Posted on November 04, 2018 by Zach Z.
It was an event full of thrilling competition, lively team energy, and engaging sportsmanship. The Western Michigan Robotics Invitational (WMRI) exposed me to a completely different atmosphere of what robotics competitions are like compared to what I initially thought. I have participated in many other STEM competitions, and nothing compares to the lively nature of First Robotics.
The music and team spirit were far more engaging than any other event I have been to. All of this makes everyone eager to show their spirit and it brings the team much closer together. Within the first fifteen minutes of arriving, I was already meeting new people from other teams and working on changes to our robot. I was surprised at how many things there were to do. All the people I met at WMRI were all very nice to talk to especially since we share an interest in science and engineering. I also found it very exciting and surprising to be in the pit with tools in hand working on our robot considering it was only my first competition.
Following a loss in our first match, it was very cool to see our team scramble back to the pit to determine what went wrong. After only a couple of minutes, the students on the team were able to diagnose the issues and figure out what we needed to do to fix them. Leading into our second match, I was excited to see what would become of our quick work. Everything was much improved after the first match, leading us to the first seed after the qualifying rounds.
During the tournament rounds, teams often had very little time to prepare for their next match, which meant trouble for other teams’ robots that were having issues. There were a couple of teams throughout these rounds that were not ready for their match time, however, all the other teams waited patiently and did not become frustrated over the delays. In fact, some teams, including Stryke Force, would often help their competitors troubleshoot if they needed it. This really showed me the great community and sportsmanship in First Robotics and how different it is from many other competitions. To top off this great experience, we were able to earn a first-place finish with the help of our alliance members.