As I stepped out onto the Esports Arena stage to play our eighth finals match, I focused solely on the task at hand. I tuned out the roaring crowd and the bright lights to center myself around the challenge I shared with my five teammates: beat an opposing team of six players in a game of Blizzard’s hit first-person shooter game, Overwatch.
Wait, hold on. What does this have to do with robotics?
Here’s the thing – it wasn’t an ordinary day at the Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California. That weekend, 12 FRC teams from all over Southern California had gathered to compete in the Cooler Master Invitational – a competitive Overwatch tournament for FIRST robotics teams with a total prize pool of $40,000.
That weekend, we were more than just W.A.R. Lords. Our robot operator played the hero “Zarya”, a Russian weightlifting champion who could lift tanks with her bare two hands. Our head of software and strategy became Lucio, a Brazilian DJ sliding around on roller blades. And I was no longer the head of business and outreach – instead, I was Pharah, an Egyptian rocketeer with the mission of protecting the world.
At the end of it all, we walked away with $2,000, having been eliminated by the eventual champions in the quarterfinals. However, the money was just one part of the experience; what really made the tournament great was competing with FRC teams from around California in an electric atmosphere matched only by true FRC Events.
Head of Business and Outreach