Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story Of A Winning Smile

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is ‘Split-Second Story’ in which Shane asks us to:

‘…capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame.’

We’re asked to put our National Geographic hats on and become a documentary photographer, capturing  a candid moment in time of a person, place or thing through a single image.

So, what story shall I tell for this challenge?  There could be so many.  Time to think and trawl through the memory banks, which is easier and more helpful than going straight to the endless photographs.  For as many as I have saved digitally, there are hundreds more stashed away in boxes.

The photo that came to mind though was easy to find, and this is my split-second story:

Both my boys were Scouts.  In fact, Eldest Son made it all the way to Eagle Scout.  You bet I’m proud!  Youngest Son Nicky, seen here as a Cub Scout, went on to Boy Scouts until he decided to pursue Tae Kwon Do instead.

An annual event held by the Boy Scouts of America is the Pinewood Derby.

For my British friends, this is a competition whereby you fashion a racing car out of kits comprising a block of pine wood (hence the name!), plastic wheels and metal axles.

The cars are then raced,  in twos or fours, down a special wooden track raised at one end so that once let go, they travel by their own momentum.

All very specific and all very traditional.  Also very competitive with the dads (and some moms!).

It’s all about the way the lead weights are strategically positioned on the car, how the wheels and axles are fitted, how well, or not so well as the case may be, the car is sanded, painted and varnished.

The cars are weighed before they race to ensure they are all ‘legal’ and it is all done by process of elimination.

Nicky had grown up watching his older brother enter the competitions over the years and we had a few disappointments along the way; the car was too slow, too bulky, the wheels were put on wrong, the weights in the wrong place.  You name it, we did it.

Then it was Nicky’s turn.

The race was announced, to be held at one of the elementary schools in our community, and Nicky and his dad set to work.  All very serious stuff.  We figured we had learnt a few lessons along the way.

The day came, Nicky showed up but he knew only one or two other boys as most were from visiting packs.  All standing about proudly showing off their cars, excited as can be.

Then the race began.  Tensions rose, dads took their places, anxiously pushing guiding their sons into position when it was time for their cars to race.

The  elimination process began.  Nicky got through his first heat, his car whizzing by the others.  Then the next heat, his opponents biting the dust and one flying off the track half way down.

Heat after heat and Nicky’s car kept going, beating every rival until the very last race and it came down to the last two.  The big one.

By now the crowd could only manage a few whispers as all everyone could do was to stare at Nicky and ask, “Who is he?  Where did he come from?  Is he going to win?”

Dear reader, Nicky won that race and we were ecstatic!  He was pretty pleased too! The look on everyone’s faces was an absolute picture as they asked the question, “Who is this usurper out of nowhere?”

Nicky wins the Pinewood Derby! 1997 (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Nicky wins the Pinewood Derby! 1997
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

I’ll leave you to imagine the rest of the story as told by the others in the photograph (none of whom I know!) What’s for certain is that the boy next to Nicky, who was the favourite to win apparently, doesn’t seem too pleased with having come in second place.

But my boy is oh-so-pleased and his winning smile made this mama as happy as can be.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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52 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story Of A Winning Smile

  1. Imelda says:

    Nikki is absolutely beaming in the photo. Why won’t he be? 🙂 But he learned a lesson more valuable that being first place – perseverance. Everybody has a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bulldog says:

    Oh what a win for him… and for the rest of the family… loved the story… now for the million dollar question. is that you standing next to him.??? ‘Cause if it is you sure are taking it calmly, Linda wouldn’t have been able to stand still… I recall when our son got his degree and walked up to collect it at the ceremony Linda became so vocal I pretended I didn’t know her… the Dean even said “now there’s a proud mother!” where everyone else was being all sedate and proper Linda was anything but…

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    • Sherri says:

      No Bulldog, that’s not me! I don’t know who she is! I should have put in there that I can’t remember if she is the other boy’s mother or one of the organisers, haha!! I took the photo and yes, I was ecstatic, woo hoo 😀 😀 😀

      Like

      • bulldog says:

        Must be the other mother cause she sure don’t look too pleased with the fact of who won… so kudos to you…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        No, she doesn’t look very happy but they were all like that! They were quite sour about it and that made it more the sweeter that Nicky won as they didn’t take it too well as you can see by the looks on their faces! And I was just the same as your Linda when my boys got their degrees…I try to be calm and quiet but, well, sometimes it’s hard to do that… 😀

        Like

  3. May the best car / boy win! Good for the little guy for his perseverance as well. What a happy fellow as he should have been. Someone will always be sour about whoever wins. Wonderful story, Sherri. You had me on the edge of my seat. 😮

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  4. CrazyGuyinThailand says:

    Cool 🙂

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  5. Yea, Nicky! You go, boy!!! (and now, you go, man!)
    Congrats, as always, because we know how important a good mother is and how proud she is of her children: Yea, Mom!

