When: Saturday from dawn to dusk – 2/10/2018
Weather: It started out bad and got worse–freezing rain was threatened
My Friday evening was cut short. I needed to get to bed so I could be ready to go Saturday morning. What did I do ALL day Saturday? I volunteered/worked at a robotic meet. A team of judges and I, plus “fans” (Yes, robotic teams have fans–some quite loud.), spent the better part of a day helping support and cheer 48 teams through the strenuous but necessary process to allow the “winners” to emerge. (There is not just one winner. Seven teams move on to the super-regional by way of their robots performance and/or team judging results.)
- Robot Inspection: This was the role I “signed up” for on this day. Not being a coach, I am somewhat of a pretender when it comes to inspecting the robots. In previous meets, the inspection takes place. However, in this meet, it was for ALL of the marbles. Also, with some robots never seeing more than one meet before they are completely dissembled, the ancestors of the original robot need to be inspected during each meet. To protect myself from unfairly giving a “Pass” when a “Fail” was the correct response (All robots at this meet passed. The minor offenses likely just required multiple trips to the judging station.), I was able to coerce my cohorts to take a team judging approach. I read from the checklist as my partner verified the particular robot met that requirement. (Because of the various components available, some requirements did not apply to many of the robots.) I checked off the box before reading the next one. Due to the specific components used, I did not complete one of these myself. I kept the “real” inspector on task. I tried to stay in the background enough to allow him to be the authority. When the checklist was done, I gathered the signature from the team before passing on the completed inspection.
- Field Inspection: Field inspection became a “Battlefield Promotion”. This is usually where the backup occurs. And, because it is a little more complex, fewer volunteers seem to favor this area. The event organizer showed my partner and I the tricks to effectively doing the field inspections. While my partner was there, I read off the line items and marked them off when he said they were completed. When he went to the bathroom and didn’t come back, I handled them on my own. I hit the highlights pretty well. Once you know the key points of the field inspection, I enjoyed it more than the regular robot inspection. It was fast!! When you are the inspector, the teams assume you have knowledge. It is much easier to do this with the field rather than robot inspection.
- Referee…who touches the right mouse button once at the beginning of the match: The biggest responsibility I had the rest of the day was pressing the button and starting 18 matches. (I really should have only started 17. One clock starter left early. I was drafted to help. Thus my 18th.) . After the match was done and the teams agreed with their scores, I was responsible for putting the “glyphs” (brown and grey blocks) back into the starting area. The glyphs must be within the taped area and not breaking the 4th plane. (They can’t be stacked 4 high.)
On the personal side:
- I got a t-shirt. They always give you t-shirts when you volunteer. This year, the color was a military green with the necessary sponsor/event information.
- There is always a lounge for the volunteers. Knowing less healthy food would come for lunch and dinner, I picked up a couple of clementines. Once the clementines were peeled, I didn’t bother eating the sections individually. I chucked half of the peeled clementine into my mouth. My body wanted to breathe but neglected to tell my mouth. The clementine went down the wrong pipe. Really, it went nowhere. The juices were a poor imitation for air. I choked and coughed while attempting to assure those also in the break area I was not dying. Words did not come out easily. The cough was arguing to have its life extended. It gradually died. As the cough died, I immediately “hopped back on the horse” and consumed the rest of my clementines.
- I got a meal. Dickies catered. The brisket was excellent.
- We ate at “Meteor Hamburgers” for dinner. They offered powdered sugar or salt on my sweet potato fries. I was advised to go with the salt.