31 March 2012

Pinewood Derby 2012

Isaiah participated in his packs Pinewood Derby last night.  He seemed to have fun and his car won a few races...but the Pinewood Derby kind of frustrates me.

Technically, the boys are supposed to make their cars by themselves with minimal help from adults.  What happens is the boy finds an "awesome" car design, dad cuts it out  (because boys can't operate a band saw), boy sands...and sands, and sands..., and then boy puts on a base coat of paint.  From here many parents take over so the car will look truly cool...and not like an eight or ten year old painted it.  I have been on both sides of that coin.  I have let my son(s) paint and detail his car all by himself, AND I have been the parent who has the boy do the base coat and then taken over the project.  It bothers me that the coolness factor overshadows the fun of the boys making their own cars.

The other thing that has always bothered me about the Pinewood Derby is that it truly feels like the boys take a backseat for the adults to have fun.  Once the boys are done designing their cars and the weights and wheels are in place...they aren't allowed to touch their cars...AT ALL!  The adults take the cars from the boys and line them up on a table with "security guards" to make sure that once they weigh exactly 5oz., someone doesn't secretly add more weight so their son's car will win.  "Security" tape is placed all the way around the track so none of the boys can get to close to the track.  A few adults (or older scouts) are assigned to pick up each boy's car and place it in the correct starting gate...and then one adult gets to pull the lever to start the race.  The boys don't race their cars...and it makes me sad.  They barely help make the car and then the adults run the race while the boys watch from behind a roped barrier.

That's all I'm going to say about it.  I just wish it really was more about the boys and less about the rules.

Here are some photos from Isaiah's Pinewood Derby race last night.

I love Caleb's face in this picture!  hahaha!

I thought the car in the middle was unique.  They used a cell phone for the weight!

Isaiah found a Wii remote Pinewood Derby car on the internet and decided that he wanted to do one.  I think it turned out great!


Mom said...

I see things have not changed. In fact they have gotten worse. At least when my boys raced they got to carry their car back to the top and set it on the track again. And you will ALWAYS find the adults who think it is all about them ---- ie...........I think you know why I never participated in any science fairs. And then there were the Easter Egg Hunts---don't even get me started. Aunt, who shall remain nameless, dragging the kid along, scooping up all the eggs and putting them in the basket for the kid. I also get upset at the boys that cry at pinewood derbies. You can tell they are not used to losing and can't be consoled with "it's just a game and supposed to be fun for everyone. Everyone gets a participation ribbon don't they??

Leigh's in Juneau AK said...

I kinda know what you mean Melissa, all of our sons cars looked like kid design and paint because they were, even the one that was just a box, no carving at all, just glue the wheels and let it go. Having helped run a few derbies though I understand the security tape and the adults carrying the cars. I've seen little siblings trip and fall on the track as walked or more likely ran around the track area and ruin another kids car, and same with carrying cars to the start line from the finish, I've seen a lot of cars dropped and a devestated Cub Scout in tears because he fell and broke his car. We had the scouts whose turn it was to race go behind "security" and pick their car off the table and place it on the start gate themselves, then they could choose where to watch their car from, the start or the finish. After the races we let the scouts run their own car races for a time after so they could simply race and have fun. If their car got smashed so be it it was after the races. So there is my vent, it's all about the boys having fun, but there has to be a little safety to protect themselves from each other.