Today my son, Ben, competed in his first Robotics competition. John and I went to the competition. I was thinking that I would go to be supportive, but I did not expect to enjoy myself. I don’t know what I imagined, but the event was exciting and interesting and fun. The robots were so much bigger than I had imagined and they could maneuver much more smoothly. Each robot and team had its own strengths and weaknesses. I was so proud of Ben and his team, the McQuaid IgKnighters (their sports teams are the Knights).
The McQuaid team was a rookie team last year, so they do not have as much experience as most of the other teams. The challenge of the competition was to have the robot shoot soccer balls into a goal. McQuaid’s robot was fast and a great shooter. (I apologize for the quality of the photos. I had trouble with the light and distance.)
After the qualifying round, they were in fourth place, so they were able to choose the two teams who would join them in an alliance. They chose very well and their alliance was strong. The field is divided into three sections. Two alliances (a blue one and a red one) of three teams each take the field, one team from each alliance beginning in each section. When the match begins, the robots begin to move, some acting as offense and some as defense. Ben’s team was great on offense.
The robot maneuvered well and was quick and was a great shooter. Other teams’ robots had different strengths. Some were very aggressive, trying to overturn opponents’ robots, and sometimes succeeding. Some could maneuver over the hurdles between the sections of the field. Some could lift themselves up off the field at the end (for which they received extra points).
Ben claimed he did not really know what he was doing today, since he was so new to the team, but he seemed to pitch right in with the work and fit in with the team. It was great to see him working with his team toward the goal of winning this event.
Everything was going great. The IgKnighter alliance kept winning and winning. They were the top seed going into the finals. In the middle of the final round, something terrible happened. The chain fell off or broke or something and their robot stopped working. The round ended in a tie, so they had to replay. The young men scrambled to fix their robot, but there was no time.
The IgKnighters were sad but not defeated. They picked up their robot and placed it in front of one of the opposing team’s goals, eliminating one of the two opportunities for them to score. The other two teams in the alliance did their best, but without the scoring power of the McQuaid robot, they could not win. The match ended and the McQuaid alliance had lost.
The team did very well to make it to the finals. I am proud because they also won the sportsmanship award. The team members acted so honorably all through the day and deserved this award. They even handled it so well when their robot broke. They never lost their good spirit. I learned a lot today. I knew robotics would be good for Ben, but I had no idea how much fun it would be.