Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five Years of Pinewood Derby

If you've followed this blog you've read about the Pinewood Derby races we've done since 2007. Today marks our last official Pinewood Derby with Samuel as a Cub Scout. He crosses over to Boy Scouts in a few months, so if he has another car it will just be for fun (not that we've not had fun making and racing these cars).

Over the past five years we've learned a lot about making cars, and we've learned a lot about sportsmanship. We've helped other kids with their cars just to watch them smoke us down the track. We've sometimes felt slighted by odd glitches in the timing or scoring of races. We've often felt quite proud of ourselves when we've built a racer that not only won, but did so by a significant margin.

We've learned (and I say we, because it's not just Samuel involved; it's me too) to hold our heads high and be proud of ourselves regardless of the outcome. We've learned to congratulate others when they win, and encourage others when they don't. We've learned to help others with our knowledge, tools, and materials even if it weakens our advantage.

We've learned to make do with very limited tools and limited access to tools. We've also learned to make do with our limited skill with tools. I think we've learned that it's not always car, it's the heart that goes into it.

Even had we not learned any of that, we've become closer as a family. We've become team. We've learned to support each other and make sure we all feel proud of the accomplishments of another team member. We've learned that by doing our best - even when we don't feel like it - we give strength to those around us (the team/family), and we can look back years from now and be proud.

I'll miss these races. That said, here's a short slide show of the last five years of Pinewood Derby.

1 comment:

Devon Wells said...

Hi Jim, just found your blog and like it alot. Alot of nice stories and interesting to hear your feelings on the banjo (I agree with you wholeheartedly about mutes).

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With over 30 years of experience performing and teaching banjo I am eager to share my music with you.

I'm also available for your school or community event where I can introduce the banjo and present a fun program that demonstrates a variety of banjo styles.

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More Detail than you probably want:

I started playing banjo in 1977. I'm self taught... the old fashion way.  I'm a firm supporter now of the listen and learn approach. I've ruined many records and needles by trying to hit that particular spot in a tune I was learning.  

From the beginning I loved teaching others to play the banjo. I've had as many as 50 students a week. One of the greatest opportunities as a banjo teacher came when some of my articles were accepted and used by Banjo Newsletter in an article titled "The Workshop."  I've taught a variety of banjo workshops including The Maryland Banjo Academy, Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp,  and Banjo Newsletter's SPBGMA Workshop.

While in college in the early 80's I took up playing the clawhammer style of banjo playing. I worked from a book I got from Grandpa Jones. I learned the basics and then spent hours trying to figure out Soldier's Joy from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken Album. Years later and many hours of practice I think maybe I finally understand the style. 

I'm currently playing with, quite possibly, some of the best musicians in the world. The Lone Mountain Band, made up of Bobby Burns, Diana Phillips, Roy Curry and myself has been the most fun and challenging group I've ever worked with. I hope to see you at some of our shows!