in an effort to get to know the teams on newton before emceeing, I wandered around the pits on Wednesday. In order to focus my data gathering (such as it was - I only made it to about half the pits) I decided to come up with one question to ask each team.
What is the most interesting thing about your team that I won’t find on the Internet?
I got some great responses, so I wanted to hear what everyone else says, and in the process, add new things to the Internet.
624 has a history of bus breakdowns on the way to St. Louis. (i.e last year we had a shattered window which held us up for quite some time.)
However, one particular year a while ago, the bus broke down halfway along the trip. The team got off and spent several hours at a nearby Walmart collecting the most random toys, products, and as much food as you could possibly fit in a cart. They even gave us some free stuff to help us out while we waited for another bus! Whenever we stop by the WalMart, they still remember us, from what I hear. We thank them for saving us while we were stranded.
Also, we’ve taken bus, plane, and train, yes, a train to Championships before. Now we just need a ship/cruise…
Something about 148 that might be of interest is what time the team shows up to the dome in the morning at championship. Too bad that’ll never be on the internet. All kidding aside, I’ll list a few things with the hope that at least one of them is interesting and also can’t be found anywhere on the internet:
148 will play Extreme Robowrangler Dodgeball after build meetings every now and then. The team uses the foam balls from 2006’s Aim High and a few of the small green balls from VEX’s Clean Sweep game (which we call peas). The larger balls aren’t much more than a distraction, while the best throwers go for the kill shot with the peas. Extreme rules are introduced for some periods of time, such as landing a headshot on your opponent allowing the knocked out members of your team to reenter the field. Things get pretty intense when balls are flying and people are diving and rolling on the ground to dodge them.
The goal every year is to win the world championship. Once the competition season gets started and robots around the world are revealed, the robot modifications and strategy adjustments to respond to these newly revealed robots happen quickly and constantly. One of the ways we go about doing this is by giving ourselves the same scenario every year- how do we beat the Simbots on Einstein? Are we capable of beating them as our robot stands now? If not, what can we change to give ourselves the best chance? (Big thanks to all of our friends on 1114. You set the bar so high, so we have our work cut out for us every year. You make for great motivation. Love you guys.)
I’m going to have some fun and pick on JVN a bit. He’s not too fond of an excessive use of sensors. His aversion to them at times was almost comical. If a problem could be solved mechanically in a way that wouldn’t need a sensor to function properly, that’s the way it was done. I can’t argue with the results of his design philosophy though. The team has been able to build some amazingly simple but incredibly effective robots under his guidance. On a side note, I love how our robots often seem to contrast with those of our buddies down in League City. The complexity of 118’s designs can be astounding, and I enjoy seeing how the two different approaches find success on the field. (The Robonauts are one of the other big motivators for our team. Both of our teams are so competitive, and being able to battle it out at a regional or two with them every year is a great way to test how prepared we are for the championship.)
LOL. That’s awesome to know. I finally had the chance to meet JVN on this trip to St Louis and he is as amazing in person as he seems to be online. I don’t think there is a day during build season where we don’t use his spreadsheet in our lab.
Also, your team is just incredible to watch work and behaves like true professionals. I am so glad we had the opportunity to work alongside you folks. It was an amazing experience.
Our team actually has an unofficial symbol we can make with our hands to represent our team (not to be confused with a gang sign). It is made with this step-by-step process:
Step 1: Form an L with your left-hand by using your pointer finger and your thumb (like how you would put up a “loser” sign)
Step 2: With your right hand, put up all 5 fingers.
Step 3: Turn your right hand so that your palm faces you, with the fingers pointed to the air.
Step 4: Take you left hand and flip it over so that your pointer finger is facing down (this will form the 7 in 75, so make sure to someone facing you, it looks like a 7).
Step 5: Move you left hand so that, from your perspective, it is to the right of your right hand (ie. crossed over so that your wrists touch).
In the end, you should have made a 7 with the upside down L in your left hand, next to your 5 fingers in your right, making the iconic Team 75 hand gesture (not to be confused with a gang sign). Show your friends, show your enemies, and show the world your newfound skill. Our drive team throws this up after they are announced at every match (if they are not busy taking a selfie), and sometimes our entire team will throw it up in the stands.
That certain team members were known to eat kitkat bars without breaking them first, like some kind of feral beast. Also that this led to an entire meeting’s worth of discussion on the proper way to eat a kitkat.
Our diversity. We have had students who lived in refugee camps. Have come from China. Our operator came from Kenya. She has only been in America for a couple of years and is graduating this year at 16. We have a mentor who were born in Germany and another who came from Puerto Rico. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. It is quite fascinating.
Only a couple members of TaRDIS have ever watched a single episode of Doctor Who. None of us have watched Season 8 or any of the original doctors because they’re not on Netflix yet. We were going to give everyone a crash course on the bus to St. Louis, but no one had DVDs so we decided to watch Star Wars (and Pride & Prejudice… long story) instead. Even I can’t name more than 5 or 6 doctors off the top of my head (and that’s if you count John Hurt), and I’m the one the team pointed people to when they asked us “Who’s the big Doctor Who fan?”.
(We picked the name because our school colors are blue and white and it contains the letters T and R for Taylor Robotics).
For some reason, it has become a tradition for the TechnoKats to eat at Steak 'n Shake on the way home after pretty much any FRC event. This despite the fact that they have never sponsored us in any way, nor have they ever agreed to participate in team fundraising projects.
For some reason no one knows, of every female member of our team (sadly, only 5, a number we intend to change), none of them are heterosexual (two asexual, 2 pansexual, and one I don’t know but I know they’re not straight)