Yesterday I finally took the opportunity to attend the FIRST Robotics Competition held at Gull Lake High School. My friend’s son is pit captain for Team Stryke Force, and another friend was a judge for the first time and was trying to convince his company to start its own team. But really, teams came from various parts of the state to take part, and as might be expected, the area around the gymnasium and cafetorium was packed! Between the time that the preliminary matches ended and knockout matches began, every seat in that cafetorium was packed with hungry teens (fortunately breakfast had me sated), and finding an empty spot in the bleachers to watch matches was daunting.
But what I took away from the event more than the crux of the competition (which is saying something as the robots and the game are impressive) was the enthusiasm displayed by the teams and their supporters. It was such a joy to watch these kids lend their cheers during the matches, and while I may have sarcastically derided it on Twitter, it was truly entertaining to know songs like “YMCA” and “Macarena” haven’t fallen out of fashion with their generation. And while Team Stryke Force itself got knocked out after its alliance was swept in the quarterfinal round and didn’t pick up any further awards, I couldn’t help but stay through to the end. It’s inspiring to see them all support each other. If all this talk I hear of our next generation being doomed really has any credence, I didn’t see it at all at Gull Lake High.