Where has the GP gone???

Over the past few days, I have been reading some posts that make me feel that the high level of Gracious Professionalism that we all strive to maintain, is fleeting. There are stories about teams that feel that they were robbed, and teams questioning another team about the legitimacy of their Chairman’s Award. There is another about mentors/engineers in the pits helping to maintain their team’s robot during the matches, and the stories go on.

We ALL put in a tremendous amount of time and effort into the ‘robot’ to make it the best that it can be, and then to see it in competition in the various regionals, This is the fun part of the job. However, this is just a small step in the process. It is my understanding behind the idea of the ***FIRST ***competition to Inspire the students to better themselves though Science and Technology, and for them to focus on their future and to continue their development thru higher education.

We should remember that the competitions are just a game, and that the future of this country, and of the lives of the students are much more important. The students that have experienced FIRST are already winners. They are focused and ready to meet the challenges of their post secondary education and to pursue various engineering degrees. They also know the importance of what it means to ‘give back’. I have heard and seen many stories of former FIRST students that have graduated with their degree, and have gone on to either be a mentor, or start up a new FIRST team. This is what the FIRST community should represent.

My two cents worth…

I’d like to add a dime or two. Totally agreed.

For the past few days, I’ve been inclined to suggest that we all push away from the keyboard. Reason being - we are tired. Build and competition season can take it out of us, mentally and physically, and there has been little time to regroup/replenish.

The teams that have traveled over long distances and competed in multiple regionals really have to strive in areas of rest, regaining/retaining perspective in some areas, replenishing. The teams that have traveled to and competed in one regional still deal with the stresses and the results of the competition experience.

Edges are frayed, emotions are fresh and raw. This creates the perfect opportunity for making posts that do not always reflect the best we have to offer as individuals and as team members, if we do not practice self-restraint. GP is tough and will get through this. At the same time, each of us should try our best to remember who we are and how we impact our FIRST community by our conduct, our actions, and our words.

you may not like everything you read here, and that’s not the goal, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and this is a place for all to be discussed. Despite all of the inspiring (participated for 3 yrs in HS and now in my 3rd yr as a college mentor) that goes on there are competitions, and there are going to be teams that get legit “robbed” or the short end of the stick. This is not a perfect program, and people are allowed to point that out, which will hopefully make this program stive to be better. I PERSONLLY think that many teams/individuals have taken GP too far. I seems some times that teams will justify everything they do or don’t do by GP, it is a good model to live by, but it taken to literally. It personally reminds me of religion (not that I am trying to offend anyone), I think something like GP needs to be applied in moderation and adapted and interpreted for the situation. Hopefully people will learn that(again not a personal shot at anyone just using your examples) if they did feel like they got robbed that there will always be another competition, and if a team wins a charimain’s award, they DESERVE IT! It is no small task to win a chairmain’s award, being on a team that has won one, so you really have to go above and beyond espcially with more and more teams spreading the word of frist. You should be able to learn and grow from you experiences and make your self, and team better.

I could not agree more with your post. Not everyone’s experience in FIRST has been the same. Society has become a “give me now” feeding machine that demands everything now. Recognition now, awards now… The true gift of FIRST is inspiration in science and technology that will help them pursue a degree in Engineering, Business, or some other field that they would not consider had they not done FIRST.

To me, FIRST has been more than just a club on campus that got to travel to cool places. It would take me pages to include the full impact of FIRST on my high school career. I have just been fortunate to look at all the experiences I have had in a positive light, and to see where I can improve. It does not benefit anyone to bring down the other person. They did something right you did not. I did not realize it until my junior year, but FIRST is about more than just the game every year. It is to create a better society that enforces children’s knowledge and education. Every year, Bush and other government leaders have been taking out of the education budget. That money has gone into other funds, the economy to prevent poverty, war, etc. These will not shape the future to be better, they all are short term plan to fix the now. Preventing poverty by giving a person a few hundred dollars will just help them survive for a few months. Giving them knowledge of how to be successful will help them survive for a lifetime. People also have disagreements which lead to war. Unable to reason and compromise, they jump straight to using force to prove their point. FIRST though teaches these and other life lessons. Why give a man a fish when you can teach him how to catch his own fish? FIRST teaches students how to problem solve, work together, compromise if need be, and work for an overall success in the long term, not the short term.

