November 22, 2015

Prior Lake MinneMini FRC Robotics Competition 2015

Prior Lake MinneMini FRC Robotics Competition 2015
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 22, 2015

On Thursday night, Miss Sheri and I went to Mystic Lake Casino because they were having psychics who would do readings for us.  I've always wanted to try this, but ended up not very impressed.  The lady had been doing readings over and over for hours and looked pretty tired when I sat down with her.  We jumped right into it.  She first asked me if the name Molly meant anything to me.  I said no. She then asked me who was into Alfred Hitchcock movies.  I told her I had no clue.  She then asked me who was Neal and I said I don't know.  She then asked if I was in science for a living.  I told her I've sold computers for most of my life and she said that must be it.  She then explained she was getting an image of Neil Degrassi the scientist.  She didn't explain beyond that, but I wondered what does Neil Degrassi have to do with my selling computers?  All I could think of was what I just witnessed was really, really spooky.   

On Saturday, our whole family spent the day at the Prior Lake MinneMini FRC regional robotics tournament.  35 teams from all over the state of Minnesota and 1 team from North Dakota competed in some robot on robot action.  A good time was had by all.

This year the tournament was even bigger than usual because we also were holding the First Lego League regional tournament for the elementary school students in the high school commons.  I heard all in all we had something like 1000 students competing this year across both tournaments which is a whole lotta robot enthusiasts in one building at the same time.

Before the tournament started, I had the privilege of being part of a ceremony that honored our outgoing superintendent, Dr. Sue Ann Gruver.  She's a very nice lady, an incredible friend of the robotics program, and will be greatly missed.

Prior Lake's team has some new drivers this year and they were pretty anxious to get going when I saw them.  

The purpose of this tournament is to give last year's robot one more chance to shine before the kids have to start preparing to build their new robot for the next competition which starts in January.  

Here's a short video that shows KING TeC's robot building a stack during one of it's matches:

Luke is a drummer in the band of the robotics program which I'm guessing is larger than some school's actual band program.

Avery has taken a great interest in programming this year and actually led a class on how to develop using Java.  I was pretty proud of him for this one.

Luke spent most of his day being a score keeper for the FLL tournament and making some new friends in the process.

Our favorite part of the tournament is getting to spend so much time with a bunch of really cool parents and volunteers who help make this event possible.  There's a lot of great people out there willing to put in a lot of hours to create a successful event.

Miss Sheri spent a bunch of time working with the concessions team.  I was thinking about going back there to work, but when I saw Jen pull out the bullhorn, I figured this place might just be a little too dangerous for me so I snuck away.

The tournament really went incredible and at the end of the day, there were a lot of volunteers that were pretty tuckered out.  We had some awesome food prepared for us that pretty much put everyone over the top after a weekend of hard work.

Our night was just beginning, though, because we were fortunate enough to go to the 50th birthday party of our good friend, Portia.  She and Doc always have fascinating stories and are just so much fun to be around.  They also had a big wine tasting competition which was pretty nice as well.

We ended the night with Dr. Bollig who was also celebrating his 50th birthday party.  It was great seeing many of the old gang from Nor-Tech.  I don't get a chance to see them often enough, but we just took off like we'd never been apart and had an awesome time together.  It was a good day all the way around.

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