    Like

  6. Pat says:

    I’m glad you cleared that up, Sherri, on it not being you in the picture. I was a little confused on which one was Nicky, if he was the one with the blue ribbon or red one. Here, in the US, blue ribbons are the ones typically for 1st place. I got it now. I love the look of joy on his face. It must have been a happy day. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes Pat, I took this photo! I think the woman is one of the organisers of the event. Obviously I was just being a bit cheeky in my comment to Bulldog about her not looking too happy – British humour!! He came home with a big trophy but I couldn’t find the photo of that! I was hoping that Nicky’s smile would give it away as to which one he was, sorry for the confusion! It was strange though as the others that day were a bit shocked that Nicky won as he was the new kid on the block!! I was thinking of the story this told and yes, it was a very happy day 🙂

      Like

      • Pat says:

        Sherri – I’m glad it turned out so well for him especially as a first-timer. I love when things work out that way and you come away with such good memories that last a lifetime. Does he still have the trophy?

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      • Sherri says:

        Thank you Pat, it was such a lovely feeling. Actually, what you say about the ribbon colours got me thinking and looking at this I’m now thinking I got the wrong photo but for the life of me I don’t remember him coming in second as well!! Still, he did win and even if this isn’t the right one, it still shows his delight and for the challenge I like the way that everyone’s expressions tell a split-second story and Nicky’s lovely smile 🙂 It’s a bit embarrassing actually…but I really thought this was the one where he won!
        The trophy is packed up somewhere with all his other things from those days when we moved here. We have everything in our loft and garage and it’s time for a major sort out methinks 🙂

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  7. What a great capture of a beautiful moment, Sherri. Oh happy day for Nicky. 🙂

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  8. Heyjude says:

    What a joyous moment! He looks dead chuffed! What I want to know is who is the guy in the background checking everything out?

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  9. What a great photo, Sherri! Nicky looks so proud, as he should be. What a great story that could only be told by a proud momma like yourself. 🙂 I love the guy, in the background, wearing the cowboy hat, he looks curious. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I do love this photo Jill, I remember taking it as if it were yesterday! Nicky’s beaming smile makes me so happy for him and yes, a very proud momma indeed 😀 Yes, Cowboy-Guy seems to have everyone guessing…wonder what he’s thinking? Glad you enjoyed it, thanks Jill 🙂 xoxo

      Like

  10. Steven says:

    Another interesting answer to the challenge, Sherri P. Haha, everybody has said it but he really does look so chuffed; a winning smile, indeed – very heart-warming!

    Oh, and I also thought that was you in the photo at first, so thanks for clearing that one up for us! I did wonder though, as I was sure you’d have looked happier than that!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well, well, well. Great Scotland Yard! JG is back…shout it from the roof tops, spray it with grafitti, sing it from the shower (well, perhaps not…moving swiftly on from that thought..!) and how wonderful!! I was wondering how soon it would be…sooner than I realised! The return of high jinks, capers and shenanigans. Jenny Jen Jen and I have carried on bravely – haven’t we JJJ?
      It really is great to have you back, welcome my friend. Love the ‘new look’ too…hmmmm, will have to show Aspie D…
      Glad that the issue of who that woman is was cleared up. No, I think she was one of the organisers and yes, you can be sure I was definitely much happier than that!!
      Now for the downer. I came over to your blog and left a lovely, long, friendly message, tried twice no-less and the darn thing didn’t go through, sooooo. can you kindly check your spam as I suspect they’ve gone there. I’ve been having the dreaded ‘Spamgate’ problem on and off for ages and it’s really got me down today as I’ve commented on several blogs where this has happened so I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time.
      Anyway,…wanted you to know that…and to wish you a great day 😀

      Like

      • Steven says:

        You bet I’m back. For now, at least! It is rather nice to be in the ol’ Summerhouse of Secrets once again. It’s just as I remember from back in the day 😉

        Ah, seems Spamgate has come back for seconds then… maybe you should post on the support forum? This sort of thing seems to happen so often.

