Friday, October 31, 2008

Crunch Time

The 2008 North Carolina FLL season is 2/3rds complete. We are one month away from our State Championship. It is officially crunch time! It is interesting because we are taking tonight, Halloween off. The stress of the first two months was incredible but I feel like the coaching staff and the team is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

We have come to realize that FLL is not a competition against others although we will we compete against others. It is a competition with ourselves. As a third year team, we know what is expected to be competitive. Can we achieve all that we wish to? We can only hope so.

We continue to learn through research, robot building, programming, and running. We don't have all of the answers, even after three years. But we aren't the naive team that we were three years ago either. I suspect that there are many better teams out there. Our job is not to worry about them but to worry about bettering ourselves.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To the Newbies

As one of the coaches for the Microbots I have had the privilege of witnessing first hand brilliance in the making. To see these children three years ago, youngest starting some where in the realm of age nine to where they are today is simply remarkable. They have learned so much and have worked so hard that words do not suffice to help describe the joy it gives a dad/coach.

From complete strangers to best of friends who could have picked a better group as fate guided their hands as they picked names out of a hat. Their common ground, Friday night Lego practice is what they will say, work will certainly find its way into second place as friendship, companionship and camaraderie will crown. With a third year already in the making there are certainly no gurantees of its outcome, but one thing will continue to ring true, they will have fun, and there will be lots of laughter to follow.

Coach Newb

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Hardest Challenge

This year's challenge could actually be the hardest that any FLL team has ever faced. Climate Connections is deceptively hard and perhaps even harder than the challenges of previous years. In North Carolina, our state championship is December 6th so teams have effectively three months to solve the challenge and create a research project. Many other states conduct regional championships in early January with a state championship at the end of January. The result is a more difficult state championship with more teams and less time. This can be viewed in one of two ways. The first is the pessimistic view which says that it isn't enough time and the chances of winning are smaller. The other is optimistic view which says if it is hard for us, it also hard for the other teams. Let’s go win!

This year, the North Carolina State Championship is limited to 80 teams. We think that we made the cut for the championship but we won't know for sure for a couple more days. 80 teams is probably the most that can fit in a single day of competition. There is a rookie competition for the first year teams in early January. It seems like it is right around the corner!

We expect tough competition from both teams that we know and the teams that perhaps are new to FLL. We wish all of the teams competing in this tournament the best of luck! First Lego league is not easy and very few of the 80 NC teams will go home with a trophy.

We thank James T. and Kyle B. for helping us to gather 6 strangers who work well together, who have worked hard this year, and who will be competitive. In talking to other teams, this is the real hard challenge. Go Microbots!