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Destination Unknown

Updated: May 12, 2021

It's that time of year again, where brushless motors, fabricated sheets of metal, autonomous software code, safety goggles, and crimped wires are the focus of every FRC (First Robotics Competition) team member. Over a span of six weeks, participants on these high school robotics teams become hyper-focused and hyper-productive while designing, building, and testing a robot to enter into regional competitions taking place around the world. All with the hope of reaching the world championship tournament in April.

With this year's theme being Destination Deep Space, it seems written in the stars (lame pun, I know) that a team from the Space Coast and sponsored by NASA would have good fortune on its side. I watched these young men and women devote countless hours toward a creative project that is different from what I'm used to as an author. Coming together as a team, the passion, determination, and most importantly, resilience, was clearly evident and inspiring over their six-week build season.

The first two matches for my son's team during their regional competition in Orlando left them scrambling to fix problems. Their 62nd position (out of 64 teams) could have caused motivation and morale to spiral into a metaphorical black hole. Instead, that all-important word, resilience, resurfaced to inspire everyone in attendance. By the end of the first competition day, their team had ascended to 14th position. And by the end of the tournament on the following day, The Pink Team (FRC Team #233) had claimed the crown as Orlando Regional Winner and secured a trip to Houston, TX for the world championship in April.

It reminds me that things rarely progress smoothly. There will almost always be obstacles in our path. But, given the right mindset and unbridled tenacity, overcoming gravity and launching our dreams into orbit is not only possible, it's highly probable.


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