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Too much winning, complaints

Discussion in 'General Pinewood Derby Discussion' started by firestone, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. firestone

    firestone Bent Axle

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    We're hearing grumblings around our Pack of parents bothered by scouts who "win too much". In one den we have a scout who has won his den 3 years straight, another 2 years, etc. The comments we get aren't exactly complaints directly, but thinly veiled "suggestions" aimed at making things "more fair". They want to see other scouts have the opportunity to go to districts.

    So they suggest things to change the rules and "level the playing field". Like scouts should have to build their cars entirely at a single Pack meeting, only hand tools should be allowed, etc. Basically parents want to make the races a toss-up, which is really what you'd get if the kids are limited to 90 minutes (or less) at a Pack meeting and rushed to cut, assemble, decorate, and hand in a car.

    Obviously I'm preaching to the choir here. We all know the best option is to give kids the ability to put as much time and effort into their cars as they want, not structure the rules around what parents think is in the interest of "fairness".

    But what I struggle with is how to express this to parents and get them on board with this philosophy. Especially because I don't think the complaints all come from the same viewpoint. In some cases I think it's just laziness and parents wanting an easier path for their kid to get a trophy. But I also think in some cases it's parents not knowing how to help their kid do better. Or believing that they shouldn't help their kid. What would you say to parents in this kind of situation?
     
  2. Charles Studer

    Charles Studer Workshop Leader Pro Racer

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    Relax it is about doing something with your child some times you win sometimes you loose. If you want to win work harder and dont try to dumb down a simple race....learn something new for yourself as well.
     
  3. aircooled

    aircooled National Contender

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    This is just another reflection of what is going on. There are winners and losers. If you want to win put the time in and figure it out. Relaxing the rules is not how life works.
     
  4. flockshot

    flockshot Pinewood Ninja

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    Actually people don't really want 'everybody' to have a chance to win, THEY want to have a chance to win.

    Scouts looking for a false sense of accomplishment deserve a participation trophy, not a winner's trophy. Scouts looking for a real sense of accomplishment, will work and learn what it takes to be a winner.

    My Lion Cub just won his pack this year, and it will not be his last win, He also has a little brother coming up next and he will probably be a winner also. I am already saving my best Box Stock parts for the day when they start changing the rules on us.
     
  5. firestone

    firestone Bent Axle

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    I think this is the crux of it, and why it's difficult for me to figure out the most diplomatic things to say in response to these complaints. Because an honest answer would be, "We're not changing the rules so you and your kid can be lazy and not put in any real time or effort and still have a shot at a trophy." I want to say that, but I'm trying to save my Committee Chair some headaches when parents come complaining to her about that leader calling people lazy. ;)

    A Lion also won our Pack this year, and did well at Districts. And of course there were plenty of suspicious looks and whispered comments about it. But I happen to know that kid was hands-on every step. Sure he had a lot of guidance from dad, but he built that car, spent many many ours in the shop with dad and grandpa, and earned his wins. He put more time into his Lion car then some kids will put into all of the car builds they'll do as scouts combined.
     
  6. Darkside

    Darkside District Champion

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    In our pack I am definitely known as the dad that knows way more about pinewood derby than any grown man should. But they also know that I will offer up my knowledge, my tools, and my time to any scout that wants to put in the effort. During pinewood derby season my garage and my test track are always open to anybody that wants the help.

    I've done this with my son's cub scout troop and my daughters girl scout troop. Surprisingly though there are very few people that take me up on that offer. I think what happens is people learn really quickly that building fast cars is not easy. It requires a lot of time and tedious effort, and is a little bit boring if you're not into that kind of thing.

    The benefit of doing this is two fold though. One it eliminates the unfairness argument. And two, you will have one kid or a few that want to put in the work and are really excited to have the help.

    I think that's where a lot of the frustration comes from. People like us get handed a block of wood and we see the potential and we have the tools and knowledge to access that potential. Many people though look at that same block of wood and all they see is a block of wood, and they have no idea where to even start.
     
