Label your Stuff: B.C. Teams, this means you.

So after this weekend’s event a team came to me and said, “We’ve lost one of our stars. If it shows up, could you please let us know?”

“Sure.” I replied, “Does it have your team number on it, or your school name?”

“Um. Neither.” was the reply.

This was very unfortunate as we have an exceptionally high rate of return for labelled parts that go missing. Right now, for instance I’ve got a cube and two stars labelled “Alpha” in my basement, and they’ll be going back to Alpha secondary this week. And while we may have found an unlabelled star to return to this anonymous team… we’re not sure whether or not it’s theirs because the stars all look the same.

Game pieces, batteries, joysticks, cables, extension cords, power bars, VEXnet keys… they ALL LOOK THE SAME. If you put your school name or team number on it, then people will return it to you before you even know its gone missing. Heck, add a phone number and make it easy for everyone.

And please make it clear… your school’s initials make sense to you and the event organizers, but not to everyone else. Your team number works wonders. Your school or club name does, too. So do both. Make it clear, make it big, make it bold… and you’ll probably never lose anything. (At least not for long.)


We’ve had similar problems in years past with every single tournament we’ve been to. I’ve gotten into the habit of “If it leaves my site or my table, it has my name on it.” The last tournament I went to, we almost had a team take our 9v connector back with them until their mentor told us "Hey, this says Weiser… the kids were trying to take it with them. Thanks for labeling it.

I was volunteering at a local event over the weekend and all the volunteers starting telling horror stories of what they have found cleaning up past events. When I mentioned I have seen unlabeled randomly placed joysticks and cortexes there were some looks of horror.

It’s just like going to summer camp – write your name on everything, including your underwear.