Two points separated the Montgomery High School's mock trial team and me from capturing the county finals victory.
Feeling bitter from this narrow defeat, I looked forward towards next season with a strong desire that we would win. However, one glaring obstacle stood in my path: the actual team. Inexperienced members filled many crucial witness positions due to a shallow candidate pool, and although these members tried their best, they just were not up to par with last year's talent, as they regularly failed to memorize their direct and cross examinations and speak with poise.
I grew frustrated by my teammates with each passing day. Eventually, I gravitated towards holding my teammates accountable for holding me back; I harshly criticized their performance and hounded them whenever they showed up late to meetings. Fed up, I hoped that my performance would mask the incompetence of my teammates. This plan somewhat worked, as Montgomery scored decently in the scrimmage rounds. Still, the team overall received a plethora of criticisms from judges and how we needed significant improvement.
Just why did I have to be these people? I never felt so far away from the elusive title I craved. Hopeless, I thought back to last year, when times were much smoother. I thought back to the competition and our path there. I then thought of how I started my path as a witness in mock trial, all clueless and shy. I thought of the times my lawyers helped me grow as a speaker even though they did not have to.
After remembering last year's journey, I decided to work vigorously with my teammates to help them improve their mock trial skills. I spent hours with each witness analyzing the case together, helping them memorize their responses, and providing them speaking tips. It took a lot of emotional control, as I still felt very frustrated at their slow growth, but I knew this was the right way to win.
With competition around the corner, the team is still a far cry from last year. The goal of winning the finals appears to be a pipe dream at this point. However, I find satisfaction that I sacrificed an immense goal of mine for something far more important than a trophy: the mentoring, growth, and development of my peers in the skills that they will use for a lifetime.