Posted by Marc DeSchamp.
Other on team #125, someone who remembers Ramp N Roll, from Northeastern University and Textron Systems with the kids from Boston Latin School, Brookline High, and Milton Academy.
Posted on 1/20/2000 9:59 PM MST
I hate to sound callous, but why all the fuss about a level field, and fairness to the rookie teams? I was on a rookie team once (two practically) and we had a great first year experience. We had our share of ‘rookie troubles,’ and other, non-rookie teams were definitely better prepared. Sometimes they did better because of it, sometimes we surprised ourselves and everyone by beating ‘the big, bad veteran.’
Realistically, the chances of a rookie team winning the competition are small (heck the chances of any team winning are about 100 to 1), it’s a simple matter of experience in design, driving, and strategy, with a dash of statistics and chance thrown in the mix. If a new expansion team comes up in pro sports, noone expects them to go win the championship that very year. If they beat the odds, and win, great! But it’s not expected of them, nor is it expected of any rookie team in FIRST.
Pardon my rambling, but basically what I’m saying is that a rookie team is a rookie team, regardless as to how many attempts FIRST makes to ‘level the field.’ A team without any FIRST experience is still going to be doing more learning than anything their rookie year, and teams who have been in it for a while are still going to understand how things work better and be surprised less by the things that (always!) come up.
With regards specifically to the issue of the spare parts, the rookie teams are still going to suffer from ignorance that is not their fault and is NOT PREVENTABLE (even veteran teams get caught with their pants down, and alot more than we’d like).
Last year I switched from the Plymouth North team, a veteran team with quite a bit of engineering experience, to the Northeastern team, at the time a second year team with a ton of heart and a bit to learn. In that transition, I never once felt that I was at a disadvantage for being on a younger, less experienced team (we even did a little bit of surprising last year in Hartford). You have to walk before you can run, and I think that everyone involved in this program should understand this.
So, ‘The message?’ you ask. If it ain’t broke… you know the rest.