Rapid React presented by The Boeing Company for sponsorship reasons, is the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) game for the 2022 season. The game is themed around transportation as part of the FIRST-wide FIRST Forward theme for 2021-2022.
Rapid React is played by two alliances of three teams each, with each team controlling a robot and completing specific actions in order to score points. The game revolves around both alliances shooting inflatable balls known as Cargo into a central Hub and climbing within their Hangars at the end of the match. The overall objective of each match is to score more points than the opposing alliance before the match ends. More information found on Wikipedia.
We started last year with a lot of excitement and a considerable gap in knowledge and experience after two hiatus years of the COVID pandemic. After the kickoff, designing and building the robot proved to be more challenging than we expected. Our four veteran members only had one year of real competition experience during their first year before the pandemic.
By taking a step back, realizing our capabilities with the time we had, and realizing we’d only get through this by working together, we were able to make our robot ready for the Heartland Regional. With all of us new to the FRC competition and the few hiccups we endured during our build season, we started the Heartland regional with no experienced drive team. Our coaches gave those who wished to drive a chance to experience during our first qualification matches. As we progressed, our coaches identified and formed our primary drive team. We can proudly say we had an all-girl drive team at Heartland regional. They did one heck of a job learning on the job and getting us noticed by the number-one seed team at Heartland regional. Ratchet Rocker 1706 and Broncobot 1987 invited us to join the number one alliance during alliance selection. We graciously accepted the generous invitation. Along with our alliance teams, we pulled through the finals round victoriously, which earned our team a ticket to the FRC World Championship in Houston, Texas, in April of 2022.
Getting to World proved to be quite another challenge for us. We had to overcome two significant challenges to get to Houston for World Championship. The first challenge is financial funding for the trip. We had to frantically raise funds to cover our trip as travel expenses for the whole is no small feat to the dwindling budget we had to operate our team. Fortunately, many sponsors stepped in to help us raise enough funds to afford the whole team the experience of the FIRST Robotics World Championship for the first time. The second challenge caused our coaches more headaches than they would admit. It is a miracle neither one ended up with an ulcer or PTSD. The pandemic has done more damage than we imagine. As we worked on arranging for a charter bus to take our team on the trip, we learned that many charter bus companies had closed their doors due to the pandemic. It was an arduous process that lasted until mid-afternoon, the day we set to leave for Houston to secure our transportation.
We could have finished better at World. Our lack of experience and funding shined through at World. We learn very quickly at the event that we still have a long way to go to match up with the stability and innovation of a number of the teams in the World. We met many teams from different parts of the World. We collaborated and competed against teams worldwide. We had a blast, and the experience will help shape our team into a better team.