Last weekend i attended a high school “Battle Bot” competition. In case you’ve not heard of the Battle Bots, there are some nice examples to be found here, and video from the televised version here. This is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you are a lifeless geek want to support enterprising students – and see remote-controlled weaponized mini-tanks knock the shit out of each other.
We arrived* in time for the finals, a single elimination tournament pairing up winners from the morning prelim competition. Sitting ringside, the battles raged a few feet from in front of us – we were protected only by a wall of plexiglass. Techno-music blared as the competitors lined up their ‘bots, grasped the remote control consoles and buzzed forward into battle.
Had i been on the parental organizing team, i would have been the mother in the back, raising funds through illegal wagers. The students were brilliant – teams from each school wearing matching shirts and safety goggles (of course) when nearing the arena. i was blown away by the sophistication of the design and construction! This was big, sparking, noisy fun!
Given my bug-eyed, salivating fascination obvious engagement in the festivities, my companion suggested that i sponsor my own renegade team next year. Fabulous idea! i set to work planning my approach!
The team would be enhanced through diversity – i could bring more of the general student body into the process, using students from band, music and theater. Our ‘bot would be a much more refined ‘bot than the nasty, brutish things – a ‘bot about town! Perhaps wearing fashionable gear, color coordinated weapons and performing to Broadway show tunes instead of techno or death metal.
My student competitors would be wearing costumes from the theater department – perhaps with an Elizibethan theme one year, and a 1950’s sock hop theme the next. Students from the culinary arts program would be brought in to provide catering for our team, and the cosmetology crew would provide spa services. Competition is tough, and students would need nourishment and relaxation… Bringing a full service support staff teaches a valuable lesson in strategic thinking!
My friend pointed out that this team would instantaneously become the target of ridicule for every other team. “Precisely!” i answered! Which means they’d never see it coming when the fluffy ‘bot facade melted away, revealing a titanium and kevlar “death ‘bot”, shooting flames and sharpened projectiles at the unprepared lesser-bots. Along the lines of the parade float in Animal House, the “lady ‘bot” would mercilessly destroy all comers – and perhaps bust up a few stereotypes along the way!
Fuzzy cell phone shot of arena – during the six ‘bot “rumble” – a grudge match among those who’d lost in the early rounds! Shame you can’t see the smoke and sparks flying…
* Much to my surprise, we were the only people in attendance not parenting one of the competitors. Equally surprised we weren’t arrested for being stalker/molesters… And yes, it’s kind of an odd date, but it works for me… 🙂