Monday, July 20, 2009


It's been a couple months since our trip to Ohio to the U.S. Open and it's felt good to decompress and relax a little after an intense rookie year. My wife and I have run in to the our team members at church and 4-H events over the summer. They've grown taller. Watching our kids see their team mates has been fun--it's like a family reunion with all the chatter and they just pickup where ever they left off the last time.

I wonder if there's a 12 step program for FLL? It's contagious. Once you catch it you can never really shake it. Oh, you can put it out of your mind for a little while but soon it creeps back from the recesses of your mind to the forefront--next thing you know you're thinking tactics and training again.

But now there are tremors. Small, almost imperceptible little quivers of activity in the FLL community that will build with frequency and intensity until the FLL competitions.

About every other week I'll take a glance at the FLL forums to see if there are any recent posts. Last seasons comments have been archived and the forum boards have been swept clean making room for fresh comments about this year's challenge by a few newbie coaches trying to get an early start and the die-hard old timers that live FLL 24/7/365. As September approaches I've noticed the activity on the board is beginning to show more activity--not much--but a little. I've also noticed some groundwork activity from a few coaches I know who are sizing up potential sponsors.

I'm thinking more about FLL again too. I spotted a bargain on Ebay and bought some parts that will be handy for competition. I've also started to think a lot about the "Smart Moves" field mat, which FIRST placed on the cover of the new coaches manual just to tease and torture us, and how to go about preparing the team for more sensor reliant navigation.

It's a healthy obsession--right?