Mock the Trial

Walnut’s Mock Trial team was created my sophomore year. I looked at it as a perfect opportunity to learn law and expand my skillset as a public speaker. It was not like most clubs I was in; it had tryouts. I tried out for the attorney role and put forth my greatest effort, sure that I was going to make the team after my stellar performance – I didn’t. I read the list over and over again, but no matter how much I wanted it to, none of the names changed. I cared enough about the team to talk to the captains about it, and they offered me a very minimal position on the team. I took the ball and ran with it.

Two years later, I’m the attorney captain for the Mock Trial team, and I love to compare myself to Drake: “Started from the bottom now we here.” Looking back at that original tryout, it’s crazy to think that the future captain of the team didn’t get chosen, simply because tryouts are be a faulty system.

When you think of an ideal member of a club, it isn’t natural talent you think of; it’s hard work. The purpose of tryouts is to take the most ideal members into the club. But tryouts don’t reward the hardest workers; they instead reward those with the most natural talent. A tryout is one exhibition, one shot. It can’t show how much members can or will improve from hard work, but rather where they are starting from. It’s clear that something’s wrong here. Tryouts are supposed to find the ideal members, and the methodology used identifies a group that clubs aren’t actually looking for. Confused? You should be. It doesn’t make sense.

An even greater flaw in tryouts is that they go against the purpose of having clubs on campus. High school is a time of discovery, when students should try differenct activities without a set plan – but strong implications accompany a tryout. Not only do students have to invest time in preparing for the tryouts, but they also have an obligation to stay on the team if they do make it. Though clubs are meant to foster in students a desire to learn and experiment, tryouts effectively counter this by dissuading students from joining because students aren’t ready to be forced into full commitment.

When put into practice, tryouts just don’t make the cut.

By Shahar Syed, Staff writer

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