Finally back at this.
Evanston, you have been busy!
For me, Coach Mom, we basically started a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team spontaneously after finding out that our high school was going fully VEX this year.
I found myself with a handful of students really, really wanting to continue with FIRST, but who had aged out of FIRST LEGO League.
So, we jumped.
That was September 2017.
I am finally coming up for air.
We went to every meet and got our "gears rearranged" at nearly every single one, but we persisted, developed positive ways of being humbled, perpetually.
Did I mention humility is a tremendous benefit of trying to do something as audacious as start your own robotics team?
Our humble pie team kept at it and eventually we finished 21 of 24 teams. We were the only team to have gone to all the meets that finished that low. We had no illusions going into the Highland Park Qualifier... it would take a miracle for us to continue on to State.
Did I ever mention that in FIRST, miracles do happen?
Our team, unfazed by the gauntlet of meets, continued to build, learn, grow, improve. They did it because they wanted to simply do better than they had done before. Each time they improved, the robot improved, they saw the changes and the cause/effects were obvious. The learning was getting intense, frustrating, and sometimes surprisingly simple solutions made all the difference. This is learning in 3D. I was always excited for them, encouraging, there in the thick and thin.
Then something magical happened at that Qualifier.
The team lost the first two rounds against some good teams, one loss was by only a point. Then the next 3 rounds were all wins. The team was on fire. This was the first time all season they really felt like it had paid off. The team was ecstatic just to have some wins after a long, hard fought season of being humbled. And then the Alliance Round picks began. I, being a rookie Coach, had no idea what this all meant, but we sat and watched it unfold and yes, I let out an ear piercing scream when the team was picked 10th seed of 12 slots.
That Alliance of three teams ended up being incredibly magical. Our team and our robot rallied, performing consistently and they won it! And with that win, came the invitation to State Champs.
We will never forget that day!