This could have been a very bad thing. Two excellent teams who go to school together. Bullying, back stabbing, espionage, etc. for years. I had talked to their coach over the year and my gut feeling was that he was a really decent guy. Plus it was likely that we would need him to write my son's college recommendation (he did) as we couldn't and my son would take all his AP classes. So I called him that night and we talked. We decided to not let this rule our teams and to take steps to correct even though we wouldn't be able to change the results. So over the years we have made real efforts to be honest and above board with each other while being likely the best two teams in the state and going head to head at each competition. Over time, the kids who were berated by their coach for cheating went away and our kids had made it a consistent thing to be honest and treat them with respect and friendship.
|Rob with the local team in the elimination pits|
going over each other's robots making sure all is well together
We crushed it together as a three-some. Missed the world record by 3 points. We won it all and automatically all three of us advanced. The local high school senior kids came up to us (they had been on
|Our state championship trophy on Saturday. |
Both my boys in that picture.
And yes there is a bigger story there -
part of a very long
one to tell later about both teams.
They also knew that we gave up a World Championship to be honest to them two years ago. The 1st captain asked us to lie that our robot was broken so the local high school team (2nd captain) wouldn't pick us so we could be on their team for the eliminations (The dishonest team went on to win it all). My son came up to me and told me. I looked him in the eye and asked him what he chose. He said he said no and went to the local high school team and told them it would be an honor for them to be on their alliance. We had just started repairing our relationship with them and doing a backhanded thing would kill it. So we teamed up with them and lost with honor.
It seems our fates are interwoven no matter what. They were so excited to win the state championship together. We had known what problems they were having with their robot as they could trust us to come to our booth and get the repair parts which we happily gave them.
It shows that sometimes you need to trust others and you need to stick to your morals. All great lessons our kids have learned as I have stepped out of that role - they make the right choices naturally themselves. And as you have recently seen in the 'snow posts', they came to work at our house (and spoiler alert - while their robot didn't do as well as normal during the competition - they made it to Worlds anyways and we were screaming and hooting for them when they did).
So this bonding makes all the more sense when you know the coach. As I said - the stories behind the story. Jeff is the most beloved STEM teacher in the high school where all the students go on to amazing schools and the parents are engineers from MIT. That is a pretty hard role to be in - to gain the respect of the parents and students who know their stuff. Jeff is laid back, terribly talented and has just the right tone with all these budding geniuses. And his courses rock! My son loves him. His wife always travels with us all to these away competitions and has her service dog with her. I had never asked her what the service he is performing but she is a really nice lady to chat with. So it was really a surprise to learn that she and her dog were the subject of a major documentary this year. Jeff had mentioned it during our Worlds adventure last year - so we asked more about it.
Adele was the world's first cardiac service dog - literally saving Marty's life on a daily basis from her rare heart condition. But dogs age and Adele needed to retire. The question was if a new dog could be found with this extraordinary skill to save Marty's life daily from the cardiac disorder and could Marty trust the dog so she could continue the new expanded life that Adele had given her. The documentary is about this transition. Of course Jeff takes a prominent role in the film. Their robot team was treated to a premier of the film on the bus ride to St. Louis. We haven't been able to get tickets as a team to the two showings locally - but it just came out on iTunes and we have a movie date for the extended teams next week to watch it together - so we understand the characters behind our biggest robot rivals and neighbors.
|Documentary about the wife of Lexington High's Robotics|
coach and her extraordinary service dog
So rent the film and watch it - especially if you like dogs! And you will know that the life of those in the film is interwoven with mine on weekends at competitions where we share the task of teaching 70 kids between us to be good people as well as learn robotics.
You can embroider while watching it - until the tears start to flow!