Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pinewood Derby Day

I'm still playing catch-up from last weekend. It was a busy, busy week. I'm hoping the coming week will feel a little more sane...even though I've got Mam's birthday party to get planned...

Just before the big Superbowl party last weekend, Smunch's Cub Scout pack had their annual Pinewood Derby. Smunch and Daddy had worked really hard on Smunch's car. It was carved, sanded and painted. A good blogger might've taken photos along the way, but no. All you're going to get is the finished product.It's too bad I didn't take "in-process" pictures, really. It's strange to think this thing came out of a plain ol' block of pine.

Daddy and Smunch went to a final tune-up on Friday where they added weights to get it close to (but not over) 5 ounces. Then Saturday was the big race day. Smunch was really excited to learn there were trophies for the winners. "I bet you'd be really proud of me if I won a trophy," he said. Thank goodness, the right answer was easy to come by at that moment. "I'm going to be proud of you no matter what," I replied. "You and Daddy worked really hard on your car and it looks great."

Of course, most of the cars looked great. And there were lots of them. Considering this was our first try at putting together a derby car, I didn't have high hopes. But it was obvious that Smunch did. He absolutely expected to win and he waited eagerly for his car's turn.The rules of the race are that your car gets to lose twice before you're out. The cars raced in groups of 3 or 4. Here's Smunch's car on the starting blocks.And at the finish line for the second time having come second in the first race.So, he came second again by a nose and the race was over for our Smunch and his silver car.

There was a lot of frustration and more than a few tears. I felt so bad for him and more than a little irritated with the whole event. The boys who lost went home with nothing but the car they worked so hard on. And, they weren't nearly as proud of it once it lost two races. It just seemed all wrong. At least they should've all gotten a cheesy little ribbon or something to reflect an accomplishment. In Cub Scouts, the boys get recognition for doing much less.

I was really pretty proud of how well Smunch's car did. Coming second twice is hardly shameful. But I could tell how much pride was wrapped up in that little car and it was so, so hard for him to see it lose. And it was hard for me to see how heartbroken he was. It's a good life lesson I suppose. Most of us probably lose more often than we win. (Except maybe one of the kids who won from the Tiger Cubs...he seems to win everything).

It's a little embarrassing to have your first grader dissolve in tears like that when the other boys seemed to take their losses in stride. But then, my kid is a fierce competitor. These next few years may be tough!

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