ST. LOUIS—Science and technology have become a sport and student teams from across the country have spent months raising money and designing robots together.
All that work is culminating at the FIRST Robotics Competition this weekend. This is where sports and science collide.
“Sometimes I’ll get people who ask me ‘hey what sport do you play’ and I’ll say robotics,” said Ben Gorr, of Austin.
The FIRST Robotics Championship is the Olympics of engineering. Thousands of students from all around the world come to battle their bots in this high-adrenaline setting.
“We didn’t know how large, and now that we see how large, it’s kind of terrifying just seeing the amount of people here and all of the different robots and the amount of hard work is amazing,” said Noah Pelham, of San Antonio.
After six weeks building their robots, comes the fun part of putting their creations to the test.
“It’s a really strong mental sport. If you have the best strategy, you can win the game,” said Sean Buzhinskiy, of Brooklyn NY.
This year’s game has a medieval theme with no shortage of action. But it’s about more than just winning.
“We get to talk to a lot of cool teams, we get to learn from other teams, it’s also a big learning experience. It’s also amazing to see our robot competing against other powerhouse teams,” said Tanisha Paul, of Charlotte, NC.
Unlike most sports, what’s unique about robotics is the promotion of “gracious professionalism”, where teams help out their competitors in a show of good sportsmanship.
“One match we might be playing against a team and the other match we might be with them, so we’re all here to have fun. We’re here to compete, but it’s very friendly,” said Gorr.
The FIRST Robotics Championship wraps up Saturday. You can track teams or just follow along at FirstChampionship.org.