Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Box Car Derby

I am really late with this post, but I am desperately trying to get caught up on my to-do list this week. A couple of weeks ago, the Kindergarten classes at David's school had a box car derby. I had never been to a box car derby, so I only had David's word on what was an "acceptable" car. We did get a note from school that suggested the cars be small in size because the kids had to run four laps wearing the box.

In the time leading up to the derby, I had a hard time getting David to decide what kind of car he wanted. I was thinking a simple car decorated like a race car or something like that. I imagined Brian, David, and I working together to make a fun little car. Welllllllll......enter Dad into the picture. I am not sure what it is about Dads, but they tend to have grander ideas when it involves a car in any form or fashion. He started throwing out suggestions for different types of cars (like a corvette), but his very last idea sparked an interest in this naive little kindergartener. My dear, dear husband suggested that David have a Star Wars landspeeder. From that point on, my idea of simple flew out the window.

To make matters worse, because of a very crazy schedule, we were unable to begin the landspeeder until the afternoon before the box car derby. We went into the garage in search of a good box to use and Brian pointed out one that he thought would work. I mentioned that it might be too big and he said, "No, that will work great." So, we emptied out the box and got to work. We cut. We molded. We painted....well, I spray painted it outside in the FREEZING cold. We duct taped. We created a masterpiece....a HUGE masterpiece.

I must say that I protested the landspeeder the whole time we were making it. I am just a simple girl, and I didn't see the whole fascination. By the time it was done, Brian admitted that it was large, and I think he was also a little concerned that it might be too heavy. I made Brian walk in with David, so that he could tell the teacher that it was not my idea and I participated in making it under protest.

While I thought it might be a bit overboard, I was pleased that David was so proud of it. As he and Brian walked down the hall with it, other kids were talking about how cool it was. David's teacher thought it was pretty neat too. The funniest thing was that several dads came up to David after the derby was over to tell him how neat his landspeeder was. (I think they wished their wives had not talked them out of their idea for a great vehicle for the derby.) One guy even offered to buy it, but David told him no.

The car derby was pretty neat. They had a parade of cars where all the kids walked around the track single file and showed off their cars. David's smile was great during that part. Then they put them in groups of three to actually race. They would run a lap around the "track" and then stop to get their windshield washed. (Some six grade girls sprayed water on their face and wiped it off.) They ran another lap and then walked through tire inner tubes. They ran another lap and then stopped for a pit stop (glass of water), and then ran one more lap to finish the race.

David started out strong, but tragedy struck as he rounded the first curve. He was busy smiling at the crowd cheering for him and he lost control of his landspeeder. The landspeeder was a bit front heavy, and he fell and flipped over just like you would see on a cartoon. It was tragic and extremely funny all at once. The crowd gasped. I looked at Brian and I could tell that we were both thinking the same thing. David's sweet little heart tends to get embarrassed very easily, and we were both afraid that he wouldn't want to finish the race. However, that determined little boy got right back up and kept running as hard as he could. He made up some serious ground, but one more fall on the back side of the track and a heavy box slowing him down keeping him from regaining first place.

After it was all over, I told David how proud of him that I was. I told him that it is hard to keep going when we fall down but that he did the right thing by getting back up and continuing the race. I told him how doing that was the mark of a true man. Nathan came up to David a little later and asked him if he won the race. David said, "I came in second, but I fell down and got back up and kept racing. That is all that matters."

You know, people can tell me all they want about how it is better to have a small car so the kid has a better shot at winning. Honestly, I agree with them. I was the one who was totally against the landspeeder. However, I would not trade the lesson David learned for anything in the world. As he gets older, life is sometimes going to be a little "heavy". He might take his eyes off of what he is supposed to be doing and looking around at the crowd. He is going to fall down. When he does, I hope he remembers a day in January of 2008 when he fell down in front of a lot of people and then got back off and ran the race of his life.
Here are some pics of the big event:
A very proud boy sporting his landspeeder.

And they are off!

A determined (but a little weary) David coming out of one of the pit stops.

David booking it around the track.

David with Mrs. Kiihnl at the pit stop.

David coming through the finish line.


Cindy said...

I agree with you about the size and complicatedness, but I must say, I can see why David was so proud of it. I am impressed that you & Brian (& David?) made that the day before. It looks great! And David looks so happy. :)

stace said...

I got all my skills from this roommate I had that used to stay up all hours of the night working on projects that turned out looking like some artist did them!

Tulla said...

Well written article.

Becky said...

I was researching this box car derby thing when I ran across your blog. So glad to see examples of what these things are supposed to look like! Hopefully Annabelle and I will come up with something fun. Guess you are making another one this year for Nathan? See you Friday!

stacey said...

Becky, a bit of advice...go simple. This boxcar was way to elaborate!! There were some kids there who had done them completely themselves and they were so proud of them. I am hoping with Nathan to tone it down a bit and do something a bit more simple. We'll see if Nathan and his dad are on the same page as that! :)