Silicon Valley Regional

For how long the build season lasts, the culmination of our collective efforts seems to be judged rather quickly. Every hour we have spent during our lunches, after school, and during school (in some cases) all boiled down to just over 30 minutes worth of matches. No pressure, right?

As the second driver, I expected to be crumbling under the pressure. After last year’s incredible run, surely the team would be furious at anything less than perfection. I remember the stress I felt the night before the competition, and all I had to do was push buttons; Pranay Rajpaul would actually have to drive the robot.

And drive the robot he did, even with our robot seemingly fighting against us. From the rope getting tangled on the elevator, or the elevator cable snapping, or the arm mech deciding to skip town (it almost took the elevator with it), there was never a dull match. We more or less expected the robot to go through some issues, but some of these problems were more bizarre and outlandish than a Shakespearean comedy.

And in spite of it all, what surprised me the most about the competition was our team support through it all. At the best of matches, it almost became hard to focus with how loud our team cheered. At the worst of matches, the cheers somehow grew louder. Whatever one may say about our build season, on the day of SVR, our team pulled through and executed. I can look back and confidently say that on those three days, we did everything right.

The judges must have acknowledged our team’s efforts to do everything in spite of our robot’s performance, and bestowed upon us the Spirit Award. There were no medallions or tickets to the World Championship coming with this award, but nevertheless I do believe we ended our season on a strong note. As a team, we kept fighting. When things broke, we came together and repaired it. When our robot fought us in match, we adapted. And when our 12 week run came to an abrupt end during alliance selection, we still found the energy and will to cheer on.

Written By: Karan Motwani

Photo Courtesy by Michelle Pan & Shivani Sahni