Okay, so today at the GA TSA Fall Leadership Conference, we were competing in the semi-final rounds when the center trough came unscrewed and then slid toward the opposing side. As a result, all of the sacks in the high goal were held in on their side, and proceeded to slide off on ours. Because of this, the entire scoring area was completely slanted, throwing off our robots ability to go under the trough as well as making our aim off on the field.
I DON’T MIND LOSING
but I felt like the entire match should have been replayed (we would have lost anyway, so again I’m not mad) as the troughs weren’t properly secured to the floor.
Even after politely approaching the ref (excuse me, please, thank you, etc. ) we were refused the replay.
I really don’t mind losing, but I do wish to avoid this happening to a team who would have won but lost their shot at Tournament Champion.
The same thing happened in the finals match at the Ga Cross Keys VRC Qualifier. The other alliance was in the process of descoring when the same thing happened. Since my team won, there was no need to have a discussion about the rules. Should the match not been nearly as clear cut as it was, I would have definitely pushed for a rematch. This was the same tournament that as I was stopping the refs from making up rules, I accidentally bumped the high goal and it spun around. They did manage to tape the goals in place after that, but I didn’t notice the missing screws on the trough stanchions until the end of the day. The lack of attention to detail was appalling. I don’t even want to get into the fact that the prep for the drivers meeting consisted of a cursory reading of the manual. I know they are volunteers, but it was really rather pitiful - I wish they took a bit more pride in their role.
We are very spoiled, as our volunteers are mostly ex VEX high school competitors who now attend Auckland or Massey University. Their level of knowledge, helpfulness and professionalism, plus the amount of time they give is unbelievable and very much appreciated.
But, as you say, they are volunteers. They may not be experienced and they definitely are not getting paid.
The key learning I would take from the experiences mentioned is to show “attention to detail” to all aspects that could affect your teams performance. For example, instead of spotting that screws are missing from the troughs after the tournament, give the fields a quick check before the tournament starts. If you think the volunteers are inexperienced, then offer to help put the fields together :). Most teams pitch in and have at least one member help set the fields up, every scrimmage that we go to.
I feel like VEX should put more pressure on event partners to make sure their volunteers assemble their fields properly, since the robots are all designed to play on manual-spec fields. I can just see a team ramming the black support on a trough, and the whole assembly flipping such that all the sacks fall out.
The screws were found immediately following the drivers meeting. When things came up, they handled them properly. Vex releases fantastic field assembly instructions, but they were not followed.
I know that they are volunteers and as such I always offered to help them fix issues that arise, whether pointed out my my team or another team.
I don’t want my criticism to undermine the importance of the volunteers. Most that I interacted with throughout the day were very responsive to my concerns, and to that I am grateful. I want to use this space as an opportunity to improve future events, not to rant. (although I have a feeling it cam of that way, sorry)
I have been running the NOVA VEX Tournament now for 5 years (or is it 6, I don’t remember anymore). Mistakes happen all the time. A number of times I haven’t even been able to start setting up a tournament until 9 pm on a Friday night because of a basketball game (will happen this year). I have even been setting up an event until 1 am at night, and then back at school at 6 am.
Until you are responsible for running an event, you don’t realize all the planning that goes into an event.
Mistakes happen, and please give people some slack as we have to scramble for volunteers some years to help these events happen. We do this because we love to, and all we get is a free breakfast/lunch out of it.
Please do not bash the volunteers for making mistakes. Complaining on the forums won’t solve much. Address your issues to the event planners, and voice your concern personally. Or volunteer to help set the event up the next year, and see that they don’t occur personally.
But I do agree that if they make mistakes, they should be fixed/corrected as best possible. We know that teams put a lot of time into their work, and want a fair chance at the competition.
I agree almost 100%. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the team gets disqualified if they intentionally break the playing field but if the playing field is broken due to a failure on the event planners part then the match should be replayed.