Hello, Internet! Cole here. It’s been a while since I wrote about a robotics competition, so I’ve decided to write about last month’s FIRST (that is, the name of the organization) World Championships. This year, we didn’t perform as well in District and Regional Competitions as we did last year; however, since we won Championships last year, we were allowed to attend this year’s festivities as well. This time, I rode with the rest of the team on the bus instead of traveling by plane with Dad.
To start things off, I’d like to explain the nature of this season’s game. Unlike with most sports, each season of robotics presents a unique game; for example, last year’s game, FIRST Stronghold, involved crossing “defenses” (that is, obstacles) and shooting, whereas 2014’s game, Aerial Assist, involved, among other things, shooting giant balls above a steel frame for points. This year’s game required teams to “power a flying machine” by completing various tasks, such as adding “fuel” in the form of hollow yellow-green balls to a boiler, placing large plastic gears on a spoke so the human players could lift them up and place them on the machine, and “preparing for liftoff” by climbing a rope and pressing the button on top. The “best-prepared” alliance for the flight – that is, the alliance with the most points from the above tasks – won the match.
With the game explained, I’ll get this out of the way – our robot, Brie, did not see much success in this competition. Brie wasn’t the worst ‘bot, by any stretch; at the time of the competition, it had a basic shooter, a solid gear delivery system, and an adhesive wheel for climbing the rope. It was not without its issues, however, and ultimately a combination of bad luck and technical failures brought us to second from dead last place in the playoffs. Naturally, the other teams did not select us this year, and so our bid for a winning streak ended.
Though Blue Cheese did not see as much success as it did last season, I actually believe that I enjoyed this season’s World Championships more than the last season’s. I was much more involved with the team this time; I went to the St. Louis City Museum – which is basically a giant playground made from recycled materials – with them, ate dinner with them, and even shared a room with some of the members. In addition, though my role was once again limited – this time by my own foolish decision to not involve myself enough in different branches of the team – I put in a decent amount of effort to improve myself and help the team. I attended three different conferences and took notes on each, stood in the pits for two hours to inform others of the National Advocacy Conference, and interacted with other team members regularly. In the stands, I watched the other Robots compete, clapped and cheered along with my teammates, and watched in amazement the opening and closing ceremonies of the Championship. All in all, it was a great time.
So, this event went well, even if we didn’t win. Next season, I hope that I can help our team reach Worlds again; it’ll be in Detroit this time, and I really want to Discover the D (Detroit’s PR department is q u a l i t y)! Thanks for reading, Internet, and I’ll be seeing ya’!