FRC Kick-Off 2015

Arriving at the Kick-Off

Yesterday finally came, and just over 30 members of our team piled onto buses to make their way over to TCC’s SouthEast Campus, where we sat in anticipation for a long 30 minutes before finally finding out that the 2015 FRC game is RECYCLE RUSH!

Be Still My Beating Heart

The whole experience was new for me. As a patchy member of the team my first two years, I didn’t manage to make it to the last two years’ kick-offs. The kick-off was an amazing experience. It was filled with fun little things such as jokes about the likelihood of a ‘water game’, Dr. Scheer’s uncontained excitement, and the corn dogs that the new RoboRio is capable of outputting (as long as you’re inputting an HDMI signal).


Anyway, the kick-off culminated with the revealing of the password to the game manuals for Recycle Rush (aptly, the password is R3C3Cl3RU$H2015) and the distribution of the KoPs (Kits of Parts). While a few members of the team went to pick up the KoP, Kyle, Zach, Antonio, and I stood around borrowing TCC’s free WiFi so that we could download the manual. We spent the entire bus ride (which included backtracking to TCC after we realized we’d left Mr. Depta behind) reading different sections of the manual out loud, arguing with each other, and strategizing.

Leaving the Kick-Off

When we finally returned to Nolan (which took a while, though we managed to find Mr. Depta pretty quickly), we headed straight for the commons, where we found Dr. Scheer already handing out copies of the game manual. From there on, things went as practiced. Everyone read the manual, and we proceeded to have a rules discussion. After everyone seemed satisfied, we began the time honored ritual entitled “when Dr. Scheer starts asking questions, and everyone’s minds get blown”. As usual, Dr. Scheer managed to notice various un-asked questions, ask them, and proceed to explain things to the group we hadn’t even thought about. He’s pretty awesome that way.

Our Questioning Stage

Before we moved on in the planning stages, we took a break to enjoy some barbeque. A few months ago, Dr. Scheer challenged us to get 45 people signed up on STIMS. He said that if we did, he’d treat us all to barbeque on the day of the kick-off. Well, we did get 45 people signed up, and we sure had a lot of barbeque (though I seemed to be the only one eating the coleslaw…), and Dr. Scheer got us cake too.

Going through the KoP

After the barbeque, we moved on to strategy and robot function (a distinction we failed to make until Dr. Scheer pointed it out (thank goodness he did)). As a group, we came up with a list of all of the different things we wanted the robot to be able to do. Then, we split up into smaller groups and prioritized them. We gathered back together so that each group could present their prioritized list and argue for it. After each group had finished presenting, we had a short break while Leadership Team discussed and finalized a list of robot functions.

More Planning

After leadership team had finished, we gather once again as Dr. Scheer presented the Leadership Team’s prioritized list. This is the list that we will design our robot from over the next week. While Dr. Scheer talked, I typed, and we projected the list on the wall so that the group’s could reference it as they began designing. The last hour of our time yesterday was spent creating possible designs and discussing them.

I forgot to mention earlier in the chronology, but throughout all of this, our team helped out Team 4045, a veteran team that this year is composed entirely of rookies. Shout-Out to Kevin, Raphael, Nick, and Hudson for giving them a hand assembling their chassis! Thanks for coming by 4045!

All in all, yesterday was a wonderful success. The team was excited, engaged, and on top of their game. We pulled off a great first planning session, and we’re ready to continue the push on Monday.