Posted by: bwoof | March 15, 2016

More robots

IMG_2419I’ve been to some incredible varsity and professional level events in the past, but nothing prepared me for Saturday’s First Robotics Greater Toronto Regional Event, STRONGHOLD game 2016

Down to the last climb-over-the-ramparts, shoot-the-boulder, and scale-the-castle-walls, there was excitement and anticipation about how the championship would end. While my team @frc2056 and its alliance (including a team from Texas) officially took ‘victor’ status, there were countless winners in my opinion.

It’s amazing what the robots can do, all because of what teens can do. Seriously…it’s serious business all this coding and programming and building. These teens are unstoppable and the TEAM feel is incredible.

The STRONGHOLD playing field

The STRONGHOLD playing field

I observed the following:

SCOUTS – at least 6 students were full-time watching the games and tracking all the other robots’ strengths (both offensive and defensive strategies). Their capacity to re

PIT CREW – these are the behind-the-scenes builders, fixers, manufacturers who like to tinker and muck about with hard stuff like screwdrivers, fasteners and metal.

PROGRAMMERS – these are the ones who think…think…think…and then imagineer how to communicate with the robot and make it perfectly clear how the robot will complete tasks

DRIVER (and team) – at some point in the day the robot needs to be controlled by skilled drivers.  It’s at this point that one realizes how valuable video game and joystick skills can be.

HANDLERS – the robot, almost a personality in itself, needs to be babied, looked after, handled carefully. So, that’s why there’s a cart to transport it, and at least three people who carefully take it off the cart and gently place it on the field.

PARENTS AND SPECTATORS – what can I say except this part of the team is always there to encourage, support, drive, provide food, affirm, and cheer.

MENTORS AND TEACHERS – there is a group of people who commit countless hours of focussed time to build up the students’ skills and confidence. While they don’t participate in the actual games, they are always there, close by, to offer next steps, suggestions, and support. The year-after-year return of these mentors, often former team members,  speaks to the incredible investment that this team makes in the lives of many.

OTHERS – Field assistants, MCs, Referees, Tech Crew, etc all contribute so much. I had no idea that so many people are there to make a competition happen.

Grateful for:

  • “Team” and what it contributes to our overall health, wellness, and sense of belonging. If nothing else, being connected to others makes a difference.
  • Ottawa – a great city which symbolizes much of what makes Canada a country to be proud of
  • March Break – nothing more to add here…just that I’m very happy to be an educator, not for the breaks alone but for the chance to love my work and the people for whom we work.

Curious about:

  • The US elections and the ‘trumpmania’ that defies any logical explanation (from my perspective, of course)
  • What might be in store for PM Justin and the Liberals a year from now? What will Canada be known for? Proud of? Wishing for?   Preston Manning seems to think things not looking good, if I can infer correctly from what he wrote this weekend about the ‘Best Prime Minister the States has ever had’.




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