Sore losers are just part of life. But the Pleasant Run PantherBots, a team of mechanically-inclined fourth graders, found out just how bad sore losers can actually be.
The Pleasant Run PantherBots had just scored the big victory in the robotics challenge at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Ind., an event consisting of around 35 competing schools, and were making their way through the parking lot when several children from different school districts began chanting discriminatory slogans, including “go back to Mexico.”
Three of the five members of the PantherBots are Latino.
The taunting children apparently learned their discriminatory behavior from their parents, who also joined in.
According to USA Today, Diocelina Herrera, the mother of PantherBot participant Angel Herrera-Sanchez, described the ordeal, saying, “They were pointing at us and saying that ‘Oh my God, they are champions of the city all because they are Mexican. They are Mexican, and they are ruining our country.”
Side note: It’s hard to make the argument that Mexicans are ruining the country when they take first place in a highly competitive robotics contest.
The PantherBots showed they were the real winners by how their reaction to all the negativity.
According to the Independent, team leader Elijah Goodwin said that the negativity can’t compete with the reality of the situation, saying, “I think that they can talk all they want because at the end we’re still going to [the Vex IQ World Championship]. It’s not going to affect us at all. I’m not surprised because I’m used to this kind of behavior. When you have a really good team, people will treat you this way. And we do have a pretty good team.”
After the event, the PantherBots’ coach attempted to calm members of the winning team, but it was already too late.
According to USA Today, Lisa Hopper, coach of the PantherBots, talked about her concerns as she sat down with the team to talk about the unpleasant event: “I was afraid they would let it get in their heads and wig them out.” However, what she found was a level of resilience you’d expect from a winning team. “They said: ‘We know they are mean. We know they were jealous. We’re not going to let it bother us.’ One of our guys said ‘to take stuff like that and let it make you stronger.'”
Let’s hope the PantherBots can continue their success. The world championship takes place between April 23 to 25. The group recently raised more than $12,000 on this Go Fund Me Page, which is currently no longer accepting donations.