Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Defending (and Prosecuting) Champions

The last two months have been the quickest, most eventful Tufts Mock Trial season yet. From September 13th to November 13th, we grew, trained, and dominated in the courtroom. Without further ado, your 2011 invitational season recap thus far.

Mario, Sam, and Kara, a captain who stepped up to help out when we were short a member

I started this year off as TMT Officer of External Affairs and Public Relations, responsible for, among other things, our September recruitment and tryout process. That process began with some friendly Facebook interactions, and kicked into gear once the freshmen arrived on campus. Posters, banners, and a a table at the Activities Fair brought prospective mockers to the TMT General Interest Meeting, where Nick, Lindsey, and I employed hypnotism and brainwashing techniques to convince fresh new faces to throw away all of their free time.

Tryouts were long and amusing as the captains' committee watched TMT hopefuls present elaborate accounts of fairy-tale trials and reenact highlights of last year's case. Ultimately, we whittled down the applicant pool and accepted 14 brand new teammates, an unprecedented number of which had never mocked before. But making those acceptance phone calls was the easy part; our work was just beginning.

Team "Dan Slate," named in honor of the A'11 student who captained my invitational team last year, had 26 days to prepare for the first tournament of our season: University of New Hampshire. The same weekend, Tufts sent a team out to Columbia. The reception at the law school was spotty, but between occasional text messages, we were able to keep up with one another's progress.

Half of our member were new recruits, though not all of them were freshmen

We started off strong at UNH, coming out of round one with a 2-0. Our brothers at Columbia had split 1-1. By the time we went out for Chinese food that night, Tufts Mock Trial was 4-0 and 2-2, respectively. The next morning, we hit Yale, and despite our best efforts, closer Annie Wong stole one judge's heart (and ballot). We split, as did our counterpart (against Fordham), bringing us to a 5-1 and 3-3.

The fourth and final round scores are never announced; anticipation builds as the closing ceremony draws out winners of witness, attorney, and finally, team awards. Just as I was explaining to newbie Samantha Sokol the difficulties of winning an individual award, she was called to accept hers. Guess I should have read the ballots more carefully in the tab room! Over at Columbia, closing attorneys Nick and Alex each earned awards.

Our Columbia team went 4-4, winning 8th place, and we ended with a 6-2 record, securing third place in the Wildcat Tournament. A fantastic start to the season, the team nonetheless was shaken by a rough final round, not to mention a long drive home and the promise of Monday classes. There was still more practicing to be done.

TMT at UNH 2011, 3rd Place

The two teams at Brandeis did not benefit from my live tweeting coverage, but ended with identical 4-3-1 records and the highest combined strengths in the tournament (level of difficulty of opponents, based on opponents' records). We brought home two witness and one attorney award, including Hayeon's perfect 20-rank prosecution witness.

Next up was the Mumbo Jumbo, Tufts' own invitational tournament. Our team was the only school representative, save the bye-buster team, which was made up predominately of jumbos. We split our first match, landing a 1-1 in a shaky start to the weekend. Making it up in the next round, we slept in familiar dorm beds on Saturday night with a 3-1 and an uncertain future.

Sunday morning was defense, and came with its own set of surprises. Thanks to a unique situation in witness calls, we had to run a last-minute double-backup witness role. Fortunately, things went more than smoothly. After some outstanding impeachment work by freshman Mario Feola, and a performance the likes of which I had never before seen Kate present, we took both ballots from Penn State University.

It all came down to the final match. Okay; it always comes down to the final match. Tufts v. Boston University. We were prosecution. I was closing. The judges? Impossible to read. Anything could happen. Deep breath. "May it please the court..."

At closing ceremonies, our team was ecstatic when captains, Sam and myself, won attorney awards. But the real prizes were the three gleaming trophies which would be distributed to the top three competitors. Of the schools in the room, three had made it to the top 10 at nationals the year prior. Technically, we were one of them. But half of our current team-members had never done this before.

Last year, Tufts took first place at Mumbo. This year, we defended that title. With a final record of 7-1, we had made an incredible comeback, winning every consecutive ballot after that Saturday morning round.

TMT at Mumbo Jumbo, 1st Place

Yep, it's that shiny in real life, too.

Our team is finished with our jam-packed fall season, but Tufts Mock Trial teams are still working hard in preparation for upcoming invitationals. How many shiny objects will we bring home this semester? It's hard to say for certain. But that will be up to someone else. For me, it's time to take a brief, month-long recess. The prosecution rests.


  1. Congratulations - you deserve a month long recess! ♥ MOM

  2. Kudos to you Brian, we're both so very proud of you!!

    Grandmom and Grandpop

  3. Thanks! I find it extremely amusing that you all sign your posts and then select to comment as "Anonymous." You know, you can select to comment as "INSERT YOUR NAME."

  4. Congrats to TMT Team.. uh... Blue?.. uh... Pancake?.. well... whatever your moniker - Great job! Good luck to you all in the Spring collecting shiny things!

    CAT: Hey! You can't have my shiny thing! I found it, it's my shiny thing.
    RIMMER: What are you dribbling about?
    CAT: This is my shiny thing, and if you try and take it off me, I may have to eat you.

  5. Henry & ShelleyNovember 16, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    We will try to remember, Brian!

  6. You might have misspelled your name there...

  7. Love it Brian. Great coverage. I'm especially partial to the team name. Keep up the awesome work!


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