The Columns

Relationships Are the Best Prize Participating in Mock Trial required loads of time for Avery Field ’17, but he wouldn’t trade the experience and relationships for a whole case of trophies.

— by on May 23rd, 2017

“At the end of my four years at W&L… I know that the relationships I’ve developed with the people I got to know in pursuit of those trophies will last a lifetime.”

Avery Field ’17 considers relationships – not trophies – the true prize when he competes

If I had a dollar for every time I told a friend or a professor “I can’t, I have Mock Trial,” I wouldn’t have paid a dime for college.  I tried to think about the number of hours over my four years at W&L that I spent practicing, planning for, or competing in Mock Trial, but I quickly realized that was an impossible task.  Between practice three, four, five, sometimes six times a week, work outside of practice, and competitions on weekends, I easily spent more time on Mock Trial than I did on classes. 

All of the hours and the practices and late nights and times I had to say “Sorry, I have Mock Trial” paid off in a big way this season. There is plenty to say about the success we had this year, but I don’t think that is where I want to go with this. Earlier this year, The Radish posted an article poking fun of the Mock Trial team for posting pictures of the team with trophies all over social media – it was a funny piece, and we had fun laughing at our own expense at the article. But honestly, the trophies weren’t the reason for those pictures; they were just an excuse to take pictures as a team.  

When you spend as many hours working as a team as the Mock Trial team does, there is no way you couldn’t get to know each person on the team well. And I don’t just mean their strengths and weaknesses in the courtroom. Over my four years in Mock Trial, I’ve gotten to know where my teammates are from, what their family backgrounds are like, what they are passionate about, what they want to do with their lives, what their beliefs are, what they see as their purpose as both as a student at W&L and in life. Every year we tell new members of the Mock Trial team the same cliché: that Mock Trial becomes your family at Washington and Lee. And we tell them that because it’s true – because we spend hours working together, eating together, sweating together in stuffy courtrooms, and celebrating together.     

My W&L experience has truly been defined by Mock Trial; not because of the successes I’ve had individually or that we’ve had as a team, but because of the people I’ve gotten to know in the process.  At the end of my four years at W&L, all the Mock Trial trophies are already gathering dust on a bookshelf in our coach’s office, but I know that the relationships I’ve developed with the people I got to know in pursuit of those trophies will last a lifetime.

Do you know an exceptional student? Someone passionate?
Someone involved? Do you want to see their face on a My W&L profile? Why not nominate them?