Robots and Agility


firsttech_iconhorz_rgbThis past weekend, my son Carter had his first, and possibly final, First Tech Challenge competition of the year. It was in Lincoln, NE where his team (the Fellowship of the Loose Screws) has always been welcome and they have always had a good time. There are no tournaments in South Dakota, so our team has to travel out-of-state to compete in the hopes that they will qualify to go to the next Regional rounds.

Carter is a senior this year, and as such, he will be graduating high school this year and moving on from the Fellowship. This chapter for him is closing and he is moving onto another one. This is the natural order for young people. As they move through their world, they try things. Some they stay with…some they don’t. Some have a finite timeline for them to participate in.

Carter has competed for five years. He has learned so much during this time. He can program robots. He can drive robots. He can code robots. He can build robots. More recently, he can discuss them, promote them, and educate others about them.

He fell in love with robots and early on, he wanted to become an engineer and eventually work with robots. Somewhere along the way, as his role with the robots and the Fellowship changed, he found other passions with FTC and with life in general.

Although Carter may no longer want to become an engineer and work with robots, he has benefited from all the other lessons that his robot and team has taught him, which include some of the following:

  • How to solve problems
  • How to work with a team
  • How to collaborate with others
  • How to communicate on different levels with different audiences
  • How to teach others to do what they need to do
  • How to make friends and how to be a friend

Legoless (the Fellowship’s robot) has transformed many times during the past five years. He has morphed into whatever the team needed him to become. At first, he was simple and little. He was new and was learning what he was supposed to be. Eventually, he was stronger and dominating. He was growing. This year, he is agile and nimble. Not weak and he can handle his own. He is able to move into a better position to make more happen.

The Fellowship, and Carter, has transformed right along with Legoless. They started off simple and new. They grew and became more confident. The became a force on the field as well as in their community. Now they are agile and nimble. They need to position themselves for the future. Carter and four other founding members of the Fellowship are moving on. Both them and the Fellowship need to move into a better position to make more happen in the future.

The team did not win this weekend, so they did not qualify to go the Regional competitions. They have another tournament in North Dakota coming up, and hopefully they will qualify at that one. Carter won’t be attending this tournament. His new interests and his job do not allow him to go this weekend. If they don’t qualify at this tournament, Carter’s time with Fellowship will come to an end. The Fellowship will continue without Carter and the others that are moving on. The newer kids have been taught by the older kids. They have the knowledge and the skill to move forward — to be nimble.

Division Win



I have been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the “Purple People Eaters” were dominating offensive lines. I have watched the team through highs and lows, always supporting my team. My baseball caps are Vikings and my jacket shares their logo. My middle son’s name is Carter, although I will leave it to you if he is named after either Anthony or Cris….

Today the Vikings won the NFC North division title. They wrestled it away from the Green Bay Packers, who played a very good game. It is fun to celebrate the win and the the Division, since we have not been here since 2009. It was even more fun since we defeated the Packers to claim the title.

I love the rivalry that the Packers and the Vikings have. It is fun and also cordial. I think that most fans for both teams appreciate the other team, and have fun poking fun at each other. I personally have a lot of respect to the Packers organization and the way they are structured. I believe that all communities should have more “involvement” with their team that they are devoted to. It creates ownership as well as security for both the team and community. Unfortunately, no team will restructure their organization to emulate the Packers’ system.

For now, I am enjoying the win and am looking forward to next weekend when the Vikes get to play the Seahawks at home in Minneapolis. Until then, SKOL VIKINGS!