We met up at Logan Airport, squealing and shouting, at five thirty in the morning. Today was going to be like no other day. The Day Dragons were officially on their way to Detroit! Practically no one bothered to bring a check-in bag, but instead carried their own personal carry-ons.
Very quickly, we breezed through security and found ourselves waiting at gate A-9, our flight to Detroit. Nearby, there was a Starbucks™ (a cafe that would become a usual breakfast in Detroit) and another restaurant. Depending on our tastes, we went to respective places to eat, then found a nice place to sit. The coaches, being our dads, took soooo many pictures, and took even MORE when we met the PixiStix.
The PixiStix were the other team from Massachusetts, another all girls team, sporting grey sweaters with their logo on their shoulders. We shook hands with them and gossiped about what it would be like in Detroit, what the pool would be like, and what our booths looked like.
As interested as we were in making friends, we analyzed how friendly they were with one another (to see if we could guess their core values score) and the size of the box that carried their robot. They were probably doing the same to us. All girls teams are very competitive.
In fact, turned out they were on our flight! We chatted a bit, and went back to sitting and listening to the soundtrack to (one of our) favorite musicals, the Greatest Showman.
Then, Coach Keith surprised us. He brought a plastic bag, with a grin on his face that could only mean one thing. He opened the bag.
Journals. Tiny, colored journals. They came with tiny, colored pens, and everyone grabbed one. They were to document our experiences, since going to Detroit would be one of the most sensational and breathtaking things any of us would ever experience. We would make our friends, family, sponsors, and Massachusetts proud.
A little while (and a lot of pictures) later, we were settled in the plane.
Miranda sat with Esha, Allison and Kavya sat together, and Hannah and Anika were next to each other. To our delight, there were TVs on the plane! TVs, which had games, and all the newly released movies and shows, LIKE THE GREATEST SHOWMAN! A few of us watched it again (it never gets old) and a few of us played the games. See, all you had to do was enter your name (or whatever name you wanted to be) and you could invite players from other seats to play a game. Some of us ended up playing a giant, heated game of I Spy (probably disturbing all the grown-ups around us).
We did homework, read, wrote in our new journals, and had a blast. Being on a plane with your friends is one of the best things in life, right up there with robotics.
We landed very smoothly, and felt our heartbeats accelerating quickly. We grabbed our carry-ons from the stow-away bins overhead, and single filed out of the plane into the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. To our surprise and amazement, there was even a mini, red TRAIN in the airport!
Our cheeks hurt from smiling because the day was here. Actually here. The following day, we would have the judging, and the day after that, the robot rounds. We were ready to take on the world.
Until we got to the hotel.
Nearly nothing could compare to the disappointment we felt when we heard the words, “No, we do not have a pool,” come from the mouth of the receptionist lady. Our hearts sank and we cursed and yelled to each other about how unfair it was the the Marriott Hotel didn’t have a pool. So much for our matching bathing suits. Oh well.
That did not mean that we didn’t have an adventure, though. There were seventy (yes, SEVENTY) floors in the hotel, and the Day Dragons were about to make use of them. It started out as fun and lighthearted, until we split up. Then it became an extremely exciting game to find our way back. Using Face-time, we were able to see each other’s locations, and we stayed in pairs. 90% of the floors didn’t have much other than rooms, but the 68th floor had a huge window, and we could see all of Detroit, including the center to which we would go for the competitions.
The first floor was mostly a car show, with beautiful cars lined up like supermodels, gleaming from the lack of bird-poop and squashed bugs on the windshield. They also had a hall where it showed what the kinds of engines were, with cross sections and real models. It was fantastic for us to learn, since we are so into robotics already!
The third floor had all the restaurants and the lobby. Yes, this was the place that had Starbucks™, the place we would get breakfast every morning of our stay.
But the twenty-eighth floor would be the most important. We got rooms 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15, and we would be living there for our stay! The rooms were nice, with two beds and a TV across from it, and the bathroom into the wall right next to the door with a nice shower, bathtub, and hairdryer.
However, the most important place in our entire trip to Detroit would be the Cobo Center. A massive, sprawling building with arenas for robot matches the size of ballrooms. From the hotel, it was only about a five minute’s walk- and an enjoyable one too.
We would sing, run, and fool around on our way to the center, however, when we reached, we would act dignified. After all, we are the legendary Day Dragons. 😉
We followed the signs for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) to get to our pit area, where we would set up our booth after getting badges with our names on them. We were booth number 16. We brought out the huge tent that Coach Keith had found for us, and strung lights through it. Then, we put huge white sheets at the back of our booth so the booth was like a room, after draping the US and Massachusetts flags on the sides. We then took some of our boxes covered in sheets and propped our posters on them in the back. Miranda and Esha made these gorgeous dragon garlands which we hung underneath our Day Dragons banner.
After finishing the set up of our booth, we talked to the Norwegian team next door. They were a lovely team, with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. They were called the Aqua Heroes, and we even took a test about Norway and their team. If we did well, we got a caramel chocolate or a Norwegian gummy candy. If not, we got fish oil pills!
We kept looking around and saw teams from all the way across the world, like Korea and India! Most of the teams had handouts or pins, so our badges were loaded with multicolored pins of all shapes and sizes.
When we finished socializing with fellow robot lovers, we headed home, back to the hotel, skipping and laughing. Tomorrow would be the judging, and that was very important, so we had to be well rested. After a delicious dinner at the restaurant Granite City, we fell into a deep sleep.