After all my begging for suggestions, today is just going to be a normal show-the-grandparents-how-amazing-their-grandchildren-are post. But I do appreciate the suggestions, and will work them all in somewhere this month.
Last weekend, we experienced our first pinewood derby.
I have lots of pinewood derby memories, the most exciting being watching my dad melt lead sinkers in a can on the stove. (That’s not allowed anymore. Well, I s’pose you could melt lead sinkers on a stove if you wanted to, but on the rule sheet it said, “No lead shot.” Dang. I don’t know what else you’d use melted lead for.) The other memory that stands out is that I never got to make a car. Talk about injustices in this life!
Anyway, Zack was ecstatic about designing his car. Our bishop (who is an engineer) came over several times to give Stan and Zack tips about design and speed. He also brought a box full of old derby cars so we could see some examples of pinewood derby racing badness.
Zack designed the body, helped block it out, chose the paint color, attached the decals, and did a little freehand painting. Stan sanded the car, sanded the wheels, sanded the axles, made sure it drove straight, and packed the wheels and axles with graphite lubricant. Then, using a newly purchased kitchen scale (a mom’s bonus), they carefully weighed the car until it was five ounces.
The thing about pinewood derby is you want to make sure you keep it about the kid. (Remember “Down and Derby”?) But while you’re keeping it about the kid, you also want to make sure the car runs well, without parental ego and competitiveness spoiling it. Also, you don’t really want to Win It All, because then you’ve set up this precedent that looms over you every year. Winning Some of the Time is probably best–exciting, yet not future-disappointment-inducing.
It’s a tough balance.
Stan did well, keeping it real but pointing out when something wouldn’t really work.
Zack did well, too–he got third overall.
Right where we wanted to be.
(Check back later for pictures–I’m having some uploading issues, but we’ve got a couple of the car and the action.
And the trophy.
Can’t forget that.)