One of the unexpected perks I’ve gotten out of competing at the college level for Mock Trial is all of the travel I’ve done. I’ve gone to new cities and new states (including exciting Northeast places like Philadelphia and New York City!) and seen much more of the country than I would have as a clueless underclassman. This past weekend, my team (the wonderful Team #1007) and I traveled to St. Louis to compete at the Arch Invitational at Washington University in St. Louis. Thanks to the hard work of both our co-presidents and tournament director (and Dean Boswell!) in securing us a spot and funding, we were able to compete, and it was honestly one of my top tournament experiences.
One of the things I love about Mock Trial is how close a team gets – we spend several hours a week together, even more in smaller groups (either as an attorney panel, a witness-attorney pair, or doing other things like putting together the evidence box), we all know more than the average college student about whichever legal issue is being addressed this year, we have a ridiculous amount of case-related inside jokes at this point, and we spend several weekends never being more than about 10 feet away from everyone else. But that ends up being okay, because we’re all bonding over how much we care about prosecuting/defending this random college guy named Danny Dawson who’s been accused of a DUI-murder (thanks, AMTA).
The tournament was also a great chance to get back in the swing of all things evidence, arguing, teamwork, presentation, and tactical related. One of the cool things about college level mock trial (for any high school competitors reading this) is that you don’t know which witnesses the other side will call. Some are pretty predictable, some aren’t, but up until 30 minutes before trial begins, you really have no idea who they’ll call (and sometimes who you’ll call), and as a result of that, your case theory and/or theme. So, while we have definitely been preparing, preparation here is much more about flexibility, and being able to jump in where you’re needed. Even if the same witness is called, they might testify about completely different things, the witnesses may act completely differently, and the attorneys you’ll be battling with to keep evidence in/out will also vary wildly.
Here are a few more highlights from the trip:
-Getting to see JHU_Mandy, who’s currently at law school at WashU!
-Seeing the Midwest for the first time (Ohio doesn’t count, I think). Everyone there is so nice and sweet and went out of their way to make us feel welcomed and help us find our way about the city.
-Eating dinner at a restaurant focused solely on serving different types of macaroni and cheese
-Seeing (from the street) the Cardinals play!
-Upping my state count, +1 if airports don’t count, and +2 if airports do count
-Not tripping/making a fool out of myself while wearing heels
-Enjoying beautiful weather! Most tournaments are during cold/rainy/snowy weather, and dealing with nice shoes/suits while staying warm and waterproof isn’t much fun.
-Airplanes!!!!!! Fun fact – I love seeing airplanes and airports and being in them.
-A real froyo place!
-Figuring out how to transport an easel, demonstratives, a trial box, an evidence box to St. Louis without too much damage (which was partially achieved, possibly due to the ridiculously large suitcase that I’ve only ever used before for moving, but also can hold demonstratives!).
-Spending a weekend with a wonderful (and “deer”) group of friends :)