In Death, a Humbling Moment of Humanity
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 00:02
We’ve heard the sons of Harvard tell how Crimson lines could hold them, as the Georgetown fight song pokes fun of a so-called rival up north, but now, I write about Harvard as a friend. On Feb. 10, slightly after midnight, a Crimson daughter named Angela Mathew was killed in a tragic car accident on her way home from a mock trial tournament in Richmond, Va. She was 20 years old.
I had watched Angela compete with her team at the regional tournament held at the University of Richmond the weekend spanning Feb. 8 and 9. Georgetown Mock Trial sent two of its three teams to compete, and I had the privilege to drive them there and cheer on my teammates and friends. In the second round of the day, the Georgetown B-team competed as the defense against the Harvard A-team’s prosecution. Angela played a witness, and she was talented and beautiful. Her teammates were collegial and admirably skilled as well. Three of them were also injured in the tragic accident that took Angela’s life just hours after the competition ended.
At around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, at the closing ceremonies of the tournament, Harvard was announced as the first-place team with seven wins and one loss. They were all deeply admired for their success — it was one brought about by clear dedication, passion, hard work, determination, skill and consideration. Seven hours later, that elation of victory was defeated by tragedy.
The fragility of life bore heavily on my teammates and loved ones who were informed of the news; it sent us all into a state of grief that evening. We felt pained for those innocent friends from Harvard driving back home after an exhausting weekend, competing in an activity they poured their hearts into. I struggle to infuse these words with enough love to express how deeply sorry we are for their loss.
As a member of the Georgetown Mock Trial team for three and a half years and as the team’s current president, I wish to convey how much of a connection a member of the mock trial community feels with those around her or him. There is a competitive edge of strategy and finesse that goes into a round, but within this world of law and trial, there is transparency when it comes to the human relationships we form. Within these relationships, there is no theory, plan or competitive edge — there is merely an understanding of mutual passion and youthful joy. To think that our friends at Harvard have had joy stripped from them by senseless loss brings great anguish to all of us here at Georgetown.
Some of my fondest, most profoundly moving experiences during my time at Georgetown have come from the long practices, car rides, tournaments and celebrations shared with the members of Georgetown Mock Trial. Each and every person on the team is a brother or sister to me. I left the weekend at Richmond with a feeling secured in my soul that I was surrounded by some of Georgetown’s finest human beings and by some of my best friends. By extension, Harvard’s entire team is a family that we call our own and mourn for and with deeply. To imagine their loss is to tangibly feel the proximity of life’s end happening to any one of our own.
In the spirit of Georgetown, processing this loss involves discernment of the meaning behind the incomprehensible. As mock trial members, my teammates and I are accustomed to logical reasoning and problem solving. This accident, however, is irresolvable, senseless and subsequently humbling for us — it is a quiet reminder that while we share the same passion for law as Harvard’s team, we also share the mortality of humanity.
However, in the lesson of life’s brevity, there is the eternal verdict of God’s redeeming grace. In the seeming injustice of tragedy, we pay witness to the unfailing justice of God’s love. It is through this that we are all set free.
BEBE ALBORNOZ is a senior in the College. She is the president of the Georgetown University Mock Trial team.