As a senior now graduating and going off to college, this is only the tip of the iceberg for the impact FIRST has had on me. I never knew that FIRST would be influencing me to go to college to major in Mechanical Engineering to do what is right for society. It has made me value my intellect and human capacity of what I can do. Sure my team does not win all the awards, but they walk away after each competition and meeting with some new knowledge, and that’s how they truly are winners. Seeing them talk about what to improve upon, and not downplaying others is very positive and what society needs.

FIRST really is more than just a chairman’s award, or regional champion. It is shaping our society for the long term.

I just hope everyone realizes that it’s not about the awards or the robots. It’s about the students involved, mentors, and sponsors, because they are shaping our society with the long term success plan. The future is OUR future, not your or my future. We need to work together in order to keep society just and to promote positive growth.

If you have not had a positive experience in FIRST, please don’t bring those that have down.

My $0.02.

Deffinately agreed.

The worlds not perfect and people do make mistakes and do wrong you all know that, but god forbid we actually call out a wrong to discuss and try and change things for the future.

Theres no need to be so defensive, sometimes people just want to discuss they’re opinions on these things, its not an attack on anybody.

i am in my 3rd yr of being a college mentor to Hs students, and i can attest to how this has changed me and the new found respect i have for my former mentors, as well as take the next step and get involved on a regional level. But one of the main ways FIRST promotes ITSELF is by being the “superbowl for the brain” and by “coopertition”, its inherit in the game, the robots DO matter. Yes they may not be everything, but they should not be deminished or looked at as secondary, they are equil.A lot of the lessons you and everyone else here have learned have come from the comps, from interacting with people, and striving to build a winning robot.
I know for both teams i have been on, winning gets you noticed, and draws people to you. Last year on 125 we had minimal Hs participation, maybe 3-5 truly dedicated kids, after winning the boston regional, the team is now the strongest it has been( about 15 dedicated HS’ers) in at LEAST 6 years. While doing demos at High Schools if they are not quite sure what the program is about or may be on the fence about joining, saying the hey we are sucessful can usually bring more, and most improtantly different people to your team.

While I agree with the sentiments that you express, this (CD) is a discussion board, not a FIRST is great board.

It is here that we discuss the good and the bad about FIRST. Where we find discussions about outstanding behavior and behavior that should be modified.

While I most definately do not agree with all the posters on these boards … I believe the best way to change the bad is to discuss it and show how it (whatever the issue is) can be better. Many times these opening “rants” (Please don’t take that word wrongly) are the gut feelings of those who do not see FIRST as we (I) do and it’s the responses to these “rants” that should reflect the spirit of FIRST.


Maybe there are a few posts on here that are non-GP, but instead of being gloomy and doomy I’d like to compliment the vast base of contributors to CD on how much Gracious Proffessionalism is shown in these forums. As I’m sure many of you know, there are discussion forums about other sports (yes, I think FIRST is a sport :] ) and I doubt that they have anything close to the level of profesionalism that is seen here… take a google around if you want.

Also, remember that the people on this forum are not just words on a screen, but many of them attend various FIRST events as well.

Just as an example… at the Boilermaker regional our previously smoked 5 volt regulator finally decided to quit… right before our semifinal match. Team 1018 , the RoboDevils, very graciously loaned us their robot controller. Without their gracious professionalism, we wouldn’t have gone on to win the regional.

I’m not saying you aren’t bringing up a valid point that there are a few non-GP posts and threads around CD, but, remember to look on the bright side too… all in all I’m impressed with the CD discussion board community and the FIRST community.

-q (is so excited for Atlanta! :yikes: )

You kidding me?
It was FAR worse last year.
that had to be the angriest year in FIRST I had ever witnessed.
It’s much more peaceful this year.

Jane makes an excellent point (as usual) about stepping back and taking a deep breath.

There are some great topics for discussion in even the most heated thread. It’s important to remember, though, that we are not talking here about THE ENEMY:mad: :mad: who RIPPED us OFF at the tournament!!:mad::mad: ! and hates our TEAM!!1! Everyone in the program wants it to be great: mentors, youth, volunteers, parents, and sponsors. No one is out to “get” anyone else.

We need to work together to continue to make FIRST a worthwhile program. Getting emotional on Delphi does not move us forward. Raising topics in a reasoned, orderly manner is the Way of the Engineer: it’s all about solving the problems, not blowing off steam. Nearly any of the !!! topics I’ve seen lately could just have been done in a more mature manner.

For example: How about, “Would the students have a better experience if the mentors did less work on the robot and more teaching? How does a team transition from mentor-led to student-led?” This would have been a more productive approach than “TEEms where the mentors bild the robot are not fare to the rest of us!” I have strong opinions on this subject, which I’m far more interested in sharing in the former discussion than the latter.

