Why letting FIRST know your opinions is a good idea

Posted by Patrick Dingle at 05/14/2001 4:55 PM EST

College Student on team #639, Red B^2, from Ithaca High School and Cornell University.

This message is in response to “Re: Petition (and why not to sign)” by Patrick Butler.

I disagree… It is very important for Dean, Woody, and FIRST to hear what we have to say. Without our input, they would never be able to make important changes that ultimately help the organization and have allowed it to grow over the years. Some of the things FIRST does, among others, is have a team forum to get constructive criticism from teams, and they often send out emails to teams asking for input about various things. They read, save, and think about virtually every email they get.

Dean may have imagination, but he is not God. Any old wise man with a long beard and bald head would tell you that many lesser minds working together can easily surpass one great mind. And we are talking about over 20000 minds.

You state in your message, “If the game is not a great spectators sport, who cares you learn from building and this year we all learned almost as much from playing (good thing).” Learning is one thing, but that’s not the main goal of FIRST. FIRST is about inspiration and recognition. Having once been a high school student, I would have never considered joining FIRST if it had not been for two things. (a) I was shown a half hour ESPN2 segment about FIRST (i think 96 competition). It was the awesome competitive aspect of the game, along with ESPN’s enthusiastic coverage, that convinced me to at least write my name down on a list of students interested. (b) I then went to the 1999 Philly and UTC competitions. The spectator aspect got me hooked. I’ll admit, I am a product of exactly what FIRST is trying to do. But without the excitement of the game, without a game where the media will want to pick up on it, FIRST would never have found my way into my life.

Finally, it is extremely important for Dean and Woodie to listen to teams – they know this, and I applaud them for listening carefully in past years. Dean and Woodie are not on teams. They do not see things from the perspective of coaches or students. While they might envision an idea that works flawlessly in their mind, it might have negative effects that only are noticed from a coach perspective. I’m not going to list all the things I noticed about this year’s game, since I have done so numerous times already. My main point here is that everyone should not hesitate to draft petitions, talk to other teams, and contact FIRST about things that they do not like… If FIRST chooses to listen, great. If they do not see things your way, and don’t make changes, then at least they are aware of some problems that do exist.

Remember, FIRST is not God. We do not have to accept everything that we say as being the right approach. It is important to maintain your own brain – not only with respect to FIRST – but in life as general. Don’t let it become a product of a third party.

Congratulations on making it all the way to the end of this message (unless you cheated and just scrolled down, in which case you deserve no such congratulations).

Patrick

Posted by Andrew Kostka at 05/14/2001 7:39 PM EST

Student on team #419, Rambots, from B.C. High.

In Reply to: Why letting FIRST know your opinions is a good idea
Posted by Patrick Dingle on 05/14/2001 4:55 PM EST:

Yeah, that’s what I said. I personally don’t think that it should be a petition, but it should be something like a letter of notification. Not necessarily asking for change, but enough to let them know how a lot of us feel.

: This message is in response to “Re: Petition (and why not to sign)” by Patrick Butler.

: I disagree… It is very important for Dean, Woody, and FIRST to hear what we have to say. Without our input, they would never be able to make important changes that ultimately help the organization and have allowed it to grow over the years. Some of the things FIRST does, among others, is have a team forum to get constructive criticism from teams, and they often send out emails to teams asking for input about various things. They read, save, and think about virtually every email they get.

: Dean may have imagination, but he is not God. Any old wise man with a long beard and bald head would tell you that many lesser minds working together can easily surpass one great mind. And we are talking about over 20000 minds.

: You state in your message, “If the game is not a great spectators sport, who cares you learn from building and this year we all learned almost as much from playing (good thing).” Learning is one thing, but that’s not the main goal of FIRST. FIRST is about inspiration and recognition. Having once been a high school student, I would have never considered joining FIRST if it had not been for two things. (a) I was shown a half hour ESPN2 segment about FIRST (i think 96 competition). It was the awesome competitive aspect of the game, along with ESPN’s enthusiastic coverage, that convinced me to at least write my name down on a list of students interested. (b) I then went to the 1999 Philly and UTC competitions. The spectator aspect got me hooked. I’ll admit, I am a product of exactly what FIRST is trying to do. But without the excitement of the game, without a game where the media will want to pick up on it, FIRST would never have found my way into my life.

: Finally, it is extremely important for Dean and Woodie to listen to teams – they know this, and I applaud them for listening carefully in past years. Dean and Woodie are not on teams. They do not see things from the perspective of coaches or students. While they might envision an idea that works flawlessly in their mind, it might have negative effects that only are noticed from a coach perspective. I’m not going to list all the things I noticed about this year’s game, since I have done so numerous times already. My main point here is that everyone should not hesitate to draft petitions, talk to other teams, and contact FIRST about things that they do not like… If FIRST chooses to listen, great. If they do not see things your way, and don’t make changes, then at least they are aware of some problems that do exist.

