Today’s post is by Amy Heider Brown, Core Values Coach for Team #1670, the GreenValiants and four-time World Festival Core Values Judge.

I’d like to share a thought that might help calm new teams as we approach qualifiers. It’s also a question at the heart of Core Values.

I ask teams, “Are you ever directly competing with anyone or any team in FIRST® LEGO® League?” The answer is no.

Your competition is the obstacle on the board. Your competition is the real-world problem you are trying to solve. All you do on the day of a qualifier is bring your best. Your best robot. Your best explanations. Your best examples. Your best teamwork. You are COMPETING with no one. You are just offering the best you have, in the best way you can.

Can that best be improved? ALWAYS. But that’s not the issue. You do the best you can on that day, and then you look at how you did, and you learn from it.

The best team can freeze up. The least organized team can have everything work perfectly.

If the qualifier is the last event you attend this year, look at all that you learned! You stretched your knowledge of robots. You practiced presentations. You worked on a Innovation Project MANY degrees of difficulty higher than your grade level, and you expanded your (and others’!) knowledge of a problem facing the modern world! YOU ARE A HERO!


A trophy is a piece of plastic. The knowledge, tools and skills you build in FIRST LEGO League are a lever that YOU can use to move the world.


amy brown
Amy Heider Brown is a mom, a Core Values coach, and a four-time World Festival Core Values Judge (she calls herself a Core Values unicorn). When she and her husband Bob are not coaching the GreenValiants, hosting South Carolina FIRST LEGO League tournaments, or teaching rookie coaches, she is also a radio news anchor and musical theatre actress who will do Ursula on demand.