BY ALL ACCOUNTS Activity Maniacs Fail To See Winning Is Overrated

Handicap this, Dickie V.

Skulking and sulking in the of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, this weekend’s National Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament will pass without a whisper from the national news media.

This tournament has no sleepers and the scoring is too complex for office pool consideration, more convoluted, even, than the RPI. Some of the teams are the same: the University of Pennsylvania, Holy Cross and Boston College made the cut. Bubble teams Memphis and Georgetown got in. Basketball lightweights Harvard and Air Force showed the selection committee they had the right stuff, so to speak.

In a manner befitting triumphant Caesar, one victor will emerge from a field of 40 schools. But it’s appropriate that no one outside the tournament will ever hear who wins – because that is not what mock trial is all about. At least, that’s not what it should be about.

Mock Trial is no different than the Medieval Club (known in some circles, apparently, as “Ye Olde Mediaeval Clubbe”). It is no different than College Bowl or Eco-Action, Philodemic or Club Filipino.

We are just groups of (mostly) students who gather to pursue similar interests. We all have different ideas of how Georgetown’s resources can help us develop. We all have different ideas of a good time.

We don’t look for personal rewards for our participation in these activities. Our grades may suffer and our friends may smirk. But we enjoy it.

At Mock Trial, we enjoy making objections, some of them frivolous. The Medieval Club enjoys watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail and belly dancing, Egyptian-style. The SAXA server crew enjoys running a server, whatever that is.

And that’s why we do what we do.

Sometimes, however, people, and Georgetown students in particular, are inclined to take things too seriously. They act like their mock trial scholarships are in jeopardy, too worried about going pro and not worried enough about having fun.

They obviously have not seen the “Adventures of Pete and Pete,” the now-defunct Nickelodeon series featuring two brothers who share a name. In one episode, perhaps the greatest, winning is confused with everything. The evil Coach Narens sits in his limousine, with “JUST WIN” tattooed on his fingers, baiting his team to wins with ever colder and more delicious gallons of the Orange Lazarus frozen drink.

The Petes’ team, The Prosthetics, begins to win, largely because little Pete taunts his opponents into submission. But big Pete realizes that winning doesn’t feel that good if you do it the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons.

He realizes that if you win playing dirty, then you’re not winning at all. He realizes that winning is overrated. But don’t tell that to the student activity maniacs here at Georgetown.

They’re far above all the cliches of good sportsmanship. They’re not prepared to leave it all on the court. Don’t say it’s not whether you win or lose – to these folks, it sure is.

That’s fine, I guess, if that really makes them happy. I just don’t see how it could.

For my part, this weekend’s mock trial tournament should be a blast. I’ll have four trials over three days, meeting students from schools all across the country. I’ll visit the much-ballyhooed Mall of America and the much-less-ballyhooed inneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

And if I’m stuck in the hotel room, or just looking to unwind, maybe I’ll turn on the television and watch the college basketball. To see who’s winning.

By All Accounts appears every Friday in The Hoya. The author can be reached at

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