Friday, April 28, 2006

FIRST Nationals 2006 Friday

We gulp down a cheap breakfast and go to the Georgia Dome as soon as it opens to get good seats and to make sure the robot’s batteries charged during the night. Opening ceremonies conclude and the games begin.

We won our first match! Four more to go today and two on Saturday morning.

All the while, thousands of people are wandering around the pit areas and the kids are handing out buttons and smiles and conversing with everyone. There are kids here from all around the U.S. and many from Canada, Israel, Brazil, France… It’s a real education. The Falcons are meeting a lot of new friends.

One lady, Anita, who we knew from email messages, came by to see us. What a treat. She has her own video production company and wanted to meet all the kids and see what FIRST was all about. I think she had a great time. We enjoyed her company.

Well, one of Anita’s clients is the Hooter’s restaurant chain. (See the Wired article or the Reader’s Digest Article for the connection). She and her husband treated all of us to dinner. She even had Cristian and Lorenzo sign their magazine article and it may soon be on the wall of the Las Vegas Hooter’s. Lorenzo has finally received his wish and we have met a new friend!

Anyway, we lost our second game 75 to 72 and the kids were a little disappointed, but then again, we really didn’t think our robot would do real well at the national level. We came to win the Chairman’s Award.

We tied the third gam3 and won the last two of the day. We have a 3-1-1 record and are currently ranked 17 out of 86. We are doing very well indeed.

Annalisa, Luis and Daniel went to the interview room for their Chairman’s presentation and interview. They feel they did very well. We’ll see tomorrow.

This has been the year of the new kids. They are really “hauling their weight”. Jorge has become the tool man. He knows where everything is and keeps the pit area ship shape. He is always lending tools to other teams (“Gracious Professionalism”) and he always gets them back. He’s a godsend.

Our mentor Karen and senior Luis are in charge of scouting all the other robot teams. Five other girls on our team sit in the stands compiling reports on every match. How any points each robot scores in autonomous mode, how effective they are on defense, etc. They Have been very diligent and their “intelligence” is making a difference. I think that is why we have been doing so well as the games go on. We know how the opposition will act. We have never been so organized!

Fredi is posting pictures and they can be found at:

Tomorrow morning we play our last two seeding games and then we will find out if we are in the division quarter finals. We know we have some tough opposition in the morning, but we are contenders.

Late in the afternoon the final and most prestigious award will be presented. We are contenders for that one too.

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