Where in the World is Mr. Lim?


Charlie Williams, Staff Writer

This quarter has been an adjustment for everyone. From finding quiet places to work to changing deep-rooted habits, quarantine is undoubtedly a time for a change. Some alterations have been more significant than others and have forced students to hold themselves accountable. How can one keep a virtual team engaged when their drive to pass a ball, score a goal, or break a record cannot happen? Latin’s Athletic Director, Sonny Lim has worked to combat this uncertainty by engaging with athletes via video, sending updates about himself, and maintaining a positive attitude. Within seconds of his first video, Sonny says, “currently, I’m in Lugano, Switzerland,” and the listeners’ ears perked up.

Only days after a travel ban to Europe, Mr. Lim was already there. Students quickly questioned his choices, wondering if he had merely chosen to continue his spring break plans. Senior Abby Maechling says, “I was a little bit surprised when the video he sent opened, and behind him was this beautiful Swiss landscape… and I appreciated that he was trying to reach out through something other than just an email.” Senior George Lansberg adds, “To be completely honest, I thought the videos came off a little show-offy with the beautiful views and all, but I don’t think that was the intention.” Sophomore Leo Hoplamazian says, “I couldn’t stop thinking about how he would be turned into a meme.” 

What many don’t know though, is that Mr. Lim spent the last seven years of his life living in Lugano, where the rest of his family still resides. Mr. Lim describes his choice to return to Switzerland, saying, “Prior to COVID-19 turning into a pandemic, I had already planned to return to Switzerland to spend Spring Break with my family following Project Week. When the pandemic was declared, my number one thought was the safety of my family.” But he also did not just drop everything. His decision to return was thoughtful, and he took the time to prepare for the storm of COVID-19. “I did all I could to prepare the Athletic Department for the challenges ahead, which included a lot of meetings, physical preparations, and getting ready for remote learning/coaching programs and scheduling changes.”

Mr. Lim continues to stand by his decision, saying his feelings did not change about his trip plans even after the travel ban was officially announced, in fact, he was relieved he was allowed into Switzerland, saying, “A day after my arrival in Switzerland, the Swiss government imposed Shelter-in-Place orders and then closed the borders soon after.” Surprisingly this is also not his first experience with online learning; Mr. Lim actually has quite a lot of experience with it. He says, “My family and I were in Beijing, China when SARS hit, I was evacuated from Pakistan and spent three months in Bangkok, Thailand when 9/11 occurred, and spent months in the South Pacific on an island recovering from a devastating typhoon that leveled the island.”

Regarding the future of Latin athletics, Lim’s positivity never splinters, saying, “I am anxious and excited to see all our teams in action again” Looking ahead, Mr. Lim is optimistic about the future as he believes that fall sports, including preseason, will start as scheduled, and his good spirits are contagious.

In the meantime, Mr. Lim aspires to maintain his positive light in the Latin community as he works to find new ways to engage as a school unit. One of the ways he came up with was his update videos. He looked to them as a way to give a “personal touch that would be a welcome change to the typical group emails” and working on what he called “webinars,” his version of online classes with athletics leaders to continue to push the program, even in this time of questions. Additionally, Mr. Lim has been working on a bigger project, a montage of videos of athletes continuing their season while in quarantine. He continues to request these videos for five reasons: giving students the opportunity to maintain a school-like schedule, to be prepared both physically and mentally for when we return, continuing to grow team bonds, providing the gym credits, and finally the exercises and videos even possibly being a family activity. 

Mr. Lim concludes with this message to the community, “Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives are forever changed. If I could wave a wand and make this all disappear, believe me, I would. I am our athletes’ and coaching staff’s biggest fan. I love watching you compete just as much as you enjoy competing. I could have never imagined this day—life without sports. The focus of our entire athletic department, along with Mr. Dunn, our senior administration, and the rest of Latin’s faculty/staff, is on being a ‘family’ and caring for each of you during this strenuous situation. Our coaches and staff are still working hard, focused on caring for each of our student-athletes during this time, including your academic success, positive mental stability, and continued athletic development. I truly believe as Romans, we will come through this stronger, more resilient, caring, and connected.  I feel fortunate to be a part of Latin’s community where support is just a phone call away.  I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus as we continue to pursue greatness in our athletic department.”