Today began very bright and early for our core group of scouts. A 5:30 wake up call followed by bagels and a speedy departure got us to the stadium by 6:30am. We lined up with our friends 1114, 2056, 610, and 188…we found it odd that the majority of teams that arrived by 6:30 were Canadian.
The pits and stands opened at 7:15 and with a rush of enthusiasm we got the first look at our field and sized up the best locations for scouting. We played in the pit fields today, a smaller area with bleachers set up on both sides of the playing field. We were surrounded by pits and the hustle and bustle of the crowds of people and robots kept things pretty busy. There were lots of pit announcements that added to the background noise, and blended in with the music that played all day long. For the uninitiated in our group (some of the parents) it must have been a shock to the system!
Robots got inspected and showed up for practice matches for the morning. Round robin play started in the afternoon. We did very well putting up lots of tubes, but did not have the opportunity to see the minibot in action. At one point early on in the day we were in 3rd place (briefly). We ended the day in 40th or so. It is impressive to see the depth of talent in our division, and to know that there are three other equally talented groups competing on the other fields all at the same time.
Our scouting team worked diligently throughout the day filling in sheets to document the scores and strengths of each team. Data is compiled and kept in a spreadsheet and database to be used later in scouting meetings to determine which teams we would work best with.
Tomorrow is another full day of round robin play, so rankings will continue to fluctuate depending on performances.
During the day we participated in the seminars presented by FIRST teams and other experts in a variety of fields. It is a great opportunity to learn from others and network with teams from afar.
We also had the opportunity to wander through the FTC and FLL areas to see their world festival. There are also many sponsor booths to check out, and many freebies to pick up. It is great to see the range of careers and fields that use robotics, math and science. There’s engineering, but that’s sometimes just the beginning!
Fields and pits closed at 8pm, and we split off into smaller groups to find dinner. It is tricky to arrange a dinner for 46 particularly when there are 300 teams in competition for the same restaurants. Each group had their own dinner time adventures, from discussions of physics, to fits of giggles, from having to special order a vegetarian salad, to getting lots and lots of delicious desserts. Mealtime is a great chance to bond as a team and that helps the big purple family stick together through the stress of competition. We learned today over dinner that Sam is not a fighter, he’s more of a suer (or..sewer?).
Friday evening we are looking forward to a private concert for all of us involved in FIRST by will.i.am and his “special guests”. We’re also looking forward to meeting Morgan Freeman, and seeing Dean and Woodie again. It will be a very exciting day for sure.