VEX IQ Worlds

Emily R., Staff Writer

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The biggest building you’ve ever been in. The endless fields of red, green, and blue rings.
The English mixed with the Spanish, the Mandarin with the Arabic. Where are you? VEX IQ Worlds, of course!
Now that you’re one of 400 teams— not 30, you’re even more excited about what’s going to happen. Come Sunday afternoon, you are in your pit, setting up your display boards, handouts, and practice field. You gaze around at the Louisville Expo Center you know you’re never going to be able to navigate, and let out a sigh of elation. You have worked on your orange and blue robot since September, and now you’re here! Even if you walk away with nothing but a participation medal, you know that all your hard work is about to pay off. Big time.
First up: opening ceremony in Freedom Hall! Great— if you can find it. Next, Girl Power discussion at 5:30… But wait! You have a practice match at 5:45. And where’s the team you need to meet with? Pulling everything out of the box to find that one of your machines broke on the plane; waiting for over an hour to get tacos from a food truck. You’re always late for something. It’s stressful, but that’s the fun of every robotics competition. Whew! The day’s over. Wait… that was only Sunday! Full days tomorrow and Tuesday… this is going to be the experience of a lifetime!
Bright and early the next morning, you meet with the alliance team for your first match. Turns out they’re from China.. and they don’t really speak English! After trying to tell them several times that you can hit the bonus tray, you give up and say “Let’s run a match.” Driving your robotics let you communicate with that team the way words can’t. You marvel at the power of actions to express thoughts. Time for your match. You score 254, your highest of the whole tournament! Wow… you hope you’re paired with more teams that don’t speak English— that was so fun!
Next up, trying to fit in six individual runs amid ten teamwork matches. Midday on Monday, you start to think “Could they not have spread this tournament over four days?” Off to a STEM project interview, the judges come to your workstation with one team member gone, running out of time before a match— things could not be crazier! But hey, a whole lot of excitement. You score less in the matches after your initial amazing 254 points, but you don’t really care. The experience is enough.
Tuesday morning, after two hectic days, you are surprised to feel sad that it is almost over. During finals, you wait anxiously for your name to be called to win an award. No Potomac team has ever won an award at VEX IQ Worlds! You wait… but no award. Oh well, you gave it your all, and you’re proud. You did not even think you were going to States, and here you are in Kentucky! You’re absolutely exhilarated. That’s the feeling you get from Robotics Worlds.