First goals are best goals.

The first award in my life, and the one I will always treasure was when I was eight years old, and I was a Cub Scout.

My Dad took me there, but before he did, my Den-Mother Mom held our weekly meeting in our basement.  I was eight then, the smallest kid in my class.  We met on a Thursday afternoon down there below the house, and the eight kids in my Den (We called them that for animalistic purposes back in the days when calling yourself a Bobcat, or a Cougar, or a Wolf, was a badge of pride) got together in the basement for a den meeting.

The bigger ones were called pack meetings, but we were a den, and we were kids.  At this den meeting, we were handed a block of pinewood in a plastic bag, accompanied by four plastic wheels and two tiny pieces of steel they referred to as “axles”.  They announced, in no dispirited way, that we were entering the Pinewood Derby Championship of Flat Rock, Michigan, and we damn-well better win.  I may have assumed the latter part, but I believed it, Dad believed it, and if we hadn’t pulled it off, I would probably have been a juvenile delinquent.

Dad and I spent weeks in the basement getting ready for my first spectacular success.  I mostly watched the transformation from block of wood to race car, but when it was shaped and painted bright red, I just knew that we were going to win.  Dad sneaked into Mom’s sewing kit and borrowed her sewing machine oil, which he applied to the axles, and we were ready.  We drove down to the VFW hall, where a track, about as tall as me, was set for my first World Championship.  I had never lived outside of Flat Rock, so at eight years of age, it was my world, and I was determined to win it all.

I won.  We won.  Dad was proud, I got a plaster of Paris plaque, and I have treasured it ever since.  It has suffered over the years since 1964, but it is my first win, the big one, and I will carry it with honor to the day I die.  I am a Pinewood Derby Champion, and nobody, I mean Nobody, can take that away from me.

We all have our successes, however small.  They form our character, and they are personal to us.  Look at these glorious steps beyond mediocrity as the framework to build a lifetime of opportunities to succeed.  Pinewood Derby