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  7. flockshot

    flockshot Pinewood Ninja

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    There is just so much a 6 year old can do, so when the 6 year old wins everybody says he had help. They are correct. What I want to know is why didn't they help their scout learn how to build fast cars? If the reason is that they don't know how themselves, I can refer them to a web-site that will help them out.
     
  8. HurriCrane Racing

    HurriCrane Racing PWD Royalty Pro Racer 25+ Pro Race Wins! National Champion

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    After they get done grumbling about how you won again, show the video of the league race. :)

    Anyways, the scout motto is to "Do Your Best". Or does this only apply to certain scouts?!
    There was plenty of grumbling in our scout days...
     
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  9. Jimmy & his 2 Kids

    Jimmy & his 2 Kids National Contender

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    I went through this with our churches Awana Grand Prix. They brought it back after year’s hiatus... I found Mark Robers tricks video... applied it, we were mid pack. But one of the youngest age group (3-4) blew everyone away. Mom was an engineer and knew some tricks. So I researched, found this site and APR, and my kids haven’t lost a heat since the last 4 years.
    We win by large margins and people grumble. So year 3 I offer up workshop help, no one takes me up on the offer. This year they slammed us with rules banning ALL speed tricks. But they also wanted to send racers to Awana regionals. I, along with the regionals admin, help them realize with all tricks banned our kids will be embarrassed at regionals. I did a lengthy how to video for all and again offered up workshops and my help. A lot of folks did some things, some kids got faster. It was fun. And then we killed it at regionals.
    But all this to say don’t make everyone slow but give all the others a chance to learn and get FAST! I showed them everything I do.
    Well, we are fast because I researched, put in the time and effort (kids too) and worked seriously hard. All the other parents can do that too. I even gave links to these sites and everything to help.
    It is what it is... I did sit out the open finals with my car so others could have a chance at a trophy and offer up as much help as I can.

    But making all cars equally slow... that’s really not teaching anything other than how to get brutally embarrassed at districts and beyond with a block of wood and wheels.
    When I do eventually get my own track I’ll help with testing and tuning. Yes I feel bad sometimes my kids kill it every year but I will just do whatever I can to help others learn and be just as fast.
    I really hope your pack doesn’t do what they said they’d do. That’s just wrong. Do that with a pack only project, like rubber powered planes, but not PWD when thy continue to race at districts, council and beyond.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Jimmy

    Ps... once parents saw the video at least they started to get an understanding of just how much work and effort goes into these cars. And they really did appreciate the offer for help.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  10. firestone

    firestone Bent Axle

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    The funny thing is that around here, everyone knows about and talks about the Rober video. Like at our derby check-in inspection night, you can literally walk around the room and hear people chatting about it. There really aren't any information secrets.

    And one of the parents complaining about the rules is an engineer. Go figure.

    I hope my Pack doesn't either. I don't think they will yet, but right now I have more support from other leaders and parents to keep things as they are, and some of those leaders and parents are Arrow of Light parents moving on from Cubs soon. It's going to be a more uphill battle then.

    Which is why the more I can do now to foster a Pack culture of traditional derby competitive spirit will help keep things that way for more years.

    Most parents of the scouts in our Pack who win a lot offer up help and advice, and invite scouts to their houses to work on cars. Very few people take them up on it. This is the struggle... I don't think parents want to make the effort, it's easier to try and slow down everyone else.
     
