Sunday, December 3, 2023

My New Experience With Competitive Robotics

6o years ago when I was in high school there were basic boy's sports which were wrestling, football, track and basketball. Some schools had swimming. I'm not sure when competitive soccer started, but I hadn't even heard of soccer back then. Except for a girl's athletic club called GAA, girls sports in the early to mid sixties were non-existent. There were things like Forensics that have been around for a long time, but there were not as many activities as there are now. Today kids have access to many more competitive sports. I had my first experience with one of them today.

My two youngest grandsons are on their school Robotics team and my son-in-law is one of their coaches. Different schools compete with a team member controlling their robot to toss triballs to the opposing team’s side. Triballs are 3 sided balls. There are several 12' by 12' courts resembling a boxing ring set up in a gymnasium. There are officials keeping score. Different moves are worth different points. Then the teams are ranked by score. In the second half, teams choose which team to work with based on ranking. They compete and are eliminated until there is a champion. This was my first time attending a competition, and I hope I got it right. There is strategy and specific rules but that is way over my head at this point. This is the information on the back of the program. Many of you will understand it better than I do. 

I really enjoyed it. I was surprised this was the 10th year of competition at this school. I am really late to the party.  Robots were something I learned about in the old cartoon show The Jetsons but that was fiction. Now they are common place. My daughter told me that UW Eau Claire has robots deliver food to student dorms by using an app. 

This is normal to young people, but it is hard for me to comprehend. Robotics is a sport that anyone interested can participate in. Most kids are proficient at video games and using a remote control. I can open my garage door but that's about it. There are girl and boy participants. My grandson Jack broke his foot and was on crutches, but he could still participate. My other grandson Ewan is in eighth grade but could be on a team with high school teammates. The best part is that cousins could hang out together with Jack's uncle and Ewan's dad and both my daughters could spend time together.