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Pune Regionals - extremely disappointing!

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  • Pune Regionals - extremely disappointing!

    Everything that could possibly go wrong , went wrong at the Pune regionals… an event that I waited for and worked very hard towards, left me extremely disappointed!
    First, when we arrived at the appointed time, there was NO REGISTRATION DESK!! It was set up late.. not expected at an event like the FLL.
    Next, after we entered we were left waiting. Reason, the scorers needed to understand what they had to do!! The scorer even expressed to us that this was the first time he had seen the FLL table and had no clue as to what was expected of him!! Little wonder we suffered injustice..
    We were assigned tables B and C for practice. We were assured that we would have our final round on these tables. We worked extremely diligently and were getting all our launch positions absolutely right.. last minute, we were assigned to Table A.. no amount of explaining helped.. there was no one to listen and no one who cared! The scorers had no idea when to penalize and where to grant points.
    The neighboring table got the airplane with their elbow! Proof was provided in the form of videos that parents were taking.. yet, there was no response from the authorities. Next, we were wrongly penalized and had to again provide videos as proof.. the scorer and his boss did not even apologise for wrong penalties! We did not even sign our score cards!! We lost valuable time when the scorer kept talking, and requested a re-run. We were promised a thorough review.
    The FLL is based on Core Values.. I am very sad to say that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE from your team displayed any of those values. The least that the India Stem foundation head could have done is gotten back to us or our coach (about a re-run), as he had promised.
    Overall, an extremely sad experience for all of us who worked very hard and were so excited about our first FLL!

  • #2
    Re: Pune Regionals - extremely disappointing!

    I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. I think perhaps your expectations for the event may have been set improperly. The focus of FLL isn't really the table runs or points or awards, it's about the kids learning new things in STEM.

    I have been coaching for 10 years and what you described is pretty much what we all experience. FLL tournaments are full of people who volunteer their time because they love robotics, teaching, kids, whatever. None of them get paid or receive anything more than lunch for all their hard work. A lot of the time refs on the table are taught the day before or the day of. Now with that said it has never really bothered us if a score is off because the table runs are not what the programs about. The kids have talked with the refs before when they believed they were scored wrong but if they still disagreed my team lets it go. FLL is suppose to be about the kids sharing what they learned and being praised for it. It's a positive experience with STEM. When my team goes into those judging rooms and I see them start gushing to the judges about all the stuff they learned, that's when I care. That is 100% what FLL is about.

    As far as going from tables A to B and C this is exactly what is suppose to happen. The idea behind the robot is about learning new concepts to make the robot smart or to create something new or different that someone looks at and goes "WOW Cool!". This was your first year so a odometry based robot is pretty standard (it's a big learning curve!) but it will never be robust enough to work every time, everywhere which a good robot should. Next year look into adding sensors to your robot so it no longer matters if the field is 1/2 an inch off. When you take it to this level you are getting your team one step closer to real world robotics and engineering. In the real world you will always have environmental variables to work around.

    Now I have to be blunt. I know you said that you saw no FLL core values displayed but it seems like your team may also have been contributing to that. I see a serious lack of the following:

    * We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
    * What we discover is more important than what we win.
    * We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.

    I understand you are upset but these things should be your number 1 priority. From what you talked about with the plane and the table next to you, I don't see these things being displayed. I think that if your team focuses more on these core values next year you will have a much better tournament experience.
    Coaching the Flamingos since 2004!
    Team #79 - The Blue Cheesy Flamingos
    https://www.facebook.com/KalamazooFLL
    http://www.KalamazooRobotics.org

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    • #3
      Re: Pune Regionals - extremely disappointing!

      Many airplanes at our Qualifiers were falling off, not velcroed right or the plane wasn't set on the string right, but this was our third year so we expected the judges to make tons of mistakes. I have learned that these judges are mostly volunteers and the kids will know more about the field and robots than they do. The kids need to learn how to graciously defend their scores and how to graciously make sure they get the points they earned. Last year we learned that because the judges didn't give them credit for over 200 points, because the kids didn't know how to read the scoresheet they were signing. After that, we always practice using the official scoresheet, we even practice filling it out all wrong and have them learn how to correct it. We also have a copy of what their programs will score on their attachment holder box/program list.

      If your kids talk with them calmly but with well-informed conviction without adult interference, our judges have been very helpful in giving the kids the benefit of the doubt. I make a point to tell parents and assistant coaches not to interfere, let the kids defend themselves and learn how to talk respectfully about mistakes. This year the kids did so much better with the scoring issues and got first place for points at the Qualifier (but a lot less points than I see from online teams, which is fine, they're learning a lot).
      Last edited by RoboticsFun; 02-04-2014, 03:18 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Pune Regionals - extremely disappointing!

        Originally posted by eshaan View Post
        Everything that could possibly go wrong , went wrong at the Pune regionals… an event that I waited for and worked very hard towards, left me extremely disappointed!
        First, when we arrived at the appointed time, there was NO REGISTRATION DESK!! It was set up late.. not expected at an event like the FLL.
        Next, after we entered we were left waiting. Reason, the scorers needed to understand what they had to do!! The scorer even expressed to us that this was the first time he had seen the FLL table and had no clue as to what was expected of him!! Little wonder we suffered injustice..
        We were assigned tables B and C for practice. We were assured that we would have our final round on these tables. We worked extremely diligently and were getting all our launch positions absolutely right.. last minute, we were assigned to Table A.. no amount of explaining helped.. there was no one to listen and no one who cared! The scorers had no idea when to penalize and where to grant points.
        The neighboring table got the airplane with their elbow! Proof was provided in the form of videos that parents were taking.. yet, there was no response from the authorities. Next, we were wrongly penalized and had to again provide videos as proof.. the scorer and his boss did not even apologise for wrong penalties! We did not even sign our score cards!! We lost valuable time when the scorer kept talking, and requested a re-run. We were promised a thorough review.
        The FLL is based on Core Values.. I am very sad to say that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE from your team displayed any of those values. The least that the India Stem foundation head could have done is gotten back to us or our coach (about a re-run), as he had promised.
        Overall, an extremely sad experience for all of us who worked very hard and were so excited about our first FLL!
        I totally agree with Replies #2, and #3 above. A few additional thoughts:
        - In the US, teams are generally (maybe never?) allowed to practice on the actual competition tables. There are separate tables for practice. This helps ensure that teams are not tweaking their robots to work in only a specific set of circumstances.
        - Referees are not allowed to use video replay, regardless of who provides it.
        - Teams should not care how many points another teams scores.

        FLL is not a contest to build the highest scoring robot. It is a learning activity; the robots are just a gimmick to get the teams interested.
        Last edited by Tom Mosher; 02-04-2014, 04:08 PM.
        FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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