Pinewood Derby

Shark and Webkinz Car.  Photo Dan Edwards, 2009
Race Time. Note: Shark and Webkinz Car. Photo Dan Edwards, 2009
My Husband's Oscar Meyer Mobile, My son's Webkinz Car, Photo Dan Edwards, 2009
My Husband’s Oscar Meyer Mobile, My son’s Webkinz Car, Photo Dan Edwards, 2009

My son’s Cub Scout pack just ran their pinewood derby.   As always, half the fun was checking out the great cars.  One boy crafted a shark, complete with a dorsal fin.  Another painted his car with the U.S. colonial flag with 13 stars.  There was a vaguely bullet shaped car that was varnished but not painted.  “Pinewood derby, get it?” the craftsman asked.

Once its time to run the race, you get to watch the boys cheering each other on across the finish line.   When one of the younger boys does well, the older boys give him a thumbs up.  A boy whose car does badly gets cheered on by boys who hate to see a fellow racer down.

But if you Googled pinewood derby, you might get the wrong idea.   Computerized racing systems that calculate scores to the ten thousandth of a second.  Wheels balanced within specific tolerances (I don’t even know what that means).  Powdered pumice for polishing axles because its finer than sand paper.  If you didn’t go to  a derby, this might be what you chose to pitch to Boy’s Life. 

I asked my son what types of articles he’d like to see.  “Every boy who builds a car is a winner, Mom.  It takes a lot of work.  Or maybe something on good sportsmanship.   It isn’t just about the trophy.” 


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