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Mock Trial Year 1

May 21st, 2022

Warning: this is about mock trial. Ian really likes talking about mock trial. He is trying to make these as interesting as possible for people to read but let's be honest, sometimes Ian can be a bit of a doofus. Proceed with caution.

At the end of each year, the graduating seniors say a few words about their past four years before they graduate. They're moving toasts, and it's understandably bittersweet to see people leave whatever strange waystation Tufts Mock Trial has become.

But I've been thinking about how we're all saying goodbye to mock trial, not just the seniors. In highschool, the choir I sang in felt a little different every year. The new freshmen and sophomores that got in changed the culture, replacing whatever flavor the graduating seniors left with. Each year, that choir was a different place. And I didn't realize that until after, until the new group had coalesced and I realized the old culture and dynamic was over.

This applies to mock too. My position in this group is gonna change, from darling freshman to washed-up sophomore. Bennett and the rest of the seniors are leaving; new people are in charge and the freshmen class will be different. So the way I think and feel and see mock trial won't be the same either. And that has made me want to write a toast to what this year of mock has been. Because in three years when I actually stand up to say goodbye so much of mock will already be over.

When I was in high school I found the public youtube video of the 2020 Tufts v. Wesleyan round. And I watched it and thought “One day I’m gonna do that.” Sometimes I think about that moment and smile, because that kid had no idea what he was in for.

If you’ve known me for the past year you’ve known that sometimes this team has been really hard. I wish I could say I knew going in what TMT was gonna be for me. Wish I knew about the late nights, the long weeks, the heartbreak and disappointment, the sleep deprivation, and the anxiety.

More times than I can count this activity has broken me down and made me doubt I was ever enough—good enough at mock trial as a competitor, good enough as a friend or as a person. But here I am.

Because mock trial is a labor of love. Watching that video last spring, what I never could have imagined was how the people on this team would become more important to me than I can really begin to describe. They are my friends, my support. And cliches exist for a reason: They are my family.

Family is messy and chaotic. Of course this team has brought me my highest highs and lowest lows! That's what family does.

At nationals, the night before round one, Tufts A and B and the group of alumni who made the pilgrimage gathered in a hotel room. And the last person to speak before we disbanded to prep for the next day was Bennett. He said that on the Tuesday after nationals, the first time he'd wake up in his own bed, the question that was gonna be in his head was "was it worth it?" Was this team worth the sacrifices he'd made over four years just for mock trial?

I think I know the answer, for me at least. The answer is that whether family is worth it or not is missing the point. Family is a gift you don't turn down.

Next year will be different. I'll be coming back a little more cynical, less willing to throw myself at this activity believing it is all I need in college. Honestly, I'm not sure I want to make all the sacrifices that Bennett did. But in saying goodbye to this era of mock, to the family that it's been, all I can really say is that I'm glad the Ian from high school found these people and made of Tufts Mock Trial what he did.