Saturday, January 20, 2007

Race day!

Today was a fine day for racing. Which was fortunate, as it was Pinewood Derby day for Nate's cub scout pack. We'd been working for weeks on his car, which you can see here.

All hand done! With no power tools!

Over the past few weeks as we worked on Nate's car maybe we should have taken notice, instead of shaking our heads, as we saw numerous books in the bookstore about Pinewood Derby cars, and whole aisles in the craft stores devoted to the Pinewood Derby.

But being new to scouting, we didn't, and we gave it our best shot knowing basically nothing about this event. Here we have Nate's car lined up for a race against another little boy's from his den.

Unfortunately Nate's car didn't win for design or speed this year. But we got lots of ideas, and some sense of what all goes into this event.

And really it is a very fine line deciding how much parental involvement there should be. Do you let the child do most of it himself with minimal parental guidance so they can learn and be proud of their achievement, or do you take over so he has some chance of competing? Because there was lots of stuff there that didn't seem to have been done by elementary school children. (I know that sounds like sour grapes, but jeez, check out this entry! And this one!)

And the one you see here. A very, very cool entry, but I have to wonder how much the child did. This is displaying my ignorance of the Pinewood Derby industry (yes, it's an industry!), but this car had some kind of shiny plastic coating perfectly molded around it, resulting in a mirror finish. Is that paint? What the heck IS it?

But Nate had a great time watching the races and hanging out with his buddies. And I have to say that I was surprised at how exciting it was to watch the cars competing, even when I didn't know the boys whose cars they were. (I found myself saying to Tim quite a few times, "Watch that one with the blue top! It's FAST!") So I'm glad we did it.

But next year we might have to kick it up a notch or two.....


LLA said...

You all are far ahead of us - our den is painting cars on Monday, and then racing 'em on Friday.

Some of the cars you took pictures of were outrageous - I'm so sure that an 8 year old managed to do the lighting on the undercarriage, or the shiny plastic coating PERFECTLY all by himself.

Our den is a ragtag little bunch - way laid back and so disorganized. So much so that it works my last nerve - I keep thinking "If Moms were running this...." but I know to keep these thoughts to myself, or else *I'm* going to end up with my own pack!

But - the upside of such a slacker den is that PWD is always fun - it's not very competitive, (there is one dad who takes it too seriously, but the rest of us ignore him) and the kids always have fun. Plus - the winning car design always looks as if it were done entirely by a kid - with handdrawn designs and crap hot-glued all over it (usually Legos or something)... As gorgeous as the cars you took pictures of were, they'd never win anything here - looks too much like dad was too big a help....

Rohanknitter said...

I'm on my 3rd boy in scouts, and this year's derby was like most - maybe 1/3 the cars looked like the kid didn't do a thing to it , it was all about the dads. None of them were as fancy as some of the ones you showed, though!