December 8, 2013

FTC Robotics Tournament at Lakeville Middle School

FTC Robotics Tournament at Lakeville Middle School
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 8, 2013

Luke and Avery were fortunate enough to make the high school robotics team and they've been hard at work with six other students on building a robot for Saturday's FTC Tournament in Lakeville.

We arrived at 7:30am and the temperature outside read 16 degrees below zero.  Perfect weather for spending all day in a gymnasium with some friends and some rolling robots.

You have to wear safety goggles when working on the robots in to order protect the kid's eyes from flying pieces of metal.  Some of the kid's have cooler goggles than the others.

It can make for a pretty stressful day making sure the robots are ready to compete.  Some kids are better at hiding it than the others.

Coaches Volm and Olson were there to support the three Prior Lake teams that were competing in today's event.  Mr. Olson switched t-shirts based on which team was competing.  Mr. Volm kept on the same kilt throughout the day.

We even had one of the older King TeC students on the referee crew representing the unique style that makes the Prior Lake high school team so great!

Before the tournament began, the team has to present their robot to the judges and explain to them how they worked together as a team and what their process was for building the robot.  For some reason, they don't allow parents to be in the room while this happens, but I was still able to sneak this picture from outside the door.

After the initial judging was complete, the tournament began and our team competed in six different matches over about a ten hour period.  It was a long day of robot competitions, but well worth it with all the excitement that is generated in each one of the matches.

The boys were on a great team this year, but won't be getting the chance to compete again together this season.  Of the 24 teams in the tournament, only 8 teams had the chance to advance to the state finals.  Unfortunately, we weren't one of them.  But that's what happens some times.  You work really hard and things don't always work out the way you want.  The important thing is to keep a positive attitude and appreciate all the lessons gained from the experience.  At least that's what my boys keep telling me.  I still spend a lot of time crying about it.

On Sunday morning, we were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours supporting the high school band by volunteering at a pancake breakfast fundraiser they were having.  After we were done helping, we got to eat some pancakes ourselves with Grandma.  Mmmm.  Pancakes.

It's been really cold in Minnesota this week.  I saw 16 degrees below zero on my car once.  When that happens here, people don't get upset.  Instead they build penguins out of ice.  Then they put them outside and they last way, way too long.

  On a sad note, Prior Lake lost one of it's resident angels recently.  Sue Heaton was a friend of the family and an incredibly inspirational lady.  She battled cancer for 16 years, but you would never have guessed it by as much as she contributed to the community.  This lady was involved in everything and was a tireless supporter for so many wonderful causes.  She also helped with a lot of the programs our boys were involved in like band, Boy Scouts, and robotics which is how we got to know her so well.  This is an article in the Prior Lake American that discusses her incredible legacy.  This photo of her was taken last April before our sons went on a band trip to Chicago together.  She asked me to sneak a photo of her giving her son a hug because she knew he wouldn't let her take one willingly.  I took this photo shortly after the hug right after he realized what I was doing.  I thought it was a precious moment.  And she was a precious lady who will be missed by many, many people.

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