Friday, February 14, 2014

PINEWOOD DERBY MEMORY
Fight the Good Fight


I am a divorced dad who has fought the good fight since my son was 3. He is now 10. This past December I gained additional custody of my son and I had an extra night that I could give to a scouting type event. With only a Wednesday night to devote to this, the only option for us was the Royal Ambassadors at my church. Luckily for us, they had not had their race; so when we joined the group in January we got to pick out our car kits the first Wednesday night.

I polled my colleagues at work, and gathered ideas for how to build a fast car.

My son added pressure by saying, "Dad, can we really do this?"

We sanded. And sanded. And sanded. We primed. And primed. And primed. We weighed, drilled more holes, sanded and primed again and again. Three of the four post office locations we used to weigh our car-in-progress had scales that appeared to be off by one to three-tenths of an ounce. By race day, April 14th, 2007, I was not sure if we could do this!

We buffed and buffed the axles with jeweler's rouge until they shined like new money.

We helped set up the race track the night before the race; so we tried out our cars. While we were fast, it appeared we would not be the fastest.

On Saturday afternoon we took the wheels off one last time and buffed again. This time we sprayed the axles with silicon and then applied graphite.

At the race my son won 1st place for speed in his division and 1st place in design. I won 2nd place in speed in the adult division (I lost to an ex- cub scout leader who now builds cars with kids that have no father involved -- good guy to lose to!) and 1st place in design. Overall we were 2nd and 3rd in speed; with he and I separated by one-thousandth of a second and seven thousandths behind first place.

Most of the time I wear a fake smile because the past several years have been a struggle. As I said, I/we have fought the good fight. But as Jeff's name was called for having the fastest car for his first award, I smiled a real smile. Jeff smiled as well, and when he got his second trophy he had a tear in his eye. We did it!

Next year is our last year to race. While the above story highlights a win, the experience Jeff and I had being competitive with other experienced kids and adults grew our relationship.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this story; I'll be using your products next fall.

Dennis Hollingsworth

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 4

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