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Mar. 31st, 2007 | 11:13 pm

In a couple of ways, this isn't the post I'm supposed to be writing right now. I want to say, "Well, the bad news is, I got rejected to Stanford, but the good news is that we won the Lone Star Regional." Or I want to say, "Well, we didn't quite win the regional, but I got into Stanford." Obviously, I'm saying neither. I got rejected Friday afternoon. We got finished off in the semifinals by 118 and company, who went on to win the regional (putting us in technical third place). I even want to say, "But the thing is, none of it bothers me." But I can't say that either.

Don't be sorry about Stanford. That actually doesn't bother me. But... well, I'll steal the words of my dad. It's like winning the Nobel Prize for the photoelectric effect and getting no recognition at all for the theory of motherfucking relativity. Our robot last year was, except for the drive train, just a few steps above total crap. The build and the competition events weren't marked by internal strife, they were defined by it. The build was badly organized and barely anything like finished, and we won. We won the whole damn thing and we wasted a trip to Atlanta on a machine that was, frankly, barely short of worthless.

And then there's this year. The drive train has had two years to be refined and it has never been better. No one could do anything to us unless we let them. We had the best single robot ramp at the event. The arm, excepting one screw-up of mine that came back and bit us at a bad time, could have been no better. It was robust and it was effective. More than that, it's mine and Henry's and we've proved that we've got the right stuff. In Randy's words: "We had personalities this year, but never conflicts." That's it exactly. We never had any real fights. Everyone got along great. Most everyone did their job. We scouted, we repaired, we cheered. We've never been more of a team than what we had this year. We lost. We didn't lose the whole thing - as I said, third place. But why'd we lose? Our alliance partner drove one lousy inch too far off our ramp in the first match and dipped below the 1' line for 15 points instead of 30. We couldn't manage to score just ONE MORE tube in the third match (we won the second.) And in the fourth match of three, the tiebreaker match for the victory, another robot wheelied on top of us, earned us a disqualification red card and 30 points of penalties when we "rammed them" trying to free ourselves, and disconnected our battery trying to free themselves.

I can keep myself kind of happy with one realization: the team is new every year, and past performance is only partially related to current performance. In other words, this time, I earned them myself.
I'm falling asleep. Goodnight.

Edit: Fixed a few-sleep deprived spelling errors. Continuing the post Sunday morning (now).

The point is that last year was last year, and the year before was the year before, and last year's drive train was a winning drive train. That didn't mean this year's would be, but in fact, it was. The arm from two years ago was a winning arm, but that was someone else's arm, not mine. This arm was mine, and even if it didn't win, it was better than most of the arms there, and it was mine.

So I feel okay about it, but it's a frustrating way to end my career with 418, and I'm still pissed off that we didn't win any engineering awards.

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