Shots: why a top ranking team would willingly chug coffee creamer

It’s August. A stack of graduate school applications, LSAT prep booklets, and potential job prospects are slowly piling up on my desk. My résumé looks like it has been crafted by an advanced 12-year-old, and I am receiving countless emails from the business department reminding me I am behind schedule for the real world (how is that possible? It’s only August). My mind should be focused on so many things other than Mock Trial, but here I am. The week after school starts I am reading through affidavits, putting off work and preparing a case. Coming into this past fall season, I thought I had learned everything there was to know about Mock Trial. I thought I had experienced and seen it all… and then Kennedy hid a coffee creamer in Grace’s retainer case and that all changed.

“I thought I had experienced and seen it all…”

LET’S BACKTRACK! Because you are probably sitting there, reading this, filled with many questions. This past fall season, I was asked to be a co-captain with Kiersten Marsh. Kiersten Marsh can best be described as Elle Woods cranked up three notches on the political side of things. Our team was filled the most random assortment of humans. There was Kennedy, who loves to recycle and remind people home much she HATES the Yankees; there was Savanna who loved to remind Kennedy how much she adored the Republican party; there was Grace who can be seen dabbing anywhere and everywhere and Truman who was following closely behind to remind Grace he had far better dance moves; there was sweet Sam who just took in all the hysteria with Bill (whose age we still are not sure of) attached at his hip. Finally, there was Amara, but 99% of the time we had no idea where she was! All in all, the weirdest selection of humans to ever be placed together.

In October, we attended our first tournament at Elon University: The Carolina Classic. The Carolina Classic sneaks up on you fast. One moment you’re holding your first practice and then BAM! it’s the second week in October. People expect you to present a well-polished case, in front of two judges, dressed like you are twice your real age. Sound strange, I know, but it really is exhilarating. Round one came, we faced Duke A. Duke A won the National Championship for Mock Trial in 2012, and Duke A also won the first round against my team handily. As I pulled the team into the hallway following that round the only encouraging words I could find were, “Every team has a bad round, just make sure that is ours.” Inspiring, I know, but whatever I said must have struck some meaning with them because after that round they were not the same team.

After round two we were 2-2 (AKA doing decently) and we found out we were facing Washington and Lee for round three (because apparently, that’s a tradition now or something). At some point that weekend, I heard Kennedy and Grace talking about how funny it would be to “ice” each other with something other than alcohol. “Icing” is a game in which someone will hide an alcoholic beverage in someone’s belongings. Upon finding this beverage, they must drink it immediately. I didn’t think much of this until at the end of the first half of trial. Grace played a 13-year-old and to make sure the judges believed her, she wore a retainer. As she walked out into the hallway she grabbed her retainer case and popped it open to see a container of coffee creamer. Confused Grace looked at Kennedy who said “take a knee and chug it…you’ve been milked. Feel free to chase it with this muffin!” At that point, a phenomenon emerged. Some teams throwback shots, my team threw back coffee creamers anywhere and everywhere. You think I’m kidding? At Elon, I received an attorney award and as I walked back to my seat I saw a container of coffee creamer waiting for me. Three weeks later, we attended a competition at MTSU and Kennedy found a way to have the waitress hide coffee creamers in our napkins. It was a phenomenon that wasn’t contained in UT Mock Trial. Kennedy would hide coffee creamers in other team’s case boxes and watch in amazement as they stood there confused and unsure of what to do.

It sounds weird, but hiding coffee creamers in random places and watching team members be publicly humiliated brought my team together. I’ve been a member of UT Mock Trial for four years now — I’ve watched our organization win tournaments at every level, I’ve celebrated countless Mock Christmases, I’ve been to about ten different states for invitationals, I’ve laughed until I cried at a few direct examinations, and I’ve watched grown male judges be moved to tears from Amara Brown’s portrayal of a grieving mother. Having experienced all of this, some of my favorite memories from this organization are from the fall semester of 2017 as I watched my team members take a knee in front of opposing counsel, judges, and unsuspecting passersby and chug a shot of hazelnut coffee creamer while everyone else shouted, “you’ve been creamed!”

At some point during the fall semester, I took my résumé to career services and I made a decision on what to do with my life post-graduation (my parents were pleased). Looking back, I’m thankful that I spent my last first semester of college was spent making a fool of myself while wearing a suit with the strangest assortment of humans I have ever known, instead of stressing over what the future might hold.

Margaret Frank

mfrank6@vols.utk.edu

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