What makes a Team a full "FIRST Team"?

So as you probably know, there are some teams at competition that built a robot, come to competition so their robot can compete, but don’t fully embrace the FIRST ideals throughout the culture of their team.

some examples of these practices might be

-not fully embracing the ideals of coopratition, and gracious professionalism
-not supporting other FIRST or STEM activities to the best of their ability
-not attempting to earn any non robot related awards
-leaving before awards ceremonies (personal pet peeve of mine)

I am not trying to discredit any other teams or their practices, and I understand some teams have limited resources, and are unable to do certain things due to lack of funding, mentors, reliable meeting space, or members.

I would like to point out that teams tat exhibit these practices are within the minority, and based on my experience with other teams at the competition, most have a positive attitude, and continue to exceed my expectations of what a FIRST team can be.

However I want to know what the CD community thought as to
“What makes a Team a true FIRST Team?”

(This post in no way represents the views or opinion of team 2537 as a whole. It is solely the opinion of one of it’s members)

In FRC, paying their $5000 registration fee.

I’m not really interested in labeling teams as a “True FIRST Team” because they live up someone’s esoteric definition. Each team has the right to run their team in the manner they see fit. If this means they don’t make an effort for certain awards or don’t support other FIRST programs, who are we to judge them?

Not fond of the way this is phrased and presented… Any team that is registered with FIRST is a FIRST team. They may not be doing all the things you mentioned, but that could be due to any number of reasons-- team age, student maturity, mentor experience or number of mentors, lack of school district support, the list could go on forever.

By all means we can highlight and encourage good FIRST team practices and efforts, but lets not imply that those that are currently not doing certain things, are somehow ‘lesser’ by having not done them-- it doesn’t help further the cause.

What makes a Team a true FIRST Team is defined by that particular team and its members. Each and every FIRST team is going to have a different opinion, therefore there is really no uniform definition of what a true FIRST team is.

The only real concrete definition of a FIRST team is a team that is participating in a FIRST program, and has paid its registration fees.

Agreed. I know some teams who simply do not have the students (very small school teams) to do “any non robot related awards”, yet I’d still consider them a “True FIRST Team”.

I completely agree. I think some teams make things a priority that others do not, and that is the opposite of a bad thing. For example, in the San Diego Community, Team Spyder dominates the Safety aspect of robotics every year. Team Paradox is one of the most exciting and spirited teams I’ve ever competed with, and they bring an element to the competitions thats irreplaceable. Rookie teams that have yet to find one aspect that they focus on, and yet they are a vital part of the FRC community and not calling them a “True” FRC team sounds terrible. Every team has something to offer to the community, and labelling some of them as “real” or “not real” is the exact type of exclusion that FRC shouldn’t be about.

A team that inspires its students in the way they think is best.

There are many ways to run a team, many ways to inspire, and many ways to succeed. In my opinion, FIRST would be so much better if everyone could understand and accept this, and stop complaining about how other teams are run.

This wasn’t intended to complain about the original question, which I think is a valid one. Also, this is just my personal opinion and isn’t more correct than anyone else’s.

I don’t really like the labeling of “full” or “true” team. Honestly it reminds me of the “you are not a *real * gamer” thing that’s been around for a while. Honestly it doesn’t matter. Every team can run their team as they see fit. If they just want to compete with their robot on the field and nothing more, then that’s fine. We can’t force people to embrace the organizations ideals of philosophies.

I would like to gently point out that in the spirit of coopertition and Gracious Professionalism we really should not be trying to judge the quality or intentions of other teams.

If teams are doing things (or not doing things, as the case may be) that we feel are questionable or objectionable, we should either chalk it off as “different strokes for different folks” or, if truly a concern, approach the team organizers for a private chat, in the spirit of wanting to help them succeed.

The thread title asks “What makes a team a full FIRST team?”

That’s a great question, although to be perfectly honest that is a question that is repeatedly addressed in many ways, from the point that the Chairman’s Award is the highest award, to the prominence of G.P. as an important characteristic not just for teams, but for individuals.

A great way to address things in more detail would be to discuss positive aspects of teams that you admire. Consider the difference in:

I really admire teams who:
-fully embrace the ideas of coopertition and gracious professionalism
-support FIRST or other STEM activities to the best of their abilities
-attempt to win both robot and non-robot awards
-always stay for award ceremonies and cheer for whoever wins an award

It says the exact same thing as the original post, but in a positive manner. It also avoids attempting to classify some teams as “not being full FRC teams” but rather starts to lay out your version of positive team aspects that you admire, rather than pet peeves.

On the other hand, To say that a team is a “full FIRST team” because they pay $5000, is kind of like saying that an athlete is a professional athlete if they get paid to play a sport. Technically, it is correct, but I’d say that someone like Wayne Gretzky or Derek Jeter more fully embraces the concept of “professional” than some of their equally well-paid colleagues. And I’d also say that the Hall of Fame teams have more fully embraced the spirit and achieved the goals of FIRST than my team did in our best years. We were certainly a “full FIRST team”, but we definitely had role models we looked up to when attempting to define what that might mean.


Precisely! I think we should be focusing less on making teams conform to the ideals and more supporting each other in the extent we choose the embody FIRST. If a team only wants to do robot stuff and go home, we should be supportive. If a team has a weak robot but loves doing all the extra stuff associated with FIRST, we should be supportive. FIRST is about the community as much as it is the ‘true FIRST Team’.

I’ve never really looked at any team as a “True FIRST Team.” In fact, I see all teams as equal. Any team can win any award, so long as they work toward it. Any team can win a district, regional or championship, and any team can be a Gracious Professional. This is my personal opinion, though.

^^^^ This.

I think there’s an award for recognizing a team that best fits all of your criteria, it’s the chairman’s award.

-not supporting other FIRST or STEM activities to the best of their ability

Personally, I’m kinda getting tired of seeing teams who don’t field a decent robot and don’t seem to have a strong FRC program, but win the chairman’s award due to their outreach and FLL programs. That may just be me, though.

Maybe we should have a schism, and form new denominations of FRC. Reformed, Chairman’s Only, New Disciples of 254, Orthodox Kamenites. The Kamenites could wear all denim…

I second this motion

Where do we put all the “Free Hugs” kids?

We could call them the (Woody) Flower(s) Children.

I would first like to point out the flaw in the wording of my question. I in no way meant for the question to be translated literally. I wanted to discuss things that we like to see teams practice, so they can fully embrace the spirit of first. (post 10 understands my question)

I don’t see encouraging teams to embrace the first ideals as a bad thing. I am for encouraging teams to build a great robot, and for enabling as many people as possible to gain that invaluable experience, but “first is more than just robots”. There is a reason first emphasizes the fact that chairmans is the most prestigious award at first.

I am the business/marketing lead on my team. I have gained invaluable experience in business not comparable to any of the other 71 clubs at my school. (We are a club according to the school system) I want other people interested in things other than computer science and engineering to gain the same experience first provides to me as well.

I agree that this is something I’d like to see less of. In my opinion, so long as you don’t have a scheduling conflict forcing an early departure, the gracious and respectful thing is to stay through awards, even if you aren’t in elims/playoffs. It’s also a bit awkward when a team earns an award but has already left.