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Advice to Other Teams (from a team mom)
thumb20041119 - 017.jpg Bring your own supplies, don't expect it to be there for you.  One team showed up with a power point presentation, and expected a computer would be there for them.  No one there had a computer that would run their floppy disk, so they were out of luck.  If you need an extension cord, bring one, a computer, bring one.  Bring emergency supplies - extra LEGO parts.  If you have a display board, bring tape, glue sticks, etc..  

Bring snacks and keep comfortable.
Sometimes you only have minutes between competitions.  Have some snacks on hand.  Even if there are restaurants nearby, you probably won't have time to get off-site to get to one.  I would come fully packed with a meal, snacks, and lots of water.  The children will already be excited - extra sugar probably won't help them.  Bring anything possible to stay comfortable - jackets, band-aids, whatever it takes.  If, like us, you have younger brothers and sisters along, it is very easy for them to get bored.  They would be easier to manage if they have their own little activities to do - coloring books, Etch-a-Sketches, books.  I discourage noisy electronic toys or balls.

Time keeper
.  We found it helpful to have one parent keep an eye on the clock and the posted schedule.  The team would be too focused on getting ready for the matches and presentation.  They need someone to give them enough warning to be where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there.

Not over until it's over
.  We have seen many a team come up from behind.  Hang in there until the end!

Protect your robot
.  I was shocked at the lack of supervision many of the children had.  There were so many children running around without any adult leader in sight.  Many children were causing some trouble.  I strongly encourage you to protect your robot in a strong box, and keep it with you at all times.  Many feel it is OK to win by breaking someone else's robot.  One team showed up at a match, quite shaken up, because someone had just come along and kicked their robot.

Never leave your stuff alone
.  If you are leaving anything in the "pit" you should have someone there guarding it.  We had our presentation boards sitting up on chairs, so that passers by could stop and look at them.  One man came along, sat on our chairs, and leaned against our boards.  He was asked to move, as he was harming our boards, and he refused.   Many children came along and started grabbing some of our props.  Since etiquette seems to be lacking in our society, we must protect our things from others who don't seem to care.

Keep going and ignore the crowd.
Keep on going until the judge tells you otherwise - don't listen to anyone else.  There were many times in the matches, where someone would yell "stop".  They were not the official time-keepers, just trouble makers.  Keep going and going.  The judges will only score that which happens during the official time.   Don't stop prematurely.

Practice focusing
.  The events are chaotic.  There will be lights, video cameras, lots of people talking , loud music, possibly an emcee yelling into a microphone, pictures being snapped, etc.  The children may be a little less nervous if they have been made aware of this ahead of time, and even practiced focusing amidst chaos.  They need to look only at their robot and the competition mat - nothing else.

I hope that this information is helpful and I wish the best success to all teams.

Kathy Mack,
Team mom

Posted by Kathy Mack at 09:05:00 PM on 11/21/2004
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