Only one day to go: Tomorrow at this time I’ll be in the AV Room at school with upwards of 30 students and mentors watching the Kick-Off broadcast of the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition. And thus will begin the 45 day odyssey called FIRST.
As I told everyone at the team meeting last night, I am optimistic. We’ve got a relatively young team (13 freshmen, 13 sophomores, 2 juniors, and 5 seniors), but I see enthusiasm, talent, and a cohesiveness that’s refreshing. I hopefully expressed this passion when I said to them that, as it stands now, we’re not going to Atlanta. We’re on the waiting list, which means we have to rely on teams who are registered to decide to drop out (because they can’t afford it, there’s insufficient interest, or their robot just stinks) for us to get to go. HOWEVER, teams that win Manchester will go to Atlanta. The team that wins the Chairman’s Award will go to Atlanta. The team that wins the Engineering Innovation Award will go to Atlanta. I am confident that our team has the talent, the drive, the spirit to be a contender, and that we can WIN a ticket to Atlanta.
The important factor, in my mind, is that we need to keep the fires burning throughout the entire build season. Unfortunately, for the past few years we’d start build season with gusto, and carry the feeling for two weeks, then take a week off for finals, then return excited and active, but somewhere around week five we start tapering off (in attendance and drive). We end up scrambling to finish, usually on the last day or two, and sometimes even "finish" the robot at competition. My goal, I told them, would be to get the robot to the drivers sometime BEFORE Ship Day, so that they can practice, experiement, and yes, break it. If we can get it driven prior to our open house on the February 20th, or even before the BAE Unveiling on the 18th (Ship Day is the 23rd), we’ll be in a position to dominate GSR.
Time will tell, but I’m psyched!