an elegiac lament.

it’s amazing, and it just hit me: this was my last year of robotics.

throughout the years, i have always viewed it was a chore, something i
had to do. i never once looked back at it as something i could walk
away from easily; it was always something that i had to expend effort
for. i never knew why.

i remember four years ago, i was
sitting on a bench at school, waiting for my interview with the
managers of the robotics team. it was the first time i met natalie,
brock, aaron, and peter. scared the shit out of me. if i ever have the chance to sit in the same room as them again, i’d feel the same. i remember freshman year, robotics wasn’t a big deal for me, but
because of brock, because he scared me, i’d go almost daily and stay.

my first time
at competition was incredibly exciting. there were so many teams there
that year, and it was an amazing taste of what we had done. we went on to
win the autodesk visualization award, a grand victory for us. i tripped
over the barrier on they way to high five the judges.

sophomore
and junior years were both years where my membership wasn’t
particularly outstanding. i showed up, but i never gave myself that
push to something better. those years, we never really tested the
limits of what we could do.

now, here i am, a senior, and it
has already been two days since competition has ended. i feel
incredibly privileged to have been part of something like that,
especially this year. the competition was extremely tiring, but also
fun at the same time. i spent time with lots of people who were
previously strangers to me. we worked hard, we pushed ourself and ended
up with a record matching that of a team sponsored by NASA, monster
cable, and many, many others. our steelworked frame proved to be more
than enough to keep up with their aluminum base and titanium components. i
am incredibly proud to have been on the side, chanting “el toro” like
it was the last thing i’d ever say, screaming my voice hoarse as we
proved to the other 47 teams that MRT was not a joke, that we were
strongest defensively as well as a very able scorer. our road to
seeming glory ended prematurely, however, when we didn’t get seeded for
final 8 alliance matches.

i don’t think it matters that we
didin’t go on. we did amazingly, and i am sure lots of teams there were
scared of facing off against the tank that was El Toro. We may
not have had a machine shop, nor may we have the most amazing tools and
accesories at hand. but we knew how to play the game. we knew how to
make them afraid, and wasn’t it machiavelli who said it was better to
be feared than loved?

it was a bitter defeat, brought forth
only because of the other teams’ discontent with ours. but it lived up
to all my expectations and more. we were on tv, we were the team built
by sheer determination, and somehow, i feel as if we connected this
year to team themis. we went out there, and we did what we did
incredibly better than anyone expected without any major sponsors.

i am sad to be leaving, possibly never again walking into the san jose
state university’s event center and feeling that excitement in the air, the tingle of almost a thousand nerds crammed into one arena. i may never be able
to see  blue haired Mark, nor his insane kicks at the plexiglass. i
may never get the chance to do the cha-cha slide with a dancing hat,
nor will i be able to do the YMCA with judges and students from schools all around the country, brought together by sheer love of robotics.

i’m glad i got to be part of the team. to the members of next year, keep up the good work. we’ll be
working hard for the remainder of the year so you can all uphold the
legacy of little caesar’s pizza, late nights, unsafe wielding of tools,
and the like. the the members of past and present members, it was an
amazing experience to be able to be cooped up in a small room with you
all during a stressful 6 week building period. making OSH runs, screaming, bickering, joking, cussing, “that’s-what-she-said”-ing, welding without protecting our eyes. it was amazing knowing
you all.  the robotics team was amazing.


photo album from competiton:
Silicon Valley Regional, Days 1&2
Silicon Valley Regional, Day 3

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