While other teams were busy with scouting or last minute Outreach or second guessing their design and making changes on the robot, here in the Brick Buddies garage this past week, it was quiet. We practiced on our regular Sunday afternoon, tweaking our autonomous, replacing our lift string and packing our robot box for State. We then sent everyone home for the week. For us, it wasn’t about what we could rush to do in a week, but capping a whole season’s worth of hard work. It was all or nothing for us. We didn’t change our chassis; we didn’t add enormous weight to our robot and we decided against a ramp. We knew our strengths and the kids kept their focus. At the end of Qualifying Rounds, we finished 3rd and were one of the four Captains of teams moving into the Alliance Round. Being an alliance captain meant we had a shot at captaining the winning alliance with a bid to World Festival.
Many people were surprised when Brick Buddies gave up that opportunity and accepted an invitation from Team Maelstrom into their alliance. And a lot of people have since asked why we made that decision. We felt, partnering together, was our best shot at Winning the State Championship and that is what what the FIRST robotics program is all about– not about us getting to say we were Alliance Captains, but rather we helped our friends win their way to Worlds. What most people didn’t know is that we had close relationship with Maelstrom all season. While we were extremely competitive, often battling it out at Hillsborough Meets, finishing 2 and 3 all season and trading State ranking spots by mere points, we were also always helping each other and cooperating. Throughout the season, we talked pros and cons of chassis and grabber changes on our robots. We attended an out of League Meet together early in the season; we scouted together at the Pinellas League Championship and after the incident regarding the field damage, they were the only team in our League to let us know how it might affect us. This type of relationship among teams is actually what Woody Flowers was talking about when he coined the term Gracious Professionalism. At the end of the day, after all the alliance rounds were finished, we were proven correct. Together we were the best. Both robots finished the day with one loss, the best record of any teams. We’re proud to say we are a part of the Florida State Championship Winning Alliance.