March 28, 2008

Certificate of Appreciation

Last night was the awards ceremony for the Mock Trial teams. About 100 kids from the various teams were there, along with some of their parents, teachers, and a few of us attorney coaches. The program coordinator said a few words, some muckitedy-mucks from the school district said a few words, and the judge who gave my kids such a hard time for the last two weeks of the competition told stories about them and how impressed he was with their performance. Everyone got medals for their participation and my kids took home the second place trophy.

You've never seen people so happy to get second place before. They came so far, so fast, that they amazed even themselves. Oh, they know they're smart, but they hadn't thought they could go the distance. So they came up a little short in the championship round -- they realized that their hadn't made it into the playoffs for ten years much less the championship. And they weren't discouraged about losing the last round -- they're just hungry to come back and try for it again next year. So am I.

What was really touching was that they had all chipped in a few bucks and bought certificates of appreciation for their faculty sponsor and for me. I don't have my diplomas from college or law school framed, even; nor do I have any of my certificates of admission to the various bars before which I can practice. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud to be a lawyer and proud of my academic achievements. But getting a recognition like that from the kids on this team really touched me in a way those other documents did not. When it was our turn up on stage, the team captain stepped up to the microphone and thanked us and gave us the certificates. They were the only team that did that. It's a ten-dollar frame and a form certificate, nothing super-fancy. But the certificate is going up on the wall of my office.

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