Friday, January 11, 2008

I Hate the Pinewood Derby

Tonight I freaked out a little on my wife and eight-year-old son when they showed me a pinewood derby kit. I got belligerent and said I didn't want anything to do with it and wouldn't do it, and my son ran out of the kitchen crying.

The thing is, I hate the pinewood derby. I see it as an excuse for fathers who are into woodworking to compete with each other, and I'm not into woodworking. I really dislike scouts in general, but especially the pinewood derby.

When I was Austin's age, my dad was out of town the week of the pinewood derby. Feeling a bunch of masculine pressure, I went out in the garage and attempted to saw at the block of wood with a big hand saw. I still have the scar on my thumb from where the saw slipped and hit me.

I managed to make a couple of cuts, do some sanding, and put on the wheels. At the scout meeting, I felt humiliated when mine looked so bad compared to everyone else's. We held scouts in the Sunday school room, and I remember they were weighting down the cars on the sacrament table. The paint on mine was still a bit wet, and it got some permanent paint on the table, which made me feel bad.

So I have four sons, but I won't do pinewood derby. Frankly, I'm sick of doing what I don't want to do in many aspects of my life, so the things I can control, I'm going to. My sons will just have to enjoy other things with me, not pinewood derby.

4 comments:

Alb said...

Sometimes you can be a bit of a jack-ass. I understand your anxiety and your position but not your childish reaction. It's a good thing that I love you and can forgive you but sometimes I wonder about the selfish side of you. Do you realize that you are perpetuating the same humiliation for him?

Char said...

I am amazed at the language of my sister!! Paul's dad always made his car. We recently had an Elder's Quorum activity where they had a pinewood derby, Paul was excited because he finally got to make his own car. Too bad Uncle Paul Burrows is not there to help Austin. Do we need to visit again?? Just as long as Paul can stay at your house and not Grandma Larsen's :-)

Christopher Bigelow said...

I'm breaking the cycle of Pinewood Derby abuse in my own family. I'd be happy to do a model with Austin that does not require the level of craftsmanship of the Pinewood, with the freestyle sawing the sanding.

For some reason I was quite snippy both at work and at home on Friday, so sorry I was rude. I wasn't even in a bad mood, just quick to get irritated and then quick to recover too. But I still won't have anything to do with Pinewood Derby!

Vince said...

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok"
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

Next time remember its about him and not you. And when you have finished that car and it looks like crap, you can't beat that feeling your son has for you.