Friday, January 23, 2015

Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby race is one of the biggest events of the year for Cub Scouts and this was Z's first year to participate. With help form an adult, the scouts are expected to build their own car out of wood. Sure you start with a kit, but it's more than just something you would find at Ikea with minimal assembly required. They actually have to carve, drill, nail, and paint the thing. 

I was so happy to see these two working as a team. J and Z have a wonderful relationship, but I know J hates how much he has to be away since being in school full time.

The pack has a tune up meeting the week of the race to weigh in and make sure your car meets all the specific qualifications. 

They expect a lot out of these little Tiger Cubs. It's not just about assembling a car to roll down a track. They are expected to craft it in a way that will improve the performance level. So they are not only learning basic carpentry, but they are also implementing lots of scientific components like momentum and aerodynamics. You would be surprised at how much goes into these races, unless you have been a part of Pinewood Derby. In which case, none of this surprises you at all. 

The track is on a slope like this. 

They line up 6 cars at a time and all of the names of those on deck show up on a big screen. 

That's Z's batman car in the middle. At the end of the track is a timer that shows the speed and rank of each car. They race multiple times and at the end they average all the times to find the winner.

I was worried about Z not ranking very high. They put so much effort into all of it and I knew he would be disappointed if he lost, but I just wanted him to learn good sportsmanship. We would always pray about the upcoming derby day and I would try to really emphasize "Help Z to do his best" "Let your will be done on the race track" "We commit to having a good attitude and to be a light no matter what happens with Z's derby car". You might laugh at such a silly prayer, unless you have been a part of a Pinewood Derby. In which case, again, none of this surprises you. 

In the end Z actually got third place, so he did get a trophy and he was super proud. This isn't one of those everyone gets a trophy deals. Plenty of 6-10 year old boys were in tears over defeat that day. I am sure I will be wiping those tears away for another competition. We've been there before, but this time he beamed. 

His grandpa and dad were by his side for whole thing and I am sure this is a moment he is going to remember for a long, long time. 

Z has never participated in any sports or competitive activities yet, so I am really glad he got to have this opportunity. This quote taken directly from really sums it all up. "At the heart of this event's success is the process itself- bonds are strengthened as the Cub Scout partners with a  parent or adult mentor to design, carve, paint, weigh, refine, and race the car."

Win our loose, this was priceless bonding time for a dad and his first born son. It doesn't get much better than that.


Christine Leeb said...

So precious! I am a former science teacher so I'm the one doing things like that with our first born son. :-) It really is a wonderful process and a bonding experience together. Thank you for letting us in to this special time with your family!

Susan Shipe said...

I remember when my youngest was Z's age and in the Cubs. My new husband and he worked on that car and it was the connecting factor in the history of their lives. My cub is not 37 and his Derby car is still in his room, in a tin with some other special memorabilia. In all honesty, I can't remember if he won or placed in the competition but I know it taught him that he could trust and rely on his stepdad. Priceless!

Susan Shipe said...

is NOW 37 - but you knew what I meant!

Susan said...

What an awesome event for your son and husband to be part of. I like that the emphasis is on the mentor-mentee relationship. Congrats to your men for the great job they did.

Tara Ulrich said...

That's awesome that he got third place! Such great quality time father and son got to share. I remember the boys building pinewood derby cars when I was little.

rbcollicott said...

This event has stood the test of time. I can still recall participating in my own Pinewood Derby, roughly 60 years ago! Very special for Zion to have taken third place. save those pictures... Give my congrats to Zion and Jeremy.

The Flynnigan's said...

That is so freaking awesome! He looks so proud of himself and so does Daddy :)

blestbutstrest said...

Congratulations! I'm also glad that it wasn't one of those 'everybody gets a trophy deals'--because, you know what? that doesn't make anyone feel like a winner.