Another: How about, “There seems to be big differences in the way games are refereed in different regionals, and I’ve seen this for years. How can FIRST improve either the game design or how officiating is done to make the whole process more fair? Here’s one idea I have …” This is far more likely to produce a desirable result than, “We were robbed because the refs are incompetent!”

Actually, any post that has exclamation marks in the topic line is suspect. :]

As my hero Red Green says, “Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”

I like this thread much better than that other thread (you know the one). As a mentor of 2232, yes, the other mentors and myself did much of the work on the robot during the MN regional. The students also did some work on the robot but the mentors did most of it. We are a very small team of less than 10 active student members. The mentors wanted the students to have a fun at the regional and did most of the maintenance on the robot. This left the students to scout, talk to other team, and just have fun watching the competition. The students worked hard the whole build season so I don’t see what was wrong with the mentors taking over maintenance at the competition.

Just my $.02

I really like you!
You always put things in perspective.
That deserves a visit from me in the pits with bags of Hawaiian chocolates!:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:
nah…I never had the privilage of meeting you, so its a good excuse to.

If you visit our pits you’ll probably give my stuff to Ron. The guy everyone inexplicable keeps mistaking me for.
Come instead by the “Land of Inspiration” aka the FIRST Hall of Fame. You’re more likely to find me over there.

While it’s true that it’s “just a game”, it’s important to remember that teams often set goals like going to Atlanta (by winning a regional, Chairman’s, Engineering Inspiration, etc). When that doesn’t happen, some of the team members are hurt, angered and want to get things off their chest. If a team member feels “we were robbed” and expresses that in this forum, I consider that a human response. Maybe not admirable, but certainly understandable.

I agree with Jane that we’re tired and too emotionally wrapped to put our best thoughts into our posts. I also think we should allow some lenience to those who post out of frustration, pain, even anger. I’ve already seen posters’ retract and apologize for things that were said in the “heat of the moment”. GP also requires us to show care and understanding to those who feel as though they were wronged.

Telling someone “it’s just a game” isn’t all that consoling when he or she feels that the outcome wasn’t fair. It will take time for the hurt to go away, finding the right words to speed that process isn’t easy…

The robotic compeition is a sport while FIRST is an orginazation intended to reach a goal. Depending on which side you belive is more important will determine your definition of GP and how you show it.

As always, I am impressed by all of the comments that the users on CD supply. I have to agree with Koko Ed as well. Last year yielded some very nasty comments by some members, especially after the finals in Curie. I too was affected by that match, and can remember all too well that i was screaming at my monitor as one of the top teams had their arm ripped off.

I understand and agree with D. Brinza’s and J. Young’s comments as well.
Like I said before, I know the amount of time and sweat that each team puts into their robot. For the first four years of our program, we struggled just to put a robot on the field, but always came away with the feeling that we had achieved the best that we could do, and that we could only improve ourselves for the next year.

I guess that its just the side of me that has always turned to look for the positive side in life that motivated me to post this thread.

another 2 cents…

I myself am most impressed with the fact that this thread is only two pages long and already has 28 cents in it :D:D

Although I agree some posts have not been to nice, there have been some very wonderful posts on CD lately as well, congrats to other teams, wishing teams luck in atlanta, that sort of thing, as been going around a lot lately. So by the theory, that everything must be balanced (yin and yang) there must be negative posts to counter all the positive ones or the whole interweb would implode!:ahh:

Posts this time of year reflect the perceived slights for awards, the near misses in eliminations, the mechanical and software frustrations, and the general lack of sleep that we all have gone through.

One of, if not my favorite, FIRST quotes is what Dave Beck (coach of 103) said to us a few years ago.

“Well, it beats work.”

Next time you want to post something angry on Delphi, just remember that :wink:

Why are we still discussing this?

FIRST is not perfect, criticizing it can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Stop whining. You didn’t win. Big deal! I didn’t either.

A French saying goes like this: “turn your tong seven times in your mouth before you open it”. That is to say: when angry, shut your trap, more likely than not, nothing good can come out of it.

OMG GP not GP Woodie Zoom Zoom robot. GP is great, apply it to yourself. You have no right whatsoever to claim that such team is GP and such team isn’t. Furthermore, GP is not a universal rule. You should help teams achieve it, not shout to their face when you thing they don’t abide by it.


Please don’t make this another ~150 post long thread about absolutely nothing.