The Rules of a Game

A week or so ago, one of my girl [space] friends asked me a question I have never been asked about robotics. She asked “if you were able to change some of the rules of the game, what would those rules be?” I found this question to be particularly puzzling and after some deep thought about what I might change, I realized I had spent so much time thinking about the question that I had forgotten to respond to her text at all. I then quickly replied that it was a hard question to ask her, and I turned the question around, asking her what rules she would change about tennis (she plays on the JV team I believe) if she were able to. She had no issue responding and quickly delivered a response about some rule she would get rid of (this went completely over my head, as I have never played tennis).
Although our conversation did not return to the question, I found myself considering it occasionally during meetings and while we were looking up whether or not certain materials were legal. Despite my consideration for certain rules that some might consider picky or hypocritical, I always ended up being reminded of an interesting Minute Physics video I had watched a few months prior.

As the video explains, sports are defined by the arbitrary rules that their creators make up. Changing a rule – even a small one – changes the game. I asked Danny the same question not long ago, and he replied with certainty that he would get rid of the size constraint. While yes, I certainly have had issue with this rule myself, it is still a crucial rule to the FTC game! This rule in particular is one that has stayed relatively constant over the years; making it even more essential to the game’s overall feel and strategy. Sure – changing the rules of the game may seem like a great idea and may even make some sense in certain cases. But given the opportunity, I’ll take the game as is.

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