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Saturday, January 20, 2007


The Race Is On

The big Pinewood Derby race was last night!

It was almost a disaster of Titanic proportions!

But first, my son worked on his car for about a month. He sketched out a design, made all the cuts, did all the sanding and painting, and picked out stickers and add-ons to finish up the car.

Here it is, in all it's swashbuckling glory...

The Black Pearl!

We arrived at the derby, checked the car in, chowed down on pizza, and then waited for the races to begin.

The worst thing that can happen at an event such as this is having your car fall apart right before the race. Good thing that didn't happen to my son. No, he had the second worst thing happen... His car didn't finish the course. Three times, it failed to reach the finish line. The only one out of 40 cars!

Total disaster! Major catastrophe! An epic failure on a public stage!

My son just stood there impassively. I fully expected this to be the end of Cub Scouts for him. I leaned down to his ear and told him that it was my fault. I should've checked the weight of the car more carefully. It was an ounce lighter than the others, and in the Pinewood Derby weight is the most important factor.

I looked around at the other kids, wondering if any of them would add to my son's humiliation by making fun of his car. But they didn't. And I wasn't sure why.

We found out ten minutes later...

Before the race, the audience was given a chance to fill out a short ballot with four categories on it: Most Patriotic, Best Paint Job, Best Cub Scout Theme, and Most Unique.

So after the races were all run, they announced the winners of the voting. And, lo and behold, my son won Most Unique.

Disaster averted! Catastrophe prevented! Failure kiboshed!

It was as if the heavens opened up and a choir of angels sang my son's name. His face lit up, he beamed, and he didn't stop talking about his new medal for hours. I've never seen him more proud. And he has a right to be, because his car design was his own and he did most of the work himself.

He now has no memory of his car's actual race performance. All he knows is that the kids thought his car was the coolest.

I made a car too. Nobody thought it was cool. Weird, maybe.

I call it The Martian Marshmallow Mobile...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a lovely car he built. I agree way better than any one elses!! Unique, oh yeah!! Give him a hug from me, will ya Phil. Mmmm marshmallows!

4:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

OK, that car is totally cool. What an awesome idea. (I'm totally referring to his car, btw. Yours is...well...different-HA)

I'm glad he won most original. He will always remember that.

I hope you're also realizing that you made the right choice between this and the birthday party.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

What a cool car! Glad your son had a good time, even if his car didn't finish the race. And congrats to your son on winning most original!

9:26 AM  
Blogger landismom said...

Just one question--is that Kodos, or Kang?

Glad it turned out well for your son.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, both of those cars are totally cool!

As I learned from the Pinewood Derby I entered a couple years ago... it's not who wins, it's how cool the car looks!

I learned that when my car came in second last. :o)

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time. His car is so cool. I love the cannon on the back.

Most original is better than first. When he stuck and needs a new idea for something he can always remember that all his friends thought he was most original. That will give him a lot of confidence.

Just so you know, I really like your car too!

1:25 PM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

Both cars are great! Congratulate your son for me!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Congrats to your son on imbuing his car with a unique personality. And way to go, Dad! This is a memory he'll cherish.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Clint said...


What a great post, Phil. I think most original is a better prize than winning the race, imho. That is one skookum looking pirate unit.

The ode to Kodos isn't half bad as well :)

9:01 AM  
Blogger Bre said...

What an awesome car! Great job Jr.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous L.A. Daddy said...

Hmm. A car that looks good and doesn't go anywhere? He'll be a proud Jaguar owner...

Man, that brings back memories. I remember my car being overweight and spending several minutes rubbing the car again the gym walls outside to knock off enough wood so that I could compete.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe his forte could be in style or design? He could be an architect, interior designer, design cars, clothes, landscaping, etc. this could really encourage him to explore new fields.

Congrats to him and they are both nice cars.

8:52 PM  
Blogger sunnyday said...

Your son sure displays great imagination & creativity, and he even got an award for it! Congratulations! I like the pirate =)

Your car is unique as well (creative name too hehe).

The derby over the party was a prudent choice, too.

9:50 PM  

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