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        I love all the names you come up with…Summerhouse of Secrets sounds, well, interesting… 😉
        I tried to go on a forum but couldn’t find anything this time but I have emailed about it and waiting to hear. I’m hoping today will be better…I’m getting really cheesed off with all the WP gremlins. It takes all the fun out of blogging… 😦

        Like

  11. Loved this! I’m always a sucker for the under dog (and the younger brother who manages to outdo his older brother every now and again 🙂 I have no doubt you were glowing with pride!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Lilka! Yes, it’s nice isn’t it for the younger brother to do that!! Even now the male competition between the two of them (and it’s friendly!) is hilarious!!! Some things never change…and yes, I was indeed glowing with pride 😀
      PS Just to let you know I’m having a lot of problems with commenting on other blogs again so if I’m ‘missing’ from yours that’s why. Very frustrating to say the least and hope it gets sorted once and for all but no idea what the problem is… 😦

      Like

      • WordPress if full of gremlins! My “reader” reads what it wants to when it wants to. I find myself lost in post from months ago, What I follow can’t be found. At first I thought it was just my lack of tech knowledge but I doubt we are the only ones….

        No worries! Peace 🙂

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Yes, the WP gremlins are on the march again..grrrrr…and I’ve had problems with the reader too. Well, we’ll win through won’t we? Thanks for letting me know that Lilka, it helps knowing I’m not the only one…and I could certainly do with a huge helping of peace..same to you my friend 🙂

          Like

  12. Claire Duffy says:

    I love his expression – ‘satisfied with life’ in a nutshell! The rest of the photo is intriguing too – I want to know the story of Mr Cowboy Hat Photobomber!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Claire…thank you very much for your nice comment! Haha, love that – ‘Mr Cowboy Hat Photobomber’! Everyone seems to be curious about him…would love to know… 😀

      Like

  13. Mabel Kwong says:

    Your son looks so happy! Bet he was basking in his glory and enjoying the moment. I bet he tried his hardest and that’s why he won – fair and square no doubt 🙂 I wish I tried one of those racing cars as a kid…but it’s never too late to do so!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Mabel! Well, he certainly was basking in glory here, very pleased with himself, definitely! He really did and he stuck to it and we were so very proud. My daughter loved those cars and we used to get her a kit (they were really cheap) and her dad would make her one too, but just to play with since she was a few years younger. And as you rightly say, it’s never too late… go for it and good luck, lol 😀

      Like

  14. Seyi sandra says:

    Lovely story Sherri. Your sons are both gorgeous! I love when my kids win, so I bet you were proud of them both! 🙂 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Seyi! Actually my son is the one on the left, my youngest, Nicky. The other boy was one of the contestants and the woman is one of the organisers (I think!) I was indeed so very proud, as I am of all my kids and still are now…it’s wonderful when they win isn’t it! 😀

      Like

    • Sherri says:

      Seyi, just to let you know that I tried to leave a comment on your post but it didn’t show up. I think it might have gone to spam and I just wanted you to know so that you could hopefully see it there and be able to read it. Sorry!

      Like

  15. thirdhandart says:

    Love the title (“Split-Second Story Of A Winning Smile”) Sherri. And, the ‘winning’ smile on Nicky’s precious little face is priceless. What a great accomplishment for Nicky… and his super supportive family. You all deserved to win! ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…I really appreciate that Theresa, thank you so much because the title just came to me for this post! Of course, with a smile like that on Nicky’s face, it made it easy 🙂 It was a great day, I remember it like it was yesterday and we all went home with beaming smiles that day… 😀 ❤

      Like

  16. Great capture of a winning moment!

    Like

  17. I can see your beaming smile from here and Nicky’s is there for us to see. What a wonderful day that you will both remember. I can see him telling his kids about it one day and possibly helping them make a car. A lovely split second Sherri. ❤ Cheers Irene. XD

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Irene! Yes, just looking at this photo again certainly does bring a huge smile to my face 😀 It was a wonderful day to remember and I’m glad to be able to share it again here ❤

      Like

  18. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story | The Panama Adventure

  19. Go Nicky! That’s a great story of the ‘underdog’ coming through – that would make a great feel good movie 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I only just saw this message from you Andrea, can’t believe I missed it, so sorry! This has happened a few times lately and not sure why…
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment…it’s great to write about ‘feel good’ moments such as these and remember my smiling son and his utter joy 🙂

      Like

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