Yesterday was the Cub Scout Pack Pinewood Derby. Last year August designed a really cool car, spent a lot of time (relatively) on it and wound up coming in dead last in every heat. He did get an award for having a cool car, like an actual award, but because we weren’t able to attend the pack meeting, he never got it. This year would be different.
The first difference was the amount of time spent on his car. Due to a number of scheduling conflicts, this year his involvement with the Cub Scouts has been pretty negligible. It’s not his fault, really. This has more to do with his parents. I feel bad for letting him down over the year, and when the time to work on the car, we had even less time than usual.
Add to this the fact that I’m as handy-capable as a blind amputee, well, you can tell where this is going.
One of the other parents even had to handle the painting and putting on of wheels. I dropped him off at a meeting where they worked on cars and I had other obligations. It’s a far cry from what his concept was originally, but it was mostly race ready.
While I wasn’t able to spend time with him to build the car as much as I wanted (let alone get him to all the meetings) I was able to hit the shop and pick up some accessories. The morning before the race we added the final details to his car – the spoiler on the back and the stickers. No, it’s not much, but again, this year we just didn’t have time.
I learned my lesson, however, from last year. I had not purchased weights for his car, which is why it came in last every heat. This year I picked up some weights to bring his racer a lot closer to the official weight limit. Pinewood Derby is essentially just an exploration of gravity and friction in various amounts, and this year I was determined that there would be some modicum of progress over the performance last year.
Checking in, however, it was clear just how plain and ordinary August’s car was compared to everybody else’s. I felt bad, but he seemed to be taking it in stride, for which I was grateful. All I wanted was for him to not come in last every heat as last year. Even coming in second for one heat would be nice.
This last picture here is of August. It was supposed to be of the three cars in one of the heats coming down the track. I never could get a good picture of the cars coming down the track this year. That wound up being a good thing, actually, because of the reason why. August’s car this year was fast. The first heat it competed in it came in first place.
We could have ended it there and I would have been happy. The goal I had hoped for had been exceeded in the first round. August competed in two more heats and did well in all of them – well enough to come in third overall. This year has been difficult but there have been plenty of rewards as well.