The Edward-Jones Dome (where the competition was held) as seen from the Gateway Arch

The music was blaring.  My heart beat quickened.  It was crowded.  Yes, I was in the mosh pit at a concert!  But how does that relate to FLL or FIRST?  Well, it was the special concert at the FIRST Championship!  But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.  In the mean time, let me start at the beginning of my Championship experience.

My FRC team (3132, Thunder Down Under) and I left Sydney the day after the tornado struck the St. Louis airport.  When we took off from Sydney the St. Louis airport still wasn’t open and we were a bit worried about how we would be getting to the competition.  Thankfully, the people in St. Louis did a phenomenal job of cleaning up the debris and getting ready for the World Festival.  When we arrived in St. Louis, not only was the airport reopened, we even had a St. Louis tourism representative there (wearing a FIRST vest so we could recognise him) to help us in any way we needed.

After a few days touring around St. Louis, doing some shopping and getting over jet-lag, the competition started.  Thursday and Friday were two fun filled, crazy days!  We had so much fun getting to talk to teams from around the world.
Then, came the concert on Friday night!  This was one of my favourite moments from the competition.  The concert featured Willow Smith and the Black Eyed Peas who performed some of their most well known songs.  During at least one song, they even changed the lyrics to focus on FIRST and STEM education!  If you would like to see the concert, make sure you watch the special about FIRST on the ABC (American Broadcasting Company, not the Australian Broadcasting Company) on August 14th at 7PM.

Signs in downtown St. Louis welcomed everyone to Championships

On the way back to my hotel from this “half time show,” I got to thinking.  FIRST’s vision is

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

Dean Kamen, Founder

What better way to do that then to show us FIRSTers that even pop stars think we’re cool!  The concert was their way of saying that exercising the muscle between our ears is the coolest thing we can be doing!