Wed, 17 Jun 1998 18:23:59 -0400
I've been waiting for this letter, Thank you!!
>I for one believe the Pinewood Derby has become a "Win at all costs"
>event. This last year we had a car which had been machined to the desired
>shape after it was designed on a CAD system
I also grew up woodworking-impaired. My father was a musician, what'd he know?
He gave us the pinewood block, a wood rasp, a good knife, and let us whittle.
He helped with paint and wheels, but we never won (and about the time I was
going to graduate to BS we noticed - the kids who did usually did NOTHING to
the block but put on wheels usually did win). We learned to lose but we
learned to advance instead and show up the Pinewood show-offs.
Advance about 10 years. I'm a freshman in college judging a district pinewood
"since you don't know anybody and can be impartial" in a town well known for
its amazing engineering feats if the words "Harvester" or "John Deere" were on
it. Heck, Deere had the only photocopier in town that would enlarge and reduce
copies at the time. I had to look twice at the cars before they ran they
looked so sweet. Smooth. Glossy. So I took a second peek and then a third and
a fourth and we started disqualifying cars and making enemies.
Why? The engineering guys at the plants had taken their kid's wheels to the
factory, gone to the guys who make part molds, and had them hollow out a
groove all the way around the INSIDE of the wheel, where the nail goes. Then
they took ball bearings you could hardly see and put them in there. It was
easy to spot after a bit, you could see the wheel spin, and spin, and spin,
And they were the easy ones. Others had the thing put through a wind tunnel a
friend had to get aerodynamic designs. You'd think they were building rocket
ships. (And no, I never want to SEE what they'd do in a space derby.) I had to
transfer membership to another DISTRICT in the council.
Now my own sons, of course, have the disadvantage of a father with toys (Power
drills, belt sanders, etc.) and some shop under his belt. And a violin shop in
the store where he works (How many wood files you want to borrow Tom? What
else do you need? Want me to show you how next time you can put that weigh
uder the car with more clearance?). So they look prettier than mine ever did.
But they still tend to get beat by the kid who glues on quarters for weight.
So they learn how to work with wood AND how to lose AND how to advance and
show the other guy up where it counts.
I've saved that for years. Should've sent it to Scouting when it first
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City