Last weekend there was a wonderful free choice learning event at Lincoln City Oregon – The Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition. It was so much fun to watch and perform the role of judge. This is an event that is sponsored by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center and numerous local and national sponsors. The most interesting thing to me is the level of excitement that surrounds these events from all involved. However today I am going to write about one particular participant from last Saturday’s event. This particular sophomore chaired his team for the Rovers portion of the competition which meant they were competing at the level to win the only slot to move forward to the international competition and prize money to help offset costs. This particular participant had a serious of events on Saturday that would make any person, young or old most likely walk away from the competition. In my mind his actions truly embodied what it means to be a good sport, but the aspects of free choice learning.
First of all during the debriefing it was clear that another team his team was competing against had not brought all their materials nor had they read the rules. I instantly offered to share his supplies and the printed out materials with them which he was not required to do. When the head judge said he did nto have to do that, the instructions were clear online, he said it is all for learning and fun isn’t it – I’m I allowed to share. We said sure. Next thing, his team members did not show up. This meant that he was instantly disqualified if he did not have at least one more person with him “on deck” for the trails and for the competition. He enlisted the help of one of his family members. The judges told him that he still mostly would not advance as the team had changed from the date of submission. He said ok, but can I still go through the event. Yes was the answer. Next his ROV did not meet specs. He was given 20 minutes to alter it – he did it passed. He proceeded with the trails and placed higher then I actually thought his ROV could achieve. Impressive driving for the limited machine. However this is not all, he watched other competitors, cheered the younger competitors on. Walked around and read the various posters that other teams produced and encouraged the other teams throughout the event. When chatting with him, he remarked about how much fun this was and how much he was learning. All on his own choice! He didn’t win, he didn’t make the paper, but his actions stood out enough that he was voted to receive a Spirit Award that he did not know even existed. Congratulations – “Abandoned Ship”