Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events.

This quote made me think of another Einstein…not the person, but the field. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, FIRST HQ released their report on the 2012 Einstein investigation. This was following a very extensive investigation involving all 12 robots in NH a few weeks after Championship. Go read it here. Really, you should. I’ll wait.

FIRST has concluded that there was an individual attacking the network during the matches. This person has come forward to HQ and has since been banned from all events or mentoring in the future. I only know of one other peson with this ban, and I assure you, it’s effective.

There’s a couple of things that I wanted to say immediately after Championship that have since marinated in my mind. I would like to share the following:

  • I would like to personally thank my Galileo crew for being absolutely amazing. Through the hottest of water, they kept their cool and did their job. Reset was flawless, the queuers gracefully took on the job of crowd control, and even the flags showed up in the right places. I did not have to synchronize any of it – they just did it, like they had done on Galileo all weekend long. An old mentor of mine once told me that the field is a stage. I tell my volunteers that Einstein is Carnegie Hall….and my crew put on the performance of a lifetime. I could have hugged them, but we were all a little ripe by that point. We took a picture instead.
  • From a volunteer perspective, Einstein needs some tweaking.  Not a lot of people know that each year, the best field gets chosen by the FTAs to become the Einstein field crew. It’s a huge sense of pride – I’ve been there three times, more than any other. The rules on Einstein from a production standpoint are completely different from any field – and because the VC changes every year, even though we are all well-seasoned veterans, there should be a document that the winning VC can use as their guide. I’m working on that doc, and I’m working with HQ to get it implemented. The team and volunteer experience on Einstein should be the best it possibly can be – and with the right stuff in place, I think we can make that happen easily.
  • We as a community will learn from this. Each season is a learning experience, but not only should we learn to build, code, and wire more robustly, we should learn to treat each other with respect no matter what the pressures are. Many people are already there – and some of us need work. But most of all, we should learn from our experiences and move on.

But back to that memory thing. I read the report, and that afternoon in St. Louis is now one of thousands of FIRST memories. On that day, we didn’t know what was happening, only that it was happening, and that we were going to make it through no matter what. As I read the paper…my mental archives unfolded, scrambled to reshape my memories to link the report to my experience. But my Einstein was a lot more than the field. It was the thunderous sound of hail, the broad smile I caught while watching the FLL winners, the pressure of my fingers wrapped tight around my radio call button, and Chiniqua’s laugh as she told me jokes to keep my spirits up.

What is done is done, and the best part of FIRST is that with the end of every season there is another on the horizon. My countdown to January has begun.


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