I suppose the thing you expect me to say about Regionals yesterday is that we are very proud to have won the first place champions trophy. But if FLL has taught me one thing only, it is that the experience is not about the winning. We had so much more fun on competition day this year, and I think it was because we reached and connected to a few other teams. Cheering them on and watching them do well, and having them there to cheer for us (or cheer us up when our robot went astray) made all the difference in the world. It made winning less relevant.
Here were some different WINNING moments BNI experienced:
The feeling when a very young (and very short) rookie team “Not The Droids You Were Looking For” approached us, thanked us for the Blog, and said that they considered us their mentors! We felt amazed and honored, not only that our Blog worked, but that they were actually looking up to us! BNI became their “fan club” and cheered the loudest when they went on to dominate the table with high scores in the 240s.
Watching the table match against the ‘Yo Bots, when right out of the gate, they went for our rat. Strategically, we also went for their rat at the same time. We got each others! All the judges cheered and everyone laughed! I know we didn’t get that extra 15 points, but it was SO WORTH IT.
Connecting with another team, the Robo Eagles. We met last week for a practice match, and checked out each other’s robots. They showed us their very cool hardware to do both the thermometer and the timer mission combined, and we were floored by its complexity. We made an alignment suggestion that they incorporated, and we got to cheer them on while they competed and watch it in action! They were also there with hugs and understanding when our first robot run did not go as planned. One girl said, “It has happened to me. I know just how you feel.”
By the luck of the draw, we were at a table next to a coach whose day job involved extensive use of social media and QR codes. He really “got” our project, and was tweeting about us, and the event all day. At one point, someone saw a tweet about us IN SPANISH. Wow. We generated some real attention! Plus they were also huge Monty Python fans, so we had a great discussion about the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, African AND European. We had a great exchange about ideas on how to carry our project further.
So thanks everyone at the Pittsburgh Regionals! We hope to see you all next year! Go FLL!