Twas the Night before Kickoff

Twas the night before kickoff, when all through the school
Not a creature was stirring not even a ghoul;
The manuals were downloaded on the computer with care,
In hopes that decryption keys soon would be there;
The students were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of drive systems danced in their heads;
And I in my safety glasses with a three-quarter inch wrench,
Had just settled down with some parts on my bench –
When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my stool to see what was the matter.
Away to the desk, I flew to my Mac,
Opened my browser, is security slack?
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Was pixelated by the camera we have there below
When, what see my tiring eyes with their gaze,
But an extra large crate, and eight tiny Segways
With a little old driver, so lively and keen,
I knew in a moment it must our Dean.
More rapid than the ship date his sponsors they came
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now! Boeing, now! DEKA, now! FedEx and Delphi,
“On! NASA, on! Baxter, on! GM and NI;
As game pieces before the matches reside,
When they meet with a robot, no longer can hide;
So up to the loading dock the Segways they flew,
With the crate full of parts – and Dean Kamen too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the dock
The door rolling open, what of the lock?
As I quit my browser, and was turning around,
In the workshop Dean Kamen came in with a bound.
He was dressed all in denim, to his ankles at least,
And his clothes were all tarnished with solder and grease.
A bundle of parts was flung on his back,
And he looked like a MechE getting ready to hack:
The gears – how they twinkled! The motors: how many?
The wire was like candy, the encoders, a penny;
The number thirty-five chain was drawn up like a bow,
And the tread of the wheels was as white as the snow;
The soldering iron he held tight in his teeth,
And the fumes they encircled his head like a wreath.
He built a square frame, and a Mecanum drive
That rolled back and forth like something alive:
It was lightweight and sleek, with pneumatics to boot,
And I smiled when I saw it attempting to shoot;
A click of a relay and a turn of its tread
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to the code,
Wired all the VIs; the cRIO did load,
And bringing his smartphone alongside his ear
And giving a nod, out the doorway he veered.
He sprang to his Segway, to his team gave a shout,
And away they all sped, I thought they’d wipe out.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove without fear –
Gracious Professionalism to all, and to all a great year!


Geoff Schmit
Naperville, Illinois
7 January 2011