Recipe for Disaster Fun

50 excitable boys, ages 8-11,

50 anxious fathers

25 tired mothers

Generous sprinkling of reluctant, squirmy siblings

1 medium size church multi-purpose room

50 homemade cars of various design and capability

Soda, Skittles, M&M’s, Pizza, Soft Pretzels

Mix together all at once on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.

Serve room temperature, which in this case was about 89 degrees.


Yes, MoB readers.  This past weekend Chase and Dave competed in the Pinewood Derby with the local Cub Scout pack.  And for the first time, they made an excellent showing, placing third in their den, and even winning a few heats.  Yet, for me the evening was a bit challenging due to the length of time it took to run the races.  Those in charge insisted on keeping the den races separate which,  due to the point system, resulted in perhaps an additional 15 -20 heats that were not necessary, adding at least an extra hour onto the event.  At one point, it was suggested that the point system be changed to move the derby along, but to no avail.   Most people took the added time in stride, but many of us became rather ornery and required a cocktail or three by the time 10 o’clock rolled around and the whole thing was over.

Sunday morning we all woke up refreshed and I personally felt rather ashamed for my negativity the evening before.  Often when I am critical of an individual or a situation, I find it instructive to take the other point of view.  For instance, a Pinewood Derby organizer might view me as follows:  Here is a woman who did NOT volunteer to help with this event, had nowhere in particular to go AFTER the event, and whose son has benefited greatly from being PART of the event.  And SHE is  complaining that the races ran a little long?  There are certain, ahem, terms for women like me, none to which I particularly aspire.

I didn’t think about the time these individuals gave up to make sure the derby was a nice one for our boys.  I didn’t consider the fact that their intentions were nothing but good and well placed.  And I certainly didn’t acknowledge the numerous challenges in pulling something like this off without it turning into Lord of the Flies.  In retrospect, it was a very well run event.  All of the scouts were very well behaved, in spite of their parents, and a good time was had by all.

So I hope my muttering, eye rolling and Twittering went largely unnoticed by the gracious and dedicated volunteers who were in charge on Saturday night.  Sometimes life’s lessons sneak up on you and this one was important and applicable to many situations I expect to encounter in the future:

When you fail to raise your hand to help, you surrender your right to pound your fist.

Congratulations to all the winners – and thanks to the organizers for a job well done.

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