Sunday, February 21, 2010

of boys & men

Today is a very good day. 

Matt and our oldest son (age 7) participate in the YMCA's Indian Guides. Every year, through Guides, they participate in the Annual Dragway Race. Today's race was their third year of participation.

Here is how it works:

Their tribe, better known as Apache, gets together about a month before the race in a carpenter's workshop for each father/son team to create a dragway car out of a piece of wood. With wood cutters, sanders, and many other male coveted tools, the tribe members shape their wood into new creations. The boys and dads take the unfinished block of wood home to pimp their rides with paint and other embellishments. On the day of the race, there is also a design contest, so if you want to win something, you at least better be creative.

A week before the race, all of the participants must go to the time trials. Your car is weighed to insure it is no more than sixteen ounces, and you also have a chance to see how your car performs on the track.

Rewind to last year. In 2009, Matt and son did not put a lot of effort into their car. The design was weak and the car was not fast. In fact, on the day of the race, Isaac came in last place in all four races of his round. We watched from the bleachers as he sat with his tribe friends. His back was to me, but he started wiping his eyes and eventually just put his head down. My heart broke... knowing he just wanted a trophy. It really wasn't about the win, per se. He just wanted to take home a trophy, mostly because his sister has one. It was obvious to both me and Matt that afternoon that if we wanted Isaac to win, Matt needed to do what every other father was seemingly doing. Take control of the design and use whatever legal means necessary to produce a fast car. For the past year, we have talked to our little Indian Guide about how it is important to just do your best... it doesn't have to always be about winning... someone has to lose... we all can't be winners. YEAH RIGHT!

Back to this year. The design was decided on relatively early on - a totem pole because of the tribal characteristics of the Indian Guide program. Matt also purchased granite powder to put on the wheels to make them extra slippery-fast-like. Apparently, he failed to learn this tidbit until the third year of participation. Good to know. After the time trials of last week, Matt had to also add weight to the car by super-gluing washers to the bottom.

WE WERE PUMPED FOR SOME RACING TODAY!  Race One in the first round went just as we had hoped. The totem pole car came in second place. YAY! We anticipated good things to follow.

Then... unorganziation was running amok near the track, and the dads at the bottom of the track allowed the cars to pile up after a couple of races. Someone picked up three washers from the finish line area. We had lost our weights in the end of race collision.  Matt quickly went over to devise a plan before the next race. Meanwhile, my little Indian Guide was in tears. Again. Stupid dragway race. Stupid dads.

Crisis diverted. Matt successfully taped the washers back to the bottom of the car, and we ended up getting first place in the next race! My little Indian Guide was BEAMING.  Then, the totem pole came in fourth place. And, finally third.  We knew there was no chance for a trophy because of speed. But there was still the design contest.

SECOND PLACE IN DESIGN! He was SO THRILLED, and LOOK AT HIM with that trophy! Oh, he is a handsome fella with a TROPHY!!

Oh, and what a lovely surprise to run into Elvis at the Dragway race this afternoon! ELVIS y'all! A trophy and The King. It doesn't get much better than that on a Sunday afternoon in February.

1 comment:

  1. Hollow out the back underside of the car and fill it with weight... then seal it back up so it still just looks like a block of wood. Also... wheel kits can be purchased of the correct size. Wheels are already lubed up and sanded down ready for a fast ride. Don't think the other "winning" dads aren't doing this. We went through a losing year once before making this switch for our scout (similar rac program).