some footage of their original Robot that eventually became a Scrap Wood NoodleBot after having their top sheared off in an early match

They finished as the highest ranked rookie out of four, and 17th out of 51 Their final record was 5-2-0, with one disqualification because their Robot was not completed and inspected before their first match.

THey got so many hugs after accepting their award.

The help that they received from other teams made me verklempt.


This story is not only incredible for how successful Herman was, but because of the help other teams so enthusiastically provided him!

Even after four years of FIRST this community still amazes me. I cannot fathom a more supportive and genuinely caring community of people. I am so proud to be a FIRSTer and so proud to have had the opportunity to see my own team develop into one that embodies these same ideals.

Everybody go out, start some teams, get them resources and get the ball rolling! The world needs more of this stuff!

-Anna :slight_smile:

I hope they are still around next season. Stay in touch with them if you can.

From what I heard, something very similar happened with the #1 seed(4464) at the Washington DC Regionals. Even more remarkable, 4464’s driveteam consisted of students from 1885 ILITE Robotics that didn’t stop their dedication to helping the new rookie even when they ended driving against their own team and eliminating them in the quarterfinals.

Akash, I knew it was you! Every time there’s an inspirational story someone is ALWAYS cutting onions. There’s definitely no other reason for my eyes to be watering, right?

I love reading stories like these. A bright spot of positivity in life is always good.

Let’s keep this thread rolling. :slight_smile:

Small correction: 4466, The Robohamsters, were the tiny team that ILite helped and went to the finals as a second pick. 4464, Team Illusion, was the #1 seed, and although still a rookie, actually extended help to other teams, and shared their build space with team 614 this season after team 614 lost their funding. The Washington Regional, as well as being the most exciting round of eliminations I have ever seen, had some extraordinary displays of Gracious Professionalism.

It was indeed 4466 at Washington DC. Not only did they reach the finals, but thanks to 79, 379, and 2415 already having qualified, received a wild card bid to compete at Championship. They played some great defense to help the #2 alliance reach the finals, and had a good shooter as well (that unfortunately wasn’t at 100% for the eliminations).

Akash I can smell them all the way from Illinois, gosh my eyes are tearing, not crying with joy just those dam onions.

This was truly inspirational, I have had students on my own team do similar acts but not spend almost 2 whole days with another team.

Korgen and Herman (if you’re around CD), you are not only role models for other students but even to me, as a mentor.

I feel like there’s going to be a lot of very disappointed FIRSTers if 4625 does not exist come the 2014 season.

To this point, the story from the regional is great, but the story to bring this team back next year could be epic! I hope there are teams nearby that are reaching out to Eyes High and sheparding them through to 2014.

Wow that’s an awesome story. I wish only the best to team 4625, and hope to see them do even better things next year.

While we are posting shout out stories I want to commend Team 1730(Driven) for all of the help and GP that they displayed at the Razorback Regional this weekend. There are few times in a FIRST Regional in which you know which team will win the GP award but this was one of them.

For those of you that do not know… Arkansas had 12 rookie teams this year. Not all of these teams had rough inspections, but there were a few rookies and veterans that took up until Friday to pass inspection. Team 1730(with the help of a quick inspector :wink: ) was the first team to pass inspection Thursday. They then sent out what seamed like most of their students and mentors to help out every team in the pit. I believe throughout the Regional they helped make and redo around 7-8 bumper sets. I know they helped 2-4 teams with their programming. Every time I went to reinspect a team the first thing I always noticed was the black and yellow shirts in the pit.

It’s amazing to hear such stories. I hope the success that Herman has convinces more local high-schoolers and mentors to help him out next year.

In what other sport (…sport?) can young teams find such benevolence? (In other sports, rookies are the teams that get the score run up on them!) In fact, during an offseason competition in our rookie year, my team was literally given an entire robot for the day by 1218 Vulcan Robotics to get our drive team some pre-rookie practice.

Dangnabbit Akash, didn’t I tell you to put those onions in the fridge before slicing them?

Nice story, and great calls by the event staff to allow the one-man team to compete.

I agree it is salutary to read this kind of story. I only wish the topic posters would pick better topic titles. Many of them are basically impossible for the posting(s) to cover satisfactorily. I don’t know anyone who reads all of CD, or even if it is possible to do that. This is just my observation. I promise I will give more than minimal attention to my own new topics and make sure I minimize my own potential embarrassment by checking the title’s spelling. Also, please do not take this as a criticism of the Original Poster. Further, I will not be making a topic “What CD is all about.”