May 04, 2007

AWANA Grand Prix

This was our first year to participate in the Grand Prix. Charis was so excited when she learned she'd get to make and race a car...unfortunately, she was sorely disappointed when she learned it wasn't a REAL car she could actually fit inside and drive herself. However, she and Ted had fun working with the wood block. Ted drew a few designs of typical racing cars, and Charis very firmly rejected all of them. She knew what she wanted, and she even drew the plans for Ted! So, a convertible it was.

My job was to help with the painting and decorating. Once again, Charis had very definite ideas about what she wanted to do, so my only contribution was actually getting out the paint and squirting it onto newspaper for her. She did all the rest!

Ted bought some weighted fishhooks, and we clipped off the hook part and screwed them upside down into the "seats" of the car so that they looked like people. With the pink finish and purple racing stripe, it looked like a Barbie car or something, but Charis was justifiably proud of her work.

The big day arrived. With the maximum weight limit at 5 ounces, we breezed in at 4.6. Tobin and Arden joined in the fun by purchasing Hot Wheels for their own race with other Cubbies. All the kids and adults were in one small room, which made for lots of chaos, but thankfully Kenna slept through all the commotion. I was bouncing back and forth between the big track and the Cubbies' track. Arden was convinced his car won after each heat, even though he only actually did once, but his excitement was contagious and fun to watch. Tobin didn't win any heats, but he did manage to pick out the one and only Hot Wheels with a skull and crossbones on the car doors, so he was happy with his "pirate car."

Charis's car came in dead last in the first heat. I was so proud of her when she put on a brave smile and said, "Kennedy's car came in first!" Her friend Kennedy had raced against her and won, and I was happy to see Charis's good attitude. Fortunately, unlike last year (from what I hear), it wasn't a single elimination, so Charis was elated when, quite awhile later, her car came in first. Unfortunately, it came in last in the next heat, which meant she was eliminated altogether.

We probably would have been all right, but a well-meaning friend told Charis that she bet her car would win an award for best design because it was "so darn cute," and, as she told me privately, the judges would be able to tell that Charis had done it herself. I didn't want Charis to get her hopes up, but she began to assume that she'd get an award. I watched from the sidelines later on as the names were called, and when I saw the third place winner for design, I was fairly certain that Charis was not going to get an award. Her little face got longer and longer with each name that was called, and by the time it was over her little lip was quivering. She could hardly keep from rubbing her eyes for the Sparkie group picture and came and cried on my shoulder immediately afterward.

I felt so bad I got teary myself, but it was a good life lesson. We can't always win, but we can be happy for others who do. Friend Kennedy won a trophy for the race, and friend Jillian won a design trophy. We had fun and learned a lot, and hey, there's always next year.


tina said...

That car is ADORABLE!!! I love her pink convertable! What a talent for design! I'm sorry the night ended sad for her, but hopfully she'll be able to have fun playing with the car now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember, but Natalie and I had an engineer design our car one year and it came in dead last in each heat. Goes to show that even professionals lose sometimes!


Megan said...

I remember racing cars in the AWANA Grand Prix and being so frustrated when the kids who parents had built and painted their cars won for speed or design. The poor kids who actually did their own works didn't have a chance!

Then again, my dad designed my award-winning "Valentine Rabbit" valentine's box in 3rd grade, and I still feel guilty for winning the prize for best design when all I did was glue heart-shaped doilies all over the box at his command! LOL