The Girls of Steel are in the stands during the awards ceremonies at the Buckeye regional, and we’re waiting to see if our team will make it to the Championships. It has been a long build season; we spent a lot of time building, programming and wiring our robot, preparing it for competition. We wrote essays for awards, created information packets, and participated in outreach events. We are silent as the announcer describes the winning team with an overview of what it has accomplished … 22 different schools … an internship program … Chinese summer camps — it has to be us. Then he announced the winner – it IS our team. We scream in joy! We’re going to the FIRST Robotics Championships in St. Louis!
Day One: April 23, 2014
Our team arrives in a bus at 4pm, just in time to start loading in our pit. After the pit is set up, the team watches the practice matches begin. Our robot is put together and tested to make sure that it works. We watch as our robot goes through its practice match. It passes through inspection – great job Pit Crew! Afterwards, we all head over to a restaurant and have a team dinner. We take an entire floor! As we walk through the streets in St. Louis, all we can see are teams wearing their uniforms, as FIRST takes over St. Louis.
Day Two: April 24, 2014
Day Two of competition begins and the Qualification Matches begins! Girls of Steel are in the Galileo Division at the FRC Championships. There are four divisions: Newton, Archimedes, Galileo and Curie. Curie has a curse on it that FIRST likes to call “The Curie Curse.” No alliance from the Curie Division has ever won the FIRST Championships in all of the 25 years that FIRST has been around.
The game for this year is called Aerial Assist. Alliances of 3 robots have to pass a 2 ft diameter yoga ball down the field to get points. Each pass, called an assist, is worth 10 points. There are goals at the ends of the field; there is a high goal and a low goal. There is also a truss in the center. If a ball is thrown over the truss, it is ten points, and it a robot can catch the ball, that is another ten points.
It’s a tradition at FIRST that every team has a pin to give out. Many people like to collect as many pins as they can, wearing them on their shirts or collecting them in bags. I like to collect other things, such as necklaces and bracelets. I went through the entire pits to gather bracelets; I got about 25 of them.
In the evening our team gets ready for Roboprom. Team 339 Eagle Robotics hosts a prom annually for FIRST students because some students miss their prom while attending Champs. It’s an awesome event with dancing, singing, and games.
Day Three: April 25, 2014
The day starts off with Opening Ceremonies, and founder Dean Kamen gives his annual speech. He also invited other guests, who have inspiring stories about achieving success through hard work. He also announces that the next year’s FIRST Championships will expand, allowing 200 more FIRST teams to compete in the competition!
As the matches begin, scouting begins. Our team watches how robots perform. Our robot is great at assisting, so we work with teams to form a strategy with all of our robots. Some have great shooters, some robots can catch, and some assist just like ours. We know which team is good at what because we scout and gather this data.
During lunch, Dean’s List award winners are also announced. The Dean’s List is a prestigious award given to ten winners from a large pool of kids that support their team and community. Will.I.Am and Dean Kamen both give speeches at this ceremony, as well as new FIRST supporter, Lynn Tilton. Last year, we had a winner on our team. This year we have another winner on our team! Congratulations!
Day Four: April 26, 2014
It’s the last day of competition. Elimination matches take place for most of the day. Unfortunately, our team is not picked to be in the elimination, but we get to watch some great teams battle it out.
The final matches are played on the Einstein Field. During the finals, Will.I.Am performs his hit, “Hall of Fame”, which is remixed to feature FIRST. It’s awesome! The final two alliances go head to head; Newton versus Curie. Despite the curse, Curie – Teams 254, 2848, and 469 – overcome their tough competition and wins! The Curie Curse is broken! Congratulations!
Want to come next year? Come to the FIRST Championships, from April 22-25, 2015 in St. Louis!