it’s that time of year…

the time when Cub Scouts have their Pinewood Derbies.

i realize i’m not currently involved in Scouting (being an adult with no children), but it’s been a very active subject on some of the internet message boards that i read.

particularly fathers asking for tips on making their sons’ cars faster.

or perhaps i should just say their cars.

when i was a Scout, i competed in the Pinewood Derby twice; won second place one year and first place the next. admittedly, this may influence my opinion on things.

but other than Dad running the bandsaw (so i didn’t dismember myself), i did all the work on the cars. i only used the kit parts, and i didn’t modify them in any way. and i had a good time.

i think i would have enjoyed myself even if i hadn’t done well – all the other boys seemed to.

but now, it seems, Pinewood Derby car design and prep has become a big business. no longer a simple bonding exercise for fathers and sons, it’s become a test of whose father has the largest wallet or machine shop.

websites abound with speed tips and parts: just $40 for a set of prepared, lightened wheels – and another $20 for the machined, graphite coated axles to go with. you can even buy complete, professionally prepared cars for $100 on up. or spend $90 or so on the professional tool kit, complete with body jig, wheel mandrel and axle press.


what happened to fun? just plain, simple fun?

i have to believe that most of the kids whose fathers buy them a trophy would have been just as happy if dad had spent the time with them to build a car, winner or not.

quote of the day:

“Win or lose, do it fairly.” – Knute Rockne


2 Responses to “it’s that time of year…”

  1. Lowcountry Blogs » Blog Archive » Rambling Through the Rounds Says:

    […] It’s time for Pinewood Derbies, a chance for fathers and sons to bond. […]

  2. Stewart Says:

    Plain, simple fun.

    CG and I had a discussion tonight about forced-induction Scanian automobiles.

    Saab turbos. Plain. (mostly) Simple. Fun.

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