Clark, Elinor, and even Faith have been involved to varying degrees for several years and Clark was so fortunate to be a part of the very first Utah championship FIRST Lego League team that went to the World competition in St. Louis three years ago.
Those boys have grown up a few years and were ready to take on the high school level competition of building much bigger robots and competing in a game that changes every year. This year it was called "Aerial Assist". Here's the playing field.
The top 8 teams had a representative come out onto the field for what was basically a draft. Starting with the top team they chose their alliances for the final rounds. There was a lot of politicking back in the pits and a lot of statistical calculating to figure out what your best alliance would be and if those teams want to be with you.
Finally our team was situated and it was onto the quarterfinals. Each round was best 2 out of 3 in 2 1/2 minute rounds. We won and it was onto the semifinal. Unfortunately our chances didn't look good as we were up against an alliance consisting of the two top ranked teams, plus one other. We were cheering like crazy. I cannot remember any sporting event ever where I got that excited.
Unbelievably, we won the semifinal match and were headed to the finals!
Well, we didn't win the finals. That wasn't to be our ticket to St. Louis for the FRC World Championship in April. But that was okay because we thought we had a pretty good chance to win a very prestigious award called the Chairman's Award for the team that best embodies the values of FIRST. Our team had done a lot of volunteer work in the community to foster interest in engineering and STEM related fields.
But then just before that award was given out our team won one named "Engineering Inspiration". Oh, well. No St. Louis. At least we won something.
But then to our surprise our team leader, Adrianne, informed us that not only did this award include an invite to St. Louis, but it paid our team's very pricey registration fee as well. This award might not have been as prestigious as the Chairman's Award, but this was the only one with a grant attached to it. It was like the Chairman's Award with teeth!
We were quite thrilled with the day and the season, but it was such a celebration when we all realized what the award meant.
There was a team ice cream party that evening so the revelry could continue. I think Clark just liked the safety goggles too much to let them go.
It was a magical, fun, exciting day. What great memories for Clark and for our whole family to be there cheering. I've mentioned before how our kids are always members of chronically losing athletic teams. It has become a family joke. I won't feel too bad about that, because they seem to end up on very winning robotics teams. I'll take it!