21 November 2004

FIRST Lego League Regional Tournament

Yesterday Merrimack held its second regional FLL meet at Merrimack High School.

Things didn't go as well as I had hoped... not because of poor planning, quite the contrary. It was me who wished things went better.

On Friday afternoon, I was putting the competition tables onto my truck and was using a mechanics' creeper to assist moving the heavy plywood and 2X4 tables from where they were in the garage to the truck. I tried to move the creeper by putting my left foot on the end and shoving, but unlike the many other times I had done that, my right foot twisted a little and I put weight onto the left.

You guessed it, the left foot went out from under me and I landed on my left cheek pretty hard, pulling the hamstring. I felt a sharp pain from my hip to ankle and rolled around on the floor of the garage, howling like some sort of felled beast. I saw every star and planet in the galaxy, just like I did once before many years ago, but that's a story for another time.

Anyway, I rested for a while and the pain subsided, until I tried to sit. I revisited the planeary system again. Suffice to say, I didn't sit again for a long while, and getting to the high school to help set up for the next day's meet was an accomplishment in and of itself. Woulda been better off laying the the truck bed like a log.

A good number of Team 166 were there to help and they really worked hard. Of course, I was a good source of amusement for them all, but we managed to get a boatload of work done. All that was left to do for the morning was arrange for lights on the tables and get the scoring computers installed and running.

Next day... Getting out of bed, into the shower and then getting dressed made me very aware of what it would be like to be handicapped. Interesting that the theme of the competition this year was all about how technology can affect the lives of the physically challenged. I sure could have used one of those segways! No, not the stair-climbing wheelchair... remember, I can't sit!

Anyhow, arriving on site, we got the tables lit, the computers running and the final details taken care of. The day was going smoothly until there was an electrical 'event' in the Merrimack area that caused the main power breaker to pop, shrouding the entire school in a veil of darkness. I was pretty amazed to watch everyone acting calmly, taking the opportunity to head to the cafe to get something to eat. It took about 15 minutes to locate the breaker, the lead janotorial superintendant was not there and his team were unaware of the breakers' location. A few frantic phone calls and we were back online. Nothing lost except that 15 minutes. The onsite janitorial team now know where the breaker is!

The most notable thing about our regional meet is the fact that Team 166 students run it, with the help of the mentors. Judging is done by adults so there can be no question of accuracy, but all the arranging, staging, is done by them. Most of the time, the mentors stand around feeling pretty useless. I certainly did, hobbling around all afternoon, afraid to sit... Feet still hurt.

Well, a good time was had by all. 23 out of 24 teams showed up to compete and we'll see many of them at the State Tournament on 11-December at Nashua High School, North.

Going to work tomorrow will be a feat, I am sure...

14 November 2004

Where has the time gone??


Since the last post, I have not been with the team. Work has been consuming my time such that I have been putting in 10-12 hours overtime. I hope that this is short-lived.

But, the good news is that there have been others stepping up this past week to help organize the cleanup at the Rear Mill. Facilities is refinishing the floors and we have been trying to help by taking care of our rooms.

I have not yet seen them yet, I've been offsite all this week, but I hope to catch a glimpse of what they've accomplished.

According to what I've been told by one of the two team captains (my daughter) we now have staffed sub-teams and training dates have been established.

Today, I've been catching up on chores that have gone undone for the past couple of weeks.

06 November 2004

Fundraising last night

What a night.

This is the third time the team has done something called "trading faces" where male team members agree to be 'auctioned off' to the highest female bidders who then take on the task of outfitting their 'prize' to be the best-dressed feMALE of the evening.

Complete with talent show, it is like the Miss America only with a twist. Great fun for the night.

This says a lot about the makeup of our team. They all feel comfortable who they are individually and can spend an evening together doing anything. They don't take themselves seriously and that's the key.

There were 7 young men who collectivlely earned a little under $1100. Not bad for an evening of fun.

What would happen if Team 166 opened this up to other local FIRST teams??

Something to try for next year??