: Remember, FIRST is not God. We do not have to accept everything that we say as being the right approach. It is important to maintain your own brain – not only with respect to FIRST – but in life as general. Don’t let it become a product of a third party.

: Congratulations on making it all the way to the end of this message (unless you cheated and just scrolled down, in which case you deserve no such congratulations).

: Patrick

Posted by Lora Knepper at 05/14/2001 11:41 PM EST

Other on team #177, Bobcat Robotics - Adoptee, from South Windsor High School and International Fuel Cells.

In Reply to: Why letting FIRST know your opinions is a good idea
Posted by Patrick Dingle on 05/14/2001 4:55 PM EST:

eom

Posted by -Lori at 05/15/2001 12:28 PM EST

Other on team Team Player from FIRST.

In Reply to: Why letting FIRST know your opinions is a good idea
Posted by Patrick Dingle on 05/14/2001 4:55 PM EST:

Patrick,

Thanks for your post on the site. And you were right about most of your issues. I ask for team’s suggestions, comments (good and bad) every year after the season is over. I keep ALL the suggestions that I receive from you (teams) and bring them up at our weekly meetings. We can’t implement all of them in one year, but we try to do as much as we see feasible.
I would not suggest a petition, but a letter, email or phone call (email or letter is better because it’s in writing). FIRST is more open to constructive suggestions than petitions. I assure you that if you send me an email, I will keep it, review it, bring it up at meetings and in some cases, forward it to Dean and Woodie. I sent many messages to them from teams this year! I think next year you will see more competition!

Thanks again…
-Lori- :slight_smile:

Posted by Kyle Fenton at 05/15/2001 7:54 PM EST

Student on team #121, Islanders, from Middletown High School and NUWC.

In Reply to: Re: Why letting FIRST know your opinions is a good idea
Posted by -Lori on 05/15/2001 12:28 PM EST:

Lori,
Your ideas are good and well thought out. However
I started this Petition to avoid all of the clutter of
mail, e-mails, and faxes. When you have 50,000
letters saying a bunch of different things, most
people quickly glance over it, and usually doesn’t
get considered. But all these letters have the
same, purpose to change FIRST in a better way.
The purpose of this Petition is not to contest
anything. Just simply getting a lot of people
interested in two topics, which seemed to be the
biggest problem during this year (Restoring 2v2
and Expanding the Parts lists). When you have a
message that Dean or Woody can read (The
petition), and than see how many people signed it,
and hopping to change Dean and Woody mine,
and might read some of the comments.
Basically, some people like 2v2 some people like
4v0. Some people like the parts list the way it was,
some people want to expand it. This is what a big
community always deals with, but if Dean and
Woody sees this petition, and figures that many
people like the way it was with 2v2. Than maybe he
can come up with a compromise that will satisfy
everyone. This is a way of effective communication
to announce to Woodie or Dean.
And Please don’t let the word “Petition” think that
you are signing something to overthrow the
President of the United States or something like
that. That it is just a good, simple, effective way to
conjure up all of the opinions of FIRST and put
them in a nice list, like an outline, with a main
subject (The Petition), and the supporting details
(the comments). We should make Dean and
Woody’s life simple as possible. If you find and talk
to people of concerning issues of FIRST, it is better
to have one letter with the many people who
support this program

Thank You for listening to my opinion. I hope it
makes a difference.

Posted by Jason Morrella at 05/16/2001 1:56 PM EST

Coach on team #254, Cheesy Poofs, from Bellarmine College Prep & others and NASA Ames/Cypress Semiconductor/Unity Care.

In Reply to: Communicating to FIRST
Posted by Kyle Fenton on 05/15/2001 7:54 PM EST:

Kyle,

What Lori and others from FIRST will tell you is that they (including Dean & Woodie)are & have been aware of the opinions of teams all year.  They have received MANY constructive e-mails and letters over the year, and have already passed this information onto Dean & Woddie.  You can rest assured that Dean & Woodie are fully aware of the team requests about the game and head to head competition.  These opinions have been public knowledge for months now.  Constructive letters to FIRST will always be read and brought up for discussion.  Although I would not sign it and don't think it is neccessary in this situation - I do applaud your effort and ambition regarding your petition - that type of start up motivation will take you far in and after college.

FIRST is already more than aware of how teams feel about those topics, they will hear detailed arguements at the Team Forums, and I can guarantee you Dean & Woodie have already taken these opinions of teams into account while starting to create whatever game shall be thrown at us next year. They may go back to head to head, they may not - but any changes they make in game design will be based on ALL the feedback they have already received and will get at the Team Forums, not as a result of any petiiton.