Friday, May 8, 2009

1:52 PM Friday

We arrived at the Wright State University Student Union at 9:00 am for our presentation, technical, and teamwork judging. The entire tournament has been organized with military-like precision. (gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the airforce base that's here?) Our judging sessions were lined up to coordinate with our team alliance partners (other FLL teams) and all three sessions were done by 10:45. We stopped off at Wendy's for a quick bite and then headed back to the Nutter Center to set up for the afternoon robot practice runs.

The pit areas are reserved for team members and coaches only--which is good because it's pretty tight. It's a large space. Half of a gymnasium floor. But when you cram 60 teams with all their stuff there's not a great deal of space left over.

Most of the pits have displays which range from simple project boards to fancy arial signage supported by ballons. Most of the teams have swaps which are little souveniers like buttons. stickers, pamphlets, etc. to trade with other teams. Some teams even have a candy bowls on their tables. One team from Hawaii practically has a souvenier shop set up at their table complete with real flowers for your hair and macadamia nuts. (I've visited their table a couple times--macadamia oh yeah!)

Our team has red and blue silicone wrist bands with got robot? on one side and FIRST LEGO League on the other. We brought 600 hundred and we've gone through most of 'em.

The 60 teams are divided into what are called pods with six teams and one practice table per pod. We have a couple really good teams in our pod. One worth noting are the Cougars from OH. They have a 400pt scoring robot and did just that during one of the practice rounds. They have an incredible machine which is fun to watch--very elegant and efficient in design and function. I've been talking to their coach, Jamie, who has the heart of a teacher and has been very generous to show me and Kristen their sequence program they use to call up programs on their robot. Very advanced.

This tournament is running live practice rounds on THE competition tables to get the teams ready for tomorrow. Our first run was at 1:30 and had a decent run with a score of 290. Our second run didn't go as well and we scored a 120. Ouch. Nonetheless, at the end of the day we were 6th overall for the practice runs. I've noticed when the humidity is high our robot doesn't run as well--and it isn't. I heard other coaches complaining as well although they hadn't made the connection. Hopefully, the humidity will be lower tomorrow. If it is I would expect our scores to be higher--however I would guess everyone elses will be too.

At 4:30 the teams packed up the robots and laptops and loaded out for the day. At 5:00 we all packed the stands for the opening ceremony which included an Airforce color guard which was a nice touch. The rest of the ceremony was somewhat typical with the exception of a 60 team group photo at the end. After that we all headed to the student union for the "Engineering Extravaganza" and pasta dinner which ran until 8:30 PM.

It's been a long day with lots to do and see. Tomorrow is the robot competition. We're leaving the hotel early to arrive at the pit at 8:00 am. Our first table run is at 9:05.

Time for bed.

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