The Unsung Tale of Mock Trial Kids

Mock Trial is the love of my life. It has done so much for me; it has honestly become the most important aspect of my high school career. And I think most of our team will tell you much the same.  I don’t think most students join the team anticipating how important it will become to them, how much they will grow to love Mock Trial. But, without fail, Mock Trial surprises everyone—like a brick to the head. Almost all members end up caring for the team far too much to be healthy.

I do appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, the many people who respect Mock Trial. And it’s true that, while most don’t fully understand what we do, the majority of the students at our school value the hard work we put into the team. Teachers, in particular, have been so supportive of us over the years.

But, it is because I care about the team so much, that I become so infuriated when people overlook or insult the team. If there were an award for the most underappreciated group on campus, Mock Trial would definitely be in the running every year.

We don’t get free food the way other Varsity teams do during the luncheons that USB holds. We don’t get a video at rallies. It’s not that I actually want a slot in the rally, I just wish the team would get a little recognition. Actually, I would just be happy if the school unlocked the front gate on days we have practice so I don’t find myself walking for 10 minutes trying to find an entrance or attempting to jump the gate.

What’s worse is the mass of confusion and misperception that surrounds Mock Trial. As a four-year veteran, I’ve taken my fair share of ignorant comments from individuals who not only fail to understand Mock Trial, but won’t even try.

Some people say we’re just a debate team. We’re not. Some say it’s only acting. It’s not. Some even have the nerve to say it’s easy.

I’ve heard people tell my teammates that they “hoped we lose in the upcoming competition.”  It was an off-handed remark and I don’t think they meant it to have the effect it did. But, I don’t think they understand the time, the effort, and literally the tears we’ve shed because of our hard work.

Mock Trial completely absorbs a little more than eight weeks each year of our high school career. During those eight weeks, we meet four days a week after school for two hours each.  That doesn’t even include the time we spend at home writing and preparing. We also meet occasionally at lunches, on Sundays, and during school breaks. On Veteran’s Day—we were practicing. During Thanksgiving break—we were practicing. Remember the furlough days two years ago?  We were practicing.

And the devotion both coaches, Nicole Cabase and Latitia Thomas, have is absolutely amazing. So is the amount of sleep they lose and  Starbucks they consume because of Mock Trial.

Everyone in Mock Trial becomes absolutely obsessed. I, myself, have become so absorbed in the team that I find myself almost saying “Your honor” to teachers and other authority figures and on competition days I look like a maniac reciting arguments to myself.

However, the most common complaint I am confronted with, is that some rude, ill-informed people don’t think Mock Trial “deserves” a Varsity letter.

But, there’s a reason it is the only nonathletic team at Diamond Bar to be considered a Varsity sport. Mock Trial is draining, time consuming, and stressful. It combines acting, quick thinking, writing, public speaking skills, and the ability to adapt to unexpected situations. It is a competition that relies on your ability to be confident, to be intelligent, and to come off as so. It requires a unique blend of talents and hard work that sometimes (even when we spend hundreds of hours) just isn’t enough.

And when it isn’t enough (when we finally lose), it is absolutely heartbreaking. Because when we lose, even in just a single round, we are knocked out of the entire competition. This means it is the end of the season. It’s possible that we’ll no longer see many of our teammates again.

And the feeling is absolutely debilitating because, as any Mock Trial person can tell you, the feeling you get when competing—when you’re in court, when you get the better of the other team, when you’re impeaching a slow witness, when you’re giving an eight minute closing statement from memory—is unbelievably satisfying. It’s honestly the best experience you could ever have.

You end up accomplishing more than you ever thought you could.