Soap Box Derby

January 17, 2011
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I start to fall. I hear the screaming of the crowd to the right of me. I start to move faster and faster and am beating the cars to both sides of me. Then, the steep part of the hill comes and the other two cars scream by. I get to the finish line 20 feet behind the others and lose the race. Every race that day happened the exact same way; I was winning in the beginning then lose by a lot in the end. After every race I get more and more disappointed in myself.
I didn’t come close to doing well that year so, I designed a new car and became determined to come back and do well the next time. Fast forward a year. I was loaded onto the starting ramp for my first run; I was invigorated and ready to win every race to get to the finals. The gate fell and I feel the wind and moisture as cold as ice on my face. My eyes start to water and in an instant BANG. Did I just get hit? I look left and see another racers car jammed on mine. I raced out of my car to see if he is alright. Fortunately we both walked away unscathed. I can’t say that much about the cars, though—my car had its steering cable broken and the other racers car had a hole in the side of it. My pit crew and I hurry to get the car fixed in time. Two races before mine. The car is not fixed, but I’m determined to race again. Finally, as I am about to be disqualified, the car is fixed. After the crash, I did not win again and I had to wait until the next year to race again. I realized that in order to win I had to persevere—so I designed another new car and made it out of balsa wood to be as light as possible.
Race day came in a flash and this time I was more ready than ever. The first race I lost. But, the second and third I got first. One more race to get to the finals. The gate drops and my car starts to roll down the hill. The other two racers start to pass me but when the steep part of the hill comes I fly by. I am a car length in front. The finish line is in sight and in the corner of my eye I see another driver catching up. We both cross the finish line around the same time and neither of us knows who won. The other racers and I get out of our cars congratulate each other as we ride up the hill. We get to the top of the hill and, in shock, found out that I made it to the finals.
I sat at the hill for four hours and watched the younger kids’ race, then the children with special needs. When it’s time for the finals I was fortunate enough to race two times. On my first I won by only an inch and the second I lost by a car length. The next year came and I was too old to race but I still wanted to be a part of it—so I volunteered to work during race day. I was assigned to work the finish line camera and again on one of the first races right off the starting ramp two kids collide. That’s ironic, I thought as I sprinted up the hill to check if the racers were alright.





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