We all win when kids smile! Well, all of my worrying and concern about the pinewood derby car for Cole was almost all for not. Late the night before the big race I was attempting to “wittle” out a spot for some lead weights when the entire back left side just fell off the car…including the axle. After sitting and considering a cold frosty beverage I decided that I had two choices. One, to tell Cole on the morning of his big race that he has been eliminated because I broke his car or two, try to fix it. Knowing he would be crushed as he continues to try to make new friends in Cub Scouts I really had only one choice. A hefty amount of wood glue, immense pressure on the wood and a prayer & it appeared to hold up!
The day of the event came. Cole woke up and that was all he talked about. He was so excited to see his new buddies and take part in the Pinewood Derby! He invited the whole family, his Oma (grandmother), mom and his 3 year old brother, who was more excited than anyone! When Cole put the car on the kitchen table we noticed that the right front tire did not touch the table. A big no-no apparently in the world of Boy Scout Derbys. We put a little pressure on the tire and it seemed to touch. All was well as we headed out as a family.
There were Wake Forest scouts of all ages…everywhere…when we pulled up. Cole, anxious to see his “buddy’s” could care less about his car at that moment. Truth be told I think he was a bit embarrassed that we did not create some magnificent Super Bowl trophy looking car. I understood. Being cool at age 7 is more important than anything else. So our car passed the all-important weigh in and the length & width tests. However, when the 13 year old boy scout put it on the table and rolled it, he noticed that the right front tire did not make contact. “Not a big deal” I said remembering that I could just put a little pressure on the tire and it would be OK. Seconds later the entire right front end of the car was shooting across the room! It snapped in my hand all the way up to the axle! I looked at Cole and he looked back at me with those eyes that said…Dad, oh dad, please fix this quick. Please Dad. You really find out how calm you can be as a parent when your child needs you. We quickly grabbed our tube of Gorilla Glue and went to work. We had only minutes…not over-night to pass inspection. After saying a quick prayer and holding those 2 pieces of wood together as tightly as I could it was time. I sat Cole down and told him that the glue may not hold the car together for inspections and that even if he could not participate that night that we needed to stay and cheer on his den. He looked at me and kept looking over my shoulder at his buddies that were there already and said….”OK”. But he didn’t mean it. I understood. We handed the car back to the scout. He rolled it. It held together! I told Cole that when he put it down again to not touch it until the race and maybe…just maybe it would hold.
When it came time for the den to have their races you can imagine how nervous we all were when he put it on the track. He ran with the other boys to the end of the track to await the race. They released the cars…..and…..it worked! It held together. We were relieved and thrilled at the same time. Not only that, Cole actually won a race and received a medal but you know that look that your child gets when they are genuinely happy? He had it. I’ll never forget it. At that point we were able to relax and soak it all in. We cheered for Chris, Sam, Landon, Thomas, Evan, and Cole. They all did so well. When we stood in line for the awards behind our scouts I was reminded of the scout motto and how these kids took it to heart. DO YOUR BEST! Not only that, I was impressed at how they high-fived each other, cheered one-another on and genuinely were happy for each other. I know why Cole likes his den so much. We have talked about the derby every day since Saturday. However, the best comment and the one that summed it all up was when Cole said after closing the car door to go home that night…”I want to do it again!” Me too Cole. Me too!