On Sunday, the 8th of November, the first Adelaide regional was held at Pulteney Grammar School in the city. Eager to be a part of a FIRST program and lend a hand before the FTC events, I had decided to volunteer at the event as a referee.

I arrived at around 8 in the morning to be greeted by some of the other volunteers. While it was relatively quiet at the time, some teams were already starting to meet up at the venue. For the first hour, Rob, the head referee, led us through some last-minute rule changes and clarifications. In the lead up to and throughout the open ceremony, the excitement was building - in little time, the school would be filled with proud students as they watched their robots compete in the matched and showed off their projects and designs to a panel of inspiring judges.

There were a good handful more referees than were needed on the day. That’s why initial our table had two referees on scoring (one onto the computer system and one onto a paper sheet) and took the position of team relations. While the field was being reset and scores being checked, I greeted the team that was about to play at our table - my goal was to make them feel excited, but also comfortable! I would also help the teams out with any last-minute on-field problem-solving.

Halfway through the event, it was realised in a quick volunteer meeting that our MC had left. The head ref asked if anyone would like to jump into the MC role and I happily agreed! My first few rounds MCing were a bit rusty, however a few rounds in, and I was absolutely loving commentating the games!

Overall, the vibe at the event was one filled with pride and passion. Watching the teams have such a great time competing with, but more so making friends with the other teams really puts smiles on everyone’s faces. Everyone was so proud of each other, contributing to a very rewarding experience for all. You really need to go to a FIRST event to see the true value coopertition, and gracious professionalism 🙌🙌 WOO!