My hands tighten around the controller, my lips into a grimace of determination. The safety goggles makes my nose itch, but my focus is entirely on the robot in front of me. The announcer starts counting down and suddenly the robots are moving. Without user input, the robots begin to rove around the field, weaving in between each other and picking up the scoring elements and attempting to score. I wince at my teammate as our robot fails to score, and he returns the pained expression. All too fast, the buzzer rings and the robots momentarily stop, beginning to move again when the drivers slowly ease the joysticks forward.
I push too hard, too fast, and our robot nearly keels over. I wince again- damage to the robot at this point in the tournament would be catastrophic. Gravity pulls the robot back into position, and I begin to ease the robot forward. Its delicate arms begin to move as my teammate manipulates his controller, and the robot manages to cradle a ball in its arms.
I maneuver the robot into a scoring position when another robot smashes into our robot, throwing it off balance. The ball falls out of its grasp and the other robot blocks the pathway. I attempt to maneuver the robot around it, but the other robot mirrors my movements. Frustrated, I attempt to back out of the way, but the robot rams into ours again. I quickly drive our robot away from the aggressor and towards another ball.
The robot suddenly freezes up, unresponsive to the josticks’ movements. I release the joysticks and push it again to try to move the robot forward. It doesn’t move.I turn to face my teammate and his expression of fear mirrors mine- our robot was dead.The screen to our right displays the condition of our robot - not connected.
I turn to my teammates in the sidelines and shake...