I could just imagine the look on everyone’s faces if we lost this, the extremely hopeful seventh graders would be devastated. We made it this far, right? I said to myself. My mind still raced with questions; What would losing do to their confidence? Would they hate me? I had to push these thoughts aside, though they concerned me, because after all we were about to compete in one of the most important matches this season. This would determine our reputation going forward from now, the finals of the first Michigan competition. Hopefully, our hard work throughout the building season will pay off.
The massive wheels of our robot, that we worked for months on, spun uncontrollably as it shoved blocks and balls into the scoring area of the playing field. The robot could do it, and so could we. Constant coaching from our coach filled my brain as I quickly processed everything she was saying and did exactly as she wanted. All the peculiar thoughts running through my brain had to be forgotten for now, there was only one thing I needed to focus on, doing the best we can in this match.
All around me there are cheering teams shouting back and forth “Red alliance! Blue alliance!” Looking onto the field it is apparent that we are falling behind in points. My heart races and pounds my ears with the sound of it beating. The only way to make up our lost time and points is by climbing the multicolored, monstrous mountain during the endgame portion. As I timidly attempt to force our trembling robot up the mountain, the other team’s tiny robot seemed to be blocking our mountainous wheels from climbing up. Suddenly, I hear someone yelling behind me, “They’re blocking us!” Maggie, our driving coach, screamed to the referee, “That’s a penalty for them!”
The referee looked at her and stated, “It’s only blocking if they’re in the way for 5 seconds.” She groaned in frustration while I proceeded to attempt to maneuver around the other team’s robot.
A mix of fear and determination suddenly comes over me, I know that we need to win this match, Maggie screams over my shoulder “GO NOW!” as the alarm for end game begins. The controller slips around in my hand as I push forward the controls, Baby Boo, our robot, rushes up the mountain and up to the mid-zone. I could hear everyone cheering, but suddenly, it stopped. I looked over to see our teammate’s compact and capable robot had flipped over in the rush to get in the risky hanging position.
It was at this exact moment, I knew that we were gonners, there was no way that we could win now. A look of mortal terror came over me, there was nothing more that I had wanted than to win one of the competitions, and that chance had been shrunk down to barely a 10% chance. Dang it. I said to myself. The end of match bell blew, my heartbeat slowed, and I knew that we would know the results eventually.
As I walked back into the pit area, I looked up to see my teammates running towards me filled with hope, as a small, shallow smile grew on my face. “Don’t forget about any penalty points we could get!” my teammate Avani said to me with that positive attitude that I almost never had.
I smiled and said, “I guess it could happen.” We packed up our sparkling purple proton pit, the spinning atom taken down.
Soon enough the announcer says, “It’s time to announce the winner! All teams to the stands.” Fast as lightning, we rushed out to our spot in the stands eager for the results. “Blue alliance wins!” The stands erupted in a burst of cheers. We’d done it, winning this might not have been an obvious win, but we still worked extra hard and it definitely payed off. I looked around at my teammates, some were crying, some were still in shock, but most of all, we were all overjoyed as a group. I’ve learned from experience that working hard pays off, and this was just another example.
“Today might have been the start of competition season, but we’ve already met our first goal!” My mom said to the team filled with elation. I still couldn’t believe it, but it’d just happened because of our hard work.
The Purple Protons all gathered together for a team picture and said in sync, “Next stop, states!”