Dispatches from the FIRST robotics competition
This is a guest entry from Sun metro editor Maryann James, who is at the FIRST robotics competition in Annapolis today. Her boyfriend is a volunteer with the team from Dunbar and Patterson high schools. She's also Tweeting about the competition:
I'm here at the Field House in Annapolis, hanging with the Patterson/Dunbar team.
It's a low-key play day today, a time for the students to run scrimmages with their robots, get them inspected and scout out other teams to possibly align with later in the competition.
Teamwork and camaraderie are key in this competition. When I visited last year, I was struck by that -- students proudly wearing other teams' buttons, genuinely wishing each other good luck. If a team needs a spare cable or actuator, another group will gladly share.
I chatted with Rob Zienta from Owings Mills High School, whose first-year team has benefited from the help-all attitude. When a pipe burst, flooding the team's build room with four inches of water, Baltimore-area schools -- Liberty and Woodlawn high schools in particular -- came to its aid, he said, working until 1:30 on the weekends to fix its robot in time.
"Woodlawn helped get us in this mess," Zienta said, laughing.
(Woodlawn convinced Owings Mills to start a team this year.)
I'll try to post more updates later. If you'd like to know more about a certain team, let me know!