This week’s Throwback goes (not too far) back to this past weekend for Battle o’Baltimore! I (Leslie), our Community Success Advisor, volunteered at MDFIRST Robotics. This is an off-season competition held this past weekend. I was in the Safety Glasses Position. At EdCo, the best way to help robotics teams with their fundraising is to understand who they are and what they need. Working at this event allowed me to learn more about them.
I arrived bright and early at 7:30 am. I saw a bunch of teams unloading their robots into the sports center at McDonogh School. After a brief training and some free donuts (yum!), I set up camp right next to the field pit opening. From here I could keep a close eye on everyone who entered and exited. My job was to make sure that they were wearing their safety glasses.
This was the first robotics competition event that I ever attended, so I was really excited to see the robots in action. From 9am to noon was a series of qualifying matches, to determine rankings. Teams battled it out in a stratified tournament to see who would have first pick at alliances later on. After a brief lunch, the knock-out matches began!
After some technical delays, numerous group-wide dance numbers (did anyone else forget that Cotton-Eyed Joe was a thing?), and a lot of team spirit, the Space RAIDers from Atholton High school won first place!
I spend a lot of my day interacting with FIRST teams on the phone or online, but not as much in person. This event was a great opportunity for me to connect with the FIRST community. I felt like I helped pull off yet another successful competition. I watched teams on alliances play with and against each other. In doing so, I began to understand how the students controlled their robots on the field. I witnessed how much thought is put into mending a robot. I learned so much that day, and cannot wait to help FIRST teams fund their way through the rest of the season!