Across every season are a large number of threads about “refs were bad”, “judging was bad”, “judging is biased”, “venue was a mess”, “field displays were bad”,“field control issues”, etc.
This is a topic that really frosts my flakes.
All events in VEX are done on the backs of volunteers. I used to be in South Eastern PA, and I know that with the exception of a few events, everyone there is a volunteer. I’m now in Delaware running events here and with the exception of the Delaware State Championship (where we had a RECF intern) there wasn’t any paid help running the event.
The biggest challenge that I face producing events is finding help. I need teams to come with their fields, tiles, elements, towers, cables, etc. I need to find people to be referees, judges, queue, reset, etc. etc, It’s a huge project effort to do anything 24 teams or more. There is an amazing amount of work that goes on before, during and after an event.
I’m building new, sustainable teams (started 10 new teams last year, on track to start 35 teams this year). With team growth comes event growth. So being stretched doing the 6 events I did last year, I’m looking at doing at least 9 events to give teams a chance to play 3 times during the season. Oh and States will double in size, even more logistics.
All of the posters in all the threads saying how unhappy they feel are consumers, not event partners. I’d like to suggest than rather competing at 6 events if you are unhappy, to compete at 3 and help out at 3. You will be impressed how hard it is.
Be a judge, ask to be the second ref at a field. It’s hard.
I started back in the day of two digit team numbers. Teams are now in five digits starting with 9, I expect to see 6 digit team numbers. So in a decade from when I started there has been amazing growth and RECF has done their best to keep up with it. Worlds events fit nicely into Disney and Dallas. But as the growth picked up the events became larger and larger. On both ends, we were lucky to have 16 teams at an event, and now 32+ team events are common. Worlds has grown to be the largest event of it’s kind.
RECF could have (and maybe should have) taken the approach of taking the three winners from each state, another 30 from China and a big handful from the rest of the world and run a nice 200 team event. But because of the growth in states they decided to grow Worlds. Last year there was a huge cry about the lack of worlds slots. So the same 20 RECF person team that ran a 4 day combined VRC/VIQ/VEXU event totally lost their minds and ran two back to back events with over 400 teams at each event.
With the help of hundreds of volunteers they pulled it off. Like the roboteers all the volunteers did the best they could.
At the Delaware State event in 2016 there was a number of teams that were unhappy with the judges. They felt that since the judges were parents of roboteers that there was a bias towards those teams. So this year, with the help of Team Dover, 22 airmen came and were judges. None of them had a team contact. I brought in a head judge, someone that had done judging for 6 years, is a mentor of the year from another state. And you know what? I STILL got complaints of bias.
Bottom line is that volunteers make this work. We do the best we can. There isn’t a bias.
It’s hard running events, we never have enough people. And I do make a point of when people complain about events that I run, they are on the front of the list for people to help at the next event.
TL;DR – Not happy about events, come help make it better. It takes little effort to make a post or do a poll, come show your commitment and help your fellow teams by being a volunteer. We can always use more people.