It's a chilly Friday afternoon in Champaign, Illinois. I just drove my son Joe and five of his Carterville High School football teammates nearly four hours north to watch the state championship football game at Memorial Stadium. They aren't playing in the game this year, but they plan to be here next year. This year they were one of the top 8 teams in the state, but they endured a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals two weeks ago when a string of fluke injuries took out their all-state quarterback/punter and all three of his backups. They were ahead by two touchdowns going into the fourth quarter and watched it all slip away as each injury took its toll on their offense. Seven-yard punts and fumbled snap exchanges between the center and quarterback can have a remarkably detrimental impact on a team!
Their trip today is interesting to me. They wanted to be here so they could experience the atmosphere of a state championship game, visualize themselves playing in the game, and use that as an incentive to return next year. They are scouting potential opponents as well: Tolono Unity, the team that made it to the championship, would have been their semifinal opponent had they just made it through that quarterfinal injury debacle. They were also willing to sacrifice for this opportunity. My son, who hasn't lifted a finger to help out around the house in a few months, even did all the Thanksgiving dishes by himself so I would take the day and drive them here.
This trip has caused me to reflect on how I might better help my trial advocacy and trial team students to visualize themselves being successful in the courtroom. Some students, much like my son and his teammates, have an innate competitive desire that drives them to visualize what is possible. Others need to have someone open their eyes for them.
One of my favorite movie scenes is from Hoosiers, when Gene Hackman takes his Hickory High School basketball team to the arena where they will play in the state championship game. He has them measure the height of the baskets and the dimensions of the floor, and they soon realize that the dimensions in this massive arena are exactly the same as in their home gym. Here's a clip of that scene:
How do you help your students visualize success? What techniques do you use to help them understand that they belong in the courtroom and can be victorious there?
Please share what you do.
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