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 pinewoodderby.org 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.