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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

Once upon a time, in the land of FIRST Robotics, Team 3313 was excited to have their "FIRST" day at the 10,000 Lakes Regional. Bydlon played two Rock Band songs while the rest of the team was waiting for him in the hall. But he Gold Starred "Fix You" by Coldplay--so it was okay. Everyone was up and ready to go on time, which is a feat in and of itself! Despite encountering a bit of traffic, the team still managed to arrive at the arena half an hour early. The excitement filled the lobby where they were waiting, so much so that some team members had to run around outside to calm down.

The doors finally opened and the mob of Robotics loving students migrated toward the doors. The team immediately got to work settling into their pit, also known as their new home for the next few days. The tent was set up; the banner was hung; everything was in its place--and then the work began. A group of students got to work replacing the wheels which turned into an all morning project. They worked diligently and did a spectacular job! Some problems encountered included: the bearings for the omni wheels, the sprockets for the plaction wheels were too big, sprockets were different sizes, the chain sizes needed to be changed, and many others. However, with the help of Matt and Kevin, Ryan's dad, the team conquered these challenges and got the robot driving with its fancy new wheels. 

Unfortunately because of the wheel situation, the team had to skip its first scheduled practice match of the day. The team thought that they were ready for the second one, but they were not. No one downloaded the code to the cRio so the robot didn't move. This was fixed right after the match, and the next two practice rounds went well! The team even scored the winning basket in one of the matches! Overall, the team fixed and learned a lot throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Jenna, Rachel, and Megan walked around and talked to other teams. The goal was to get to know more about the teams that we are competing with. They asked important questions such as, "What basket levels can your robot hit?" They also tried to make the conversations more light-hearted and memorable by throwing in a few random questions such as, "What is your opinion of the band, Queen?"

The day ended with the team receiving their match schedule for Friday and Saturday. The team is competing in the second match! This is exciting because a lot of the teams tend to stick around after the opening ceremonies to watch a couple matches. We will post the match schedule list in a separate post after this one. Basically, the team competes A LOT tomorrow afternoon. Receiving the match schedule was an exciting moment because the qualifying matches determine whether we make it into the elimination rounds on Saturday afternoon. 

After working hard all day, fixing, sweating, and practicing, the team went to the Mall of America to eat and ride some rides. Another FIRST Robotics team arranged for every team to receive 25 mystery tickets. Jenna and Jordan were the lucky winners of the mystery tickets. They had 100 points on their tickets. Most people on the team went on numerous rides. The doozy was Brain Surge though. Hard to describe but basically, a bunch of people did not feel great afterwards. The evening ended with Rock Band and researching. 

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY! Qualifying matches start, it's for real now. 

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