Why I am Not Upset My Son Didn’t Get a Trophy
This weekend was my son’s Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. As a Tiger Scout this was his first derby experience and quite honestly, we had no idea what to expect. The cars were handed out a few weeks before Christmas for the end of January event with no instructions or guidelines, just a block of wood, 4 wheels and to keep it under 5 ounces. About two weeks before the event, more details were given. There would be prizes for different types of cars, there could be no adult help, no pre-made cars.
I was nervous for my son. He gets upset quickly when he doesn’t do well at something. He is a perfectionist. It drives me insane. He gives up almost immediately. He’s been this way for as long as I could remember. The day of the race, we were shocked that his car not only won all 8 heats, but he won by a very large margin. He had to come back that afternoon to race against all of the day’s winners. He ended up being the fastest in his rank and was now eligible to move on to the District Wide Derby the next day at the mall.
At the district wide race, he was up against 94 scouts. Some of these cars were so amazing! It was very cool to see what these kids could come up with and how they put their vision into action. The track was a lot longer than the one his pack has, a metal 42 foot track vs. a much shorter wooden track. Each scout raced 8 times – once in each lane. He came in 3rd three times, 2nd twice, 5th, 6th and 7th. The 7th was thrown out as it was his lowest score.
When it came time to announce the winners, while I was truly hopeful for my little boy to win, I was not surprised when he didn’t. This was our first car, our first race. If he won first place now, it would set a precedent for the rest of his scouting career. The cars that won were much older boys who were about to become Boy Scouts. They had put in their time over the years creating cars and strove to have the fastest one. They deserved that trophy.
In today’s society, we too often see everyone being given a trophy just to make sure no one feels left out or gets their feelings hurt. Was my son upset? You can bet on it. The bottom line is though, he didn’t earn the trophy. Why allow our children to grow up thinking that status quo is OK? How can they ever strive to be better and do better if it doesn’t matter if they win or lose.
Just being there was more than others in his Pack can say they did. I hope now, he takes this experience and moves on for next year to keep creating something that is bigger and better.