My son Daniel is in Cub Scouts. A couple of months ago, he placed in the Pinewood Derby, winning second place in the Wolf Scouts. We had to pack up his car and seal it for the Blackhawk District’s Pinewood Derby. I remembered thinking – back in January – that at least it would be nice out by the time we raced in April.
So much for that prediction.
We drove to Pecatonica High School which is on the far side of Winnebago County, about 45 minutes from us. It seemed longer because we had to get up early and it was cold and gray outside. The snow flurries didn’t help either.
Everything was done by the book at the Pinewood Derby. The pack had kept Daniel’s car for the last couple of months. Daniel got his box and we waited in line so the Scoutmasters could log him in, log in his car, officially cut the seal on the box and check the height and weight. They inspected it for illegal axles and wheels. I think we also got express written consent from Major League Baseball… just to be on the safe side.
Only the Cub Scouts themselves were allowed in the racing area. Meka and I had to find places on the edges beyond the cordon. Now, the scariest thing in Nature is getting between a mother and her cub. The second scariest thing is to foul up a shot from a Dad and his camera. I was less than pleased when I was taking video of the crowd around the ropes when Daniel’s first race went down without any warning. There had only been two cars on a three lane track. I did capture the next two races in high defnition for all posterity. Daniel did sweep his first heat, 3 – 0, so I was mollified. No one had to be taken out and thrashed.
At this point, Daniel noticed the trophies. Actually, they were pretty hard not to notice. Some high schools have won their state in football and don’t have as big of a trophy as the all around winner for the Pinewood Derby. The other runner up trophies were smaller; say the size of an average Tiger Scout. There were also some plaques and of course all participants would get an extra patch for their uniform. Daniel didn’t pay these any mind.
In the second round, Daniel’s car did respectably, but he didn’t win. He came in second against the car that ultimately was the runner up for the second grade. And of course, he had done really well against all the kids in his pack. But those were cold comfort for Daniel, who had really wanted the big trophy. He was greatly disappointed, but a couple of cookies from Subway on the ride home seemed to salve his spirit. By dinner time he was telling me about his ideas for next year’s car.