I know about the different FIRST competitions for quite some time.  I even asked our kids about it a couple of times while they were still in school. But I guess, I was not enthusiastic or  aggressive enough to get a team started:-(
Since I joined the Home Brew Robotics Club mailing list, I saw the “Call for Volunteers” emails flying by every year. But it never really fit in the schedule until the Modesto First Lego League event.

So, I went to the FIRST volunteer site and signed up, did the background check and picked some jobs which I thought, I could do without having any experience how such an event works.  I got accepted, but there was still no indication on what I would be doing. So on Sunday morning, I packed my laptop and camera and went to the Fred Beyer HS in Modesto.

During the opening ceremony, the announcer asked for volunteers as referees for the actual games. Apparently some people could not make it. Since I did not have an assigned role yet and have some experience with “hobby robots” in competitions, I raised my hand and got the job;-) That was the beginning of a very fun but also stressful day;-)

If there was a `learn by fire’, the warm-up rounds were it for me;-) I had not looked at the ANIMAL ALLIES rules beforehand, so I was watching the teams while also trying to understand all the pieces of the game setup. The first break helped, so I could read the rules;-) Overall, I think, with the help of all the others, I did a reasonable job. But I would definitely not recommend that as normal `preparation’;-)

Thanks to the La Loma Green Machine Robotics Team and Mr. Ollar for allowing me to use some of their photos here. While I had my camera, I did not get around to take many pictures during the day. It was simply too busy. Their photo album is here.

Overall, this turned out to be a very fun-filled day for all involved. But I was very tired in the evening.
If you’re thinking about it, I would suggest to try to attend one of those events. It’s always fun;-)

— Marco