During the good ole days when we had Skills Only events that actually counted for something, some of the higher-performing teams would win their state slots early in the season, then step aside and let others play in subsequent tournaments. Those who had won their state slots would often focus on skills-only robots, help run subsequent tournaments, and wait for Skills Only events to strut their stuff later on. But now I worry that might have changed.
Here’s the problem as I see it: Because Vex did away with official Skills Only events, even teams that have already secured their state slots feel pressured to sign up for all the tournaments they can just so they can run their skills. And they might just show up at tournaments with zero interest in the tournament game itself. The uncertainty surrounding V5 performance and parts availability adds to this pressure. Furthermore, there is the change made a year or so ago: for skills scores to count, the scores for both driver and programming must be achieved at the same tournament. So that somewhat doubles up the demand for skills field usage at any tournament. The “best of one” policy has shortened the number of hours that tournaments run but it also tends to shorten the number of hours students can line up to use the Skills Field since the awards must be announced by the end of the tournament, etc.
In short, I foresee a “pile up” of teams wanting to attend tournaments just to get their 2 or 3 chances to run their skills. Never mind that Skills Only events were a different kind of experience for the kids and that they were events that were less pressured and de-emphasized the 3-D video game aspect of this particular robotics education platform.
I think the loss of Skills Only events is verging on tragic.