Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Start Your Engines Part 2 - Weston, MA

Okay, so when we left our Cub Scouts yesterday, they had arrived at St. Julia's Church in "downtown" (LOL, never fails to crack me up this teeny town) Weston with their two pinewood derby cars clutched in their hands. They promptly ran into two friends who were carrying their cars in specially built carrying cases. We had an inkling then what we were getting into.

I cannot even tell you the thrill and chill that went through me when I first saw the enormous aluminum track. It took the whole of the room, six lanes and a digital finish line that showed the place of each car as it crossed the finish line. At three computers, scout leaders and dads were working on the software that would show the various race heats, the winners and the times. It was, in an overused word, awesome.

Weigh-in. One kid has his car carrier (all kids faces blurred, okay?)

But first it was time to check in. As I mentioned yesterday, derby cars cannot weigh more than five ounces. Digital scales were available to check your cars. BH brought the two cars over to the pit stop and they came in under four ounces each. One of the fathers there said "hey, you're going to add more weight right?" and BH said no, the cars were good to go. We had already taped on quarters and prettied the cars up with colorful duct tape. We were done. We watched as other kids (and mostly dads) adjusted wheels, added weight, polished wheels. Some of the cars had built-in small weight carriers; most were amazing engineering models.

One of my kids' friends rushed over and said he hadn't lost a single heat on the test track. This same kid had won the derby last year at the den, and was sure of his repeat win. And so we opened the back doors and sure enough, there was last year's derby track, all wood, much smaller. You see, our den had scrimped and saved from popcorn sales from the last three years to buy the new track. We tested the cars on the wood track--they neither won nor lost, they just played the game. Ran the race, as it were. 

Check-in took almost an hour as each car from the Tiger (1st grade), Wolf (2nd), Bear (3rd), and Webelo (4th and 5th) was carefully weighed by older boy scouts and carried to another table to await their heat. My kids said goodbye to Gronk and Dragon Master as they were placed with the others.

Our Boy Scout pack leader. Nuts. Like all of them.

Then the Boy Scout troop leader came up, with his bandanna around his head and started cracking jokes and getting people worked up for the race. We sang the pinewood derby song to the tune of "Take me out to the ball game." We cheered, we stretched, we did whatever he asked. At one point he put on his racecar helmet and the crowd went wild. He was wonderful at getting the kids to cheer for each of the more than 40 heats that were in the Derby.

Take me out to the Derby

The track was tested with a Go Pro dummy car (we got to watch a pinewood derby eye's view of the aluminum track) and then the races were off. The kids cheered for every single race. They cheered their friends. They made faces of despair and joy (none of which are shown here due to privacy) and had a great time. A kid brother of my son's best friend got 2nd place in Tiger--he'll go on to District finals at the end of March.

The amazing software (minus names...yep, privacy)
So how did Gronk and Dragon Master do? Well, they did fine. They did the best I could have hoped for--they each won one heat and never did worse than fourth place out of the six cars running. One mix-up with lanes had BH protesting (nicely) so that heat was re-run. No one got upset. The MC loved to say the Gronk car--I think probably it won the popularity-with-the-MC prize. We find it likely that the kids ended up in fourth and fifth place in the wolf den--they only announce first through third. As a mom of twins, I am thankful neither of my sons got podium without the other, and also that I do not have to go to district finals at the end of March (I prefer to go skiing, thanks). 

That's Gronk  in 3rd for the heat, and Dragon Master in second

What an amazing event! My sons' friend who was confident about his win? He won for the Wolf Den. He had a very cool flat car at the very limit of weight class. We know more for next year--if the kids do Cub Scouts again next year. All kids got participant ribbons and a special award for their car--one was "best wedge"(turned into "best wedgie" instantly by his brother) and the other "most sporty"(Gronk). I think they were reaching on those awards, but it doesn't matter.

We came, we raced, we had tons of fun. Thanks Cub Scouts!!

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