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).