On a quiet November morning begins, most people are asleep, content to sleep in on a Saturday. Not the thirty-six members of Team 1403 Cougar Robotics who chose to spend their day at the biggest event of Pre-Season: Ramp Riot. The competition was held in Wissahickon High School, home of Team 341 Miss Daisy. After an hour long bus ride, the members of the Team arrived at the Round Gym, which had been retrofitted into a full-blown robotics arena. The stands were buzzing with teams, fans, and others as all the team members made their way to their seats.
Before anything had started, the team leaders spoke about the need for the team to maintain “gracious professionalism” and to cheer on the drive team and our fellow alliance. For some members, this was their first competition and as such, they were eager to learn how to embody the spirit of Cougar Robotics at competitions. This was my first competition as well, and I was electrified by the high energy atmosphere, the overwhelming sense of teamwork, and the creativity shown in the many teams participating.
As an offseason event, Ramp Riot was the last chance for Team 1403 to participate in a robotics competition until the 2014 FIRST Competition Season. The game, Ultimate Ascent involves various stages, including a period when the robot moves autonomously, a segment during which it is tele-operated, and finally a portion where a “human player” can try their marksmanship by manually throwing frisbees. Between matches, robots are inspected, serviced, and modified in the pit area. In the qualification rounds, teams could showcase their robot’s abilities and make adjustments that would appeal to the top 8 competitors, who would head an alliance composed of 3 other robot teams in Elimination.
At the end of the day, the end of my first competition with Team 1403, I left astounded by its sheer magnitude. It was not just about throwing frisbees, it wasn’t even just about robots, it was about innovation, about cooperation, about people working together to foster scientific wonder.
Daniel (Design team) contributed to this article.