Mock Trial: The Night Before Competing

Today, the Mock Trial A and B teams headed out to Lansing for the state tournament which takes place tomorrow morning, March 29.

Team members gathered in Chloe’s room after sixth block, bags and belongings sprawled out around her room, and a casual and familiar buzz emanated among team members. They made their way to the back lot, packing their belongings into the cars of the parents who volunteered to drive students to Lansing. Car by car, students arrived to the hotel at which they had all made reservations for tonight.

Teammates flocked around the conference room, waiting for it to be unlocked. A bag of apples was passed around, eagerly taken and soon annihilated. When the room was unlocked, both teams ran through the trial one last time before the competition, and were side by side; a room divider between team A and B. The trials ran their course for around two hours, and after running through the case, just as they had been most every weeknight for several months, everyone gathered and walked to a restaurant for dinner.

The state capitol stood high just a few blocks away from the hotel as the evening turned into night. The restaurant, Clara’s Restaurant was a turn of the century railroad station with high ceilings and extravagant design, just feet away from an functioning railroad track. A railroad car was attached to the restaurant, housing a narrow aisle of tables where the Mock Trial folks were seated.

Small groups were enlocked in lively banter, meals were plated up, checks were paid, and as people filed out of the restaurant, three groups of people crouched over smartphones to witness the end of the Michigan V. Tennessee March Madness basketball game.

Gathering back into the conference room, everyone sat in a semi-circle and coaches presented their final notes.

Last year, as a game to end the night, Mock Trial folks played a game called “Honey If You Love Me.” In the game, a person tries to make other people laugh while saying the phrase, “honey if you love me, you will smile,” usually resorting to outrageous body position and physical comedy. To stay in the game, you must say, “honey I love you, but I just can’t smile” without laughing or grinning. This can help prepare students for unexpected events that may happen in competition and trains them to keep their composure. Chloe provided a variation to this game, where students simulate “power poses”, pair up with a lawyer or witness they speak with during direct examination, and run through the most difficult part of the direct examination without laughing. Whoever laughs, loses.

With the serious and the silly, the Mock Trial teams took their last strides toward competition today. All that is left to do is compete.