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The World Championships in Atlanta 09

April 18, 2009

If you were there, then you don’t need me to tell you that Atlanta was crazy amazing. But I’m going to say it anyway! ATLANTA WAS CRAZY AMAZING!!!

We started off our first day there by playing Frisbee at Centennial Park, across from our hotel, The Omni. We soaked up the southern sun and had lots of fun tossing around the Frisbee, trying not to hit innocent pedestrians as they walked by. Unfortunately, we did have a few close casualties, but there were no serious injuries inflicted. We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Hard Rock Café, where the staff serenaded team member Josh Gibbs for his birthday.

Day 2 was a bit more eventful. The practice matches commenced and our team did extremely well. Our star human player, Nick Mann (aka Little Mann) scored two super cells into opposing trailers, bringing our team to their feet to cheer loudly for him. During the day, our beloved English teacher Mrs. Kendzior, who was on vacation at the time, visited us. We enjoyed showing her our robot and all the reasons why we love robotics so much. Later, we had the last practice match of the day, and we rushed madly from the Georgia Dome to our hotel to get ready for that night’s RoboProm, hosted by Team 399. A majority of our team attended the event, the guys looking handsome and suave, the girls looking even more gorgeous than usual. At the dance, we broke out the glow sticks and danced till our feet hurt to tunes such as “Jump Around” by House of Pain or the ever-popular “Sandstorm” by Darude. The prom king and queen were crowned; the queen was a girl with a duct tape dress and the king was a mascot for the Liger Bots who had ice packs on the inside of his costume to keep him cool. A good time was had by all and when the night ended, we trudged reluctantly back to our hotel rooms to get ready for the next day.

Day 3 was when the real action started. Qualification matches began and we had a victory for our first match 90-36 after penalties, followed by a series of losses for all the matches following our first one. We ended the day with a record of 1-4-0. Despite our not-so-amazing record, and a few quarrels over what wasn’t going right with our team’s performance, we were happy to go eat dinner with our friends from Exploding Bacon in Centennial Park. A plethora of Chinese food and pizza awaited us, and we were eager to fill our plates. We spent the night playing Oink! Oink! BOOM! (Bacon’s version of the game Duck, Duck, Goose) and had a good laugh over the many spills that people took while trying to chase after others. Several mentors were BOOMed, even though they were sitting on the sidelines and we even had a few strangers wander over and join in on our revelry. We also celebrated Jamison Go’s birthday, who received an honorary GUS t-shirt as one of his presents. We were all sad when we had to leave our Bacon friends and go back to the hotel.

Day 4 began with a team cheer in the lobby to get everyone excited for our final competition day in Atlanta. We even broke out some dance moves as well. With our coffee and team spirit with us, we marched off in search of victory. As we filed into the pits with the rest of the awaiting teams, we made our presence known by cheering “2-2-8! Gus 2-2-8!” at the top of our lungs. We were pumped and ready to go. We lost our first match against team 86, team 364, and team 1625 with a final score of 58-60, but we didn’t let that discourage one bit. Our next match was against the undefeated team at the time, and we were determined to knock them off their pedestal. We, with the assistance of our alliance partners, team 1086 and team 364, beat the blue alliance with a final score of 74-56. We rejoiced all the way back to the pits, where we engaged in another enthusiastic team cheer. This time, Mr. Dutra shouted, “WHO BEATS THE UNDEFEATED?!” and we answered, “WE DO!!!!!!” In that moment, it seemed like everything was perfect. We had finally shown people our potential and that GUS is a force to be reckoned with. The alliance selections began, but sadly our team rep, Tina Dutra, never had the chance to say, “Team 228 graciously accepts.” Though disappointed and devastated, we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we had tried our best and had had fun while doing it. We then cheered on our Bacon friends until the final matches and awards and closing ceremonies began.

After the championships were officially over, we made our way over to Centennial Park for the wrap party. We were dismayed when it started to sprinkle rain on our party, but thankfully the storm clouds passed promptly. We had fun going on the carnival rides, watching people attempt to sing at karaoke, and conversing with people from other teams. At the end of the night, the thunderous boom of the fireworks served as a final farewell to the awesomeness that was Atlanta. The shimmering fireworks waved goodbye to us as we walked back to our hotel to pack and get ready to depart early the next morning.

Though we didn’t win the championships, we knew that the cliché “everyone is a winner” couldn’t be truer. Aside from having the time of our lives in the sunny south, we became closer as a team. Whether we learned that it is okay to “just dance” or we discovered that a little team spirit takes us a long way, we endured everything the competition had to throw at us as one team, united. We are GUS, Team 228, and we are proud of all that we accomplished in Atlanta ’09.

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