  11. Mojo Racing

    Mojo Racing National Contender Pro Racer

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    Do Your Okayest
     
  12. dan s

    dan s Pack Champion

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    This is our first year in racing and we loved it. We did it together, we watched videos. We researched, We tried new stuff that did not work, tried some old stuff that worked. We had a great time. The honest truth is the children and parents get out of Pinewood derby what they put into it. Parents that just show up to race day asking for help to putting the tires and axles on, don't complain about coming in last place. Life is about trying and wanting to do better. If you are the type of person that settles for what you have and where you are in life then your kids will too. I get up every morning wanting to make a better life for myself and my family, my son gets up early works hard and tries to do better. That is all you can ever want and ask for in life is the opportunity to do better and make a better life for your family. We greatly appreciate the members of this forum for helping guide us along our Pinewood Derby journey. No body is unbeatable, no one is unteachable. People just need to have patients and the desire to do better. and if you sacrifice some time and put in some effort you will keep getting better. Pinewood Derby is teaching our kids to try harder to get ahead and I love what we have been fortunate enough to get out of BSA and Pinewood derby. Some of my fondest memories are from scouts. I hope my child is able to look back on his life and remember these long hours we spent together working hard to do better. I hope pinewood derby never changes but continues to evolve. Thanks to all that help us.
     
  13. slipstream

    slipstream Pinewood Ninja Pro Racer

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    My brother has the same problem in his district with 4 boys winning year after year. They said we will be changing the rules to "level the playing field"..He said instead of changing rules how abut teaching them how to go faster "to level the playing field"? ...can you do a class for us? YES (he is a high school science teacher). I sent him a 2 page pro tip guide. It was emailed to everyone. It worked they all had faster cars. He still won district but it wasn't by a full car length or more like the last 3 years. There were much closer finishes with people's ooo's and wow's going. 3nd - 6th were not much different the pro cars 1-5th place time separations. They don't know he isn't going to enter his last boy because the lds church is leaving boy scouts he said there is no point to even start him in it for a year.
     
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  14. Loud2ns

    Loud2ns Pinewood Ninja

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    I'm still convinced in my own mind that the same people that were dominating before will dominate after the rule changes. They were the ones to figure the speed tricks before and will take the time and effort to figure out how to win with the stricter rules.
     
  15. Thinkin'Bout Racin

    Thinkin'Bout Racin League Racer

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    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, we have a winnner!!!!!

    Yes there are exceptions, but for the most part, those that put the time, effort, and research into winning under one set of rules, will do the same for the new set of rules!

    Let's face it, everyone wants to win.
    Not everyone can win. There just isn't more than one first place.
    There are many ways to "win".

    So should we focus more on how to help everyone learn the process and the physics involved? I think so!

    That is why I teach the kids as much or more than I teach the parent. That is why I tell the parent they should build their own car first, so they can learn and then reinforce the principle of what makes a car fast. This also allows the parent to be a mentor while working/bonding with their kids. Time is always limited. Time spent with your kids is precious!

    I think that if the kids learn about physics and how to use their hands, that they in fact become winners. They all can't get a first place trophy, but they can learn about important life lessons. This helps them to be winners in life.

    I have been asked to teach a class at the District level for Pinewood Derby. It appears I may do a couple. Each catering to the audience skill level. Again, I think it is import to teach and for the kids to learn.

    Most of the time I am greatly rewarded with THEIR successes at the races. I am always rewarded when working with the kids and all of a sudden "they get it"! Both make me smile!!!!! :D:)
     
  16. firestone

    firestone Bent Axle

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    I'm noticing that many parents greatly underestimate what Cub-age kids can understand about physics and aerodynamics. Or that they can be taught anything related to physics at this age and actually retain it or use it. But just ask any kid who can build a good car how they did it. If they were hands-on with the build, they get it. There was a video I saw posted after the NYC event recently, an interview with a kid about why his car was fast. He explains his ideas about aerodynamics very well, without any help.

    This is why we have the NOVA program, the BSA knows that kids at this age get it.

    I helped a kid who wasn't my son (or another family member) this year for the first time. I was really happy with my son's success, especially because I had some doubts about his chosen car design and he proved me wrong, But it was definitely a little different to see the other kid I helped do well at the races, too. This was a kid who had no idea what to do to build a car, nor did his parents. So for him to get a 3rd place medal was really cool. Hopefully it fuels his interest in this stuff and makes him want to learn more.
     
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