Friday, March 10, 2006

FIRST Veterans Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ day 2

Friday March 10 2006. Veterans Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ

We lost our first games. Invariably, the balls would stick in our new ball holding tube or some other modification that we made would not work quite right. By noon we felt we really did not have a chance to perform well, Finally the last “fixit” worked and we won the rest of our matches. By the end of the day we are ranked 16th and there will be two more games Saturday morning. We may wind up playing in the quarter final matches Saturday afternoon. We’ll see.

A reporter from the Arizona Republic spent a lot of time with us. It’s exciting to see people “get it”.

This is not a robot contest. This is a convention of the most excited kids who have worked very hard to meet impossible deadlines and are now going public for the world to see what they have done. These are the people who will invent, discover, build and solve. While the media (well, I guess it’s all of us) has been obsessed with the lives and accomplishments of our sports and entertainment we haven’t noticed that we are losing our pool of engineers, scientists, researchers and innovators who have given us the standard of living that we take for granted.

Anyway, Connie the reporter even got to go into the judges room while our kids gave their presentation for the Chairman’s Award. They usually only allow the three student presenters and the judges in the room. The kids had a few minutes to make a presentation on how our team has affected our community. After all the publicity and all the presentations we have given and all the work the kids have done in neighborhood schools, the kids have a strong case on why we should be a model for other schools. Inagine: Carl Hayden High School that was labled “underperforming” just two years ago being considered as a “best practice”! The kids have accomplished a lot, but more importantly, their attitudes have changed. We will see if we won at Saturday’s award ceremony.

Annalisa, our president, has been fantastic. She along with Luis and Daniel, were our Chairman’s Award presenters. She also arraigned our lunches. Her parents arrive about 11 am and we have a tailgate party in the parking lot. The best part about it is that we also have included our good friends from Mexico’s team and our new friends from Chinle, AZ and Sierra Vista, AZ. At the end of this school year, Arizona State university is getting a first rate Chief Executive. Annalisa has earned scholarships that will pay for her tuition and her room and board thanks to the Maecenas Fund.

I’m told that the competition was webcast, but not broadcast on the NASA TV channel, but Saturday it will be on TV. If you watch, look for team 842. Our strategy is to shoot for the center goal in the first ten second autonomous period and then play defense to minimize our opponents score. We should be the “linebacker” on the field. At the end of the game we should be atop the ramp for bonus points.

Also watch for the cheerleaders. We had the full squad there Friday and a lot of them will return for Saturday. They were awesome. Usually they attend event to cheer for a sports team. With us, they are on the team.

It’s 3 am Arizona time and it’s raining. We haven’t had rain in months. It’s been the longest dry spell since records have been kept. The dry spell is over. That’s a good sign.

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