Colin had his Pinewood Derby last Wednesday. As you may remember, he was sick last year, so we didn’t attend, or even finish his car. So this year we painted it to look like a snake (since it is the year of the snake), and finished putting the weights on. As I was putting the wheels on the night before (after Colin was in bed already), I thought I should measure it to make sure it met all the official requirements. We had already weighed it a million times to make sure it was as close to 5 oz as possible without going over, but I wasn’t sure about the clearance on the bottom. That was the first time it occurred to me that their track might have a tread down the middle. Some do and some don’t and I had no idea if ours did or how high it went. Colin had some weights underneath his, and a weight on the back that hug lower than the car. This could be a problem.
When we got there and weighed it, it was exactly 5 ounces. I patted myself on the back as Colin put it on the track for a test run. Annnnnnd…..it didn’t even make it down the track. The weights were indeed dragging. Colin’s eyes turned red and angry. Chad and I hurriedly pried the weights off and took it over to the pit stop table. Chad drilled a hole in it for the biggest weight and we used a hot glue gun to glue all the weights in places as best as possible.
I wish I could tell you that after this, his car sailed down the track. It did not. I think it came in second or last in every heat. By the end, it was wobbling down the track. And I wish I could tell you it was because of the weight placement, but even the night before I could tell that his wheels just weren’t that fast.
I also wish I could tell you that Colin didn’t care about losing. He did. He didn’t throw a fit and he seemed to be happy for his cousins Santi and Evan who came in fourth and third. His accepted his “Most Spectacular” award with a smile.
But he was mad.
Here’s my problem: I know there is info out there about getting the wheels to spin faster and all that stuff. I have read a lot of it. I would love to really dig into it and make his car the fastest car possible. I feel like…if you are gonna bother doing it, do it the best you can. Right? But then I know this: At no point, when we were working on his car, did Colin say, “Hey mom, let’s work some more!” It was always me bugging him to do things and him doing them as fast he could, or me doing it on my own. I have no problem with parents getting involved, but he needs to be just as involved as me.
So, next year he might care enough to want to work hard at it, and if he does I will jump on board with enthusiasm. But maybe he won’t, and I am going to have to tell myself not to care more about it than him.
But maybe I am only saying all of this because I do care, huh?