There are so many things going on at a robotics competition. When the team arrives on Thursday, we have to unpack the trailer, carry everything into our little 10’ x 10’ space that will be our home for the next two days and set everything up. We have to track down inspectors, get the robot weighed, update our software, have our radio configured for field play and stake out a good spot in the bleachers to watch all the action. While all this is going on, 39 other teams are sending representatives to introduce themselves and ask about our bot. It can be a bit overwhelming for a veteran team, so it’s no surprise rookie teams get completely lost in the all the comotion. This is where MegaHurtz really shined this weekend. Despite everything we had to do, our team members stepped up to help a rookie group of students that came to competition with a partially assembled and completely non-functional robot.
Team 7302 the BCPS 21st Century Bearcats from Battle Creek, consisted of four students and two mentors. They meet in a library basement and started this season with nothing more than the desire to be a part of FIRST. When we met them, their robot chassis was not put together correctly and was missing parts. They had not programmed their bot or even knew how and unfortunately, more things were held on their bot with zip ties than anything else. Two of our team members came back to the pits asking what we could do to help them. It was decided that two students and one mentor would take whatever extra parts we could spare and help out. In total, we spent three hours with them on Thursday. On Friday morning, we all met back at our workshop and gathered more supplies and tools to take with us to St. Joe. With our help to fix the chassis and drive system, and two other teams programming and extra parts Team 7302 had a drivable bot ready for competition by lunchtime Friday.
With FIRST, it’s not about winning. While everyone wants to win, it’s the experience that matters. During a day and half of qualifications, you’ll play with and against every other team that is there. One minute the team that just squashed you in one match is by your side helping you to squash someone else. There are no rivalries or grudges. If something happens in a match and your bot goes down, the opposing team is likely the first to come up to you and genuinely ask if you need assistance. They do this not because they beat you, but because they know it could just as easily have been them needing your help. This weekend we finished 26th our of 40 teams. We didn’t get picked for an alliance and we didn’t win any awards. We did however, give a tiny rookie team an experience they’ll never forget. This weekend, everyone embodied the spirit of Gracious Professionalism and represented our community well. I could not be more proud of my team.