On my son’s window sill sit about six trophies from his days of playing anything from soccer to baseball, basketball to flag football. But the newest addition to his collection is the one that should mean the most.
Two years ago, Calvin decided he wanted to join the Cub Scouts. At that time our lives were already busy and adding another weekly meeting to our schedule seemed more like a chore at first. So to be sure it would be time well spent, I ask Cal if he would stick with it once he got started. He was so excited that we were even thinking about letting him join, that the answer to that question was easy to see by the wide grin on his face.
I can’t say enough about what Cub Scouts has done for my little guy. He sees the world much differently after the lessons learned and the good deeds done. His grasp of responsibility has emerged and his confidence level is at an all-time high after volunteering to say the “Scout Oath” in front of the entire pack at a meeting last month (he might just be as big of a ham as his Dad).
The activities keep him going all year long. We have spring and fall camp outs. We volunteer in parts of our community that might need a helping hand and this year he even learned CPR. For both Calvin and I, the best part of the year is getting a car ready for the annual Pinewood Derby Races. We have used the past couple of Christmas Breaks to get our ride ready for the track. Last year was our rookie season and I didn’t know the first thing about how to make that little car go. I let Cal design the car and put the weights on where he saw fit. Even with my lack of knowledge, it was difficult to not “butt in” and help a little more to make sure we came in with a respectable time (and hopefully just made it down the track).
I think he and I would call year one a success. We didn’t have the fastest hot rod, but we didn’t have the slowest one either. But boy did that car look good!
As soon as we left last year’s race he was talking about how to make an even better car this year. He heard from other scouts that putting more weight on the back of the car would make it faster and that aerodynamics can make a big difference too.
Right after we picked up this year’s rectangular, unfinished block of wood, Cal told me he wanted to make this car look like a piece of cheese. I told him that Ohio was the No. 1 producing Swiss Cheese state in the nation and within a split second his mind was made up.
Work began as we made that unimaginative block into a yellow wedge with randomly placed and sized dots of black paint. After a few days, “Holey Cow” was ready to go!
Cal was excited and a little nervous (his Dad was too) to see how much he had improved his model from just a year ago. There would be an hour of racing 80 grueling heats of three cars to find out.
In Calvin’s first heat, he was the first to cross the finish line and he was elated. Minutes later another first place and then yet another. Three for three was a start neither of us expected. We came up against some stiff competition as the morning went on and the last three heats had us in 2nd, 2nd and 1st!
After all of the times were tallied, it was time to announce the winners. Wouldn’t you know it that the Third Place trophy for the den went to none other than Calvin Higgins.
I was very proud, but I couldn’t show it too much with the other dads milling around. Needless to say Cal was proud too and he clenched that trophy tight all the way home. This trophy was different. This trophy meant something more. This trophy was earned and not just given for showing up, like the six previous ones were.
The score was kept. The results were real. The effort paid off. Now THAT is a trophy worth bringing home. Calvin has already made room for an even bigger trophy next year and he already has a plan to make that happen.