Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ready, Set, Derby (Pine Wood Derby)

Being an Eagle Scout and now having both my boys in scouts the Pine Wood Derby is something to take very serious. Father and boys, mostly fathers spend hours working on these small little blocks of wood trying to transform them to the most perfect, most aerodynamic, fastest cars known to mankind. These traits are passed down from father to son, Eagle to Webelos for generations to come. NOT Ok the facts and only the facts please I had another father help me with the "Rough cut" Anne spent 95% of the time getting the cars sanded and painted and made perfect with a surprising amount of time spent with the boys helping and crafting the PWD car themselves. note that it was Anne and not me! Oh it gets better I was left to work on the axles (Nails) and wheels. The three of us borrowed a dremel tool to smooth and get the final stages of the car ready. We finished the night before the "Weigh In" and felt good show up with our PWD cars ready to go. Weigh In This was an event all by itself. We had 4 stations that needed to pass before we turned the cars in to be held for two days in a secure location and only displayed minutes before the actual races would start. Station 1- Getting the name entered and the weight passed Jackson- Pass but the car was 4.4oz of a 5oz max Josh- Pass but the car was 4.7oz of a 5oz max Station 2 Making sure the car was the proper height Jackson- Fail the bottom weights were hitting and needed to be removed Josh-Fail the bottom weights were hitting and needed to be removed Station 3 Making sure all 4 wheels were touching and set properly Jackson Pass Josh Fail we needed to bend one wheel down(NOTE THIS BEND IDEA STINGS ME LATER) We went to the Father reject corner where other fathers were with their heads bowed in shame and only soft words were spoken. We used hot glue guns and made the best of what we could. We jumped back in line and here are what the cars looked like as turned them in. This is Josh's car, the weights were on the bottom originally Jackson's Car ">< Race Day We showed up with a few minutes to spare and were surprised to see the school gym transformed into the race zone. We took our seats and participated in the National Anthem and were jazzed and ready to race. Jackson was first and on his 1st heat of 4 he took 1st. Yes he was down the track before 3 other suckers and I made sure to smile and look at as many fathers as I could. The second and third time down he took a very respectable 2nd place. The 4th time he was 3rd and I just about stated to approach to track official to complain about such a overlooked mistake since my sons car was far superior to other but was distracted by Lexi needing to go to the bathroom. The bathroom took precedence and by the time I was back and even more motivated my window had passed. They were done with the Webelos 2 and were about the name the winners. Jackson took 7th out of 16 boys in his troop and I was extremely pleased with these results. Who says you need to be an engineer to win...Sales guys who only do a small amount of the work can compete with the best of them. Jackson felt great and took a few pictures from fans before heading off the play with some of his friends. Warrior Josh was next 22 boys were facing off the take the title of Bears #1. Josh was in heat 6 and as the first 5 went by I was feeling really confident. I was that father ready to see my sons PWD car kill the others. Heat #6 was started and the cars were released. I was filming the race just in case the local news needed my footage for the leading 5pm story. As the first car zoomed to a stop and the 2nd and 3rd were close behind a strange feeling came over me. I felt light in my knees as I saw Josh's car creep over the finish line a good second behind his other 3 competitors. I looked down just with a growing pit in my stomach and was able to meet eyes with Josh trying to silently ask "What happened". I mouthed the words it will get better and for the next 3 heats until he was up again I was silent. I could say nothing and considered sitting down a few times to avoid fainting at the thoughts of what was happening. Heat#2 started just the same, I held my breath and as the cars started down the track the horror only got worse. Josh's car did not make it to the finish, one of the scouts had to give it a push to the end so it would register REJECT for all to see. Josh was in tears by this time and I did the only thing that I new could help. I ran and pushed the track over in a rage and ran out never to be seen again....I pulled him aside and held him as he cried into my arms. He did not care about loosing but that the car needed help to get to the finish. I failed him as a parent, a scouter, an Eagle Scout. I am a failure and need to be tarred and feathered and stoned to a slow death. We made it through the next two rounds with not much communication between us. Jackson was trying to do anything possible to make his little brother feel better and was able to do so. What Jackson did not know is that he needed to fix the pain I was feeling, today I was the worst father around. We left shortly after and I took the kids out to a lunch at Red Robin to sooth our souls. We fought the best battle we could and came out with some scars that will take some time to heal. Maybe they will never heal but we will do our best to hold our heads high. Today will build character, and we will prevail. We will be victors next year for sure, I have already started working on the cars for next year. Troop 317 will never see PWD cars like the ones we will show up with next year. Watch and see! My little girl Keeping it real! My little rock star Love you Anne, T