Year Three musings continued…
(1) As I look back on those early years it amazes me to remember just how humble the beginnings of FIRST were. Here we were in our third year as a team which would have been the 7th year of FIRST and there were “only” 5 regional events in the entire country (Houston, Chicago, New Brunswick, NJ, Detroit and Manchester, NH) … these were followed up by the national championship at Epcot Center, Disney World. In 2017, we have more competitions available in New England than existed in the entire country in 1998.
(2) Like all teams searching for an identity, we had been around long enough that we starting thinking about “a name.” Our robots had been named “Spectrum”, “Bad Dog”, and now “Sharpie” and our team numbers had changed all three years as well…to this day I cannot remember our team number in year one. We were 101 during the Bad Dog year and 69 in our first year with The Gillette Company. A handful of students and mentors went in to the State House sometime during this third year and as we sat around waiting we started brainstorming…my memory wants to give credit to Andrew Mauriello for the christening of the team acronym that has endured time – HYPER (Helping Youth Pursue Engineering and Robotics) …the beginnings of a consistent identity were born.
(3) Yeah…about that team number. There are two topics/questions that I have been asked enough where I should just make pamphlets so I can pass them out when asked. One of them goes something like “Oh….so you guys are like Battlebots” (maybe a future musing) and the other is “What’s with your team number?” The truth is simple and it goes along with the theme of “identity.” For years, FIRST registered teams and gave them a team number that changed (it may have been numbered as teams registered or numbered alphabetically per year – I am not sure)….in short, team numbers were not an identity as they varied.
Our third year (first with The Gillette Company), we ended up #69 on the list and didn’t think twice until the following year when FIRST came out with a great idea – let’s let veteran teams KEEP their number so they can use it to help identify themselves from year to year and give rookie numbers higher and higher numbers…it just so happened that the year prior to this implementation, we were team 69 and so FIRST Team HYPER 69 was “born.” We have been HYPER (in name at least) and Team 69 since 1998 – our identity.