My 2 on the emphasis on scores . . .

 

FLL is intended to be an engineering sport. What would soccer be if we didn't focus on the scores?

 

FLL is certainly not all about the scores. I tell my team(s) each year that regardless of the outcome, we've had a great time and learned a lot. Before the awards are done I ask them - was it fun? Was it worth it if you come away with nothing? They say yes. They did come away with nothing this year. That was hard after taking first place in robot design last year and being first alternate to go to States. They really, really wanted to go on this year. There were tears of disappointment, but as we munched pizza and went over the judges' comments later that evening they were planning out their strategy for next year.

 

It's not all about the scores for them, although scores and trophies are huge motivators. The teamwork and excitement are what fires them up. They spend time on trade-ables and t-shirts. They are more proud of their community sharing each year than their table runs. Still, at tournament, they race out to see what their standing is on the table runs - its part of the excitement. I think the teamwork is what they are there for and the scoring is what pushes them to do their best. Table runs are visible scoring - like the scoreboard at a sports event. If I could figure out a way that it was possible to show the visible scoring for the other 3/4, I'd suggest it. But I can't figure it out. I do personally like the visible scoring of table runs. It is a competition, after all.

 

Personally I believe that it is up to the coaches and the parents to remember the teamwork piece of the whole experience. Value your teamwork, your sharing, your working together. But they honestly do put more heart into the project because it is scored. Part of teamwork is how you handle challenges also.

 

I tell my kids over and over that they ARE the future. They do not need to choose a career in engineering, they do not have an obligation to change the world as we know it, but they certainly could. They do not have to take home a trophy from FLL to have learned a lot and moved along their path towards what they will become. This experience is amazing on so many levels. I hope that my kids are as proud of themselves as I am of them. Most of the team just finished their third competition together, replacing one or two members each year as kids drop out. The worked together so well this year. They support each other, trust each other, enjoy each other. They struggled, got frustrated, wanted badly to go on to states. They jumped around in joy when their article is published in the local paper, were proud as peacocks when they appear on the school TV show, and screamed with excitement when a mission works. They are a team!

 

Nancy Egan Sharma, Coach

2008 – Super Panda Galaxy

2007 – Solar Pandas

2006 – Nano Pandas

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