The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
For a complete listing of 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
James Lim, Men's Track & Field, Team Co-Captain
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
House Affiliation: Eliot
I still vividly remember the morning a few weeks into freshman fall when the course of my four years here at Harvard changed dramatically. It was an e-mail from Coach Mangiacotti, barely a paragraph long, that contained the pivotal decision: “Hi James, thank you for trying out for the Harvard Track/Field team. I would like to meet with you to discuss the potential of joining our sprints squad...”
Walking onto Harvard track & field sealed a conscious decision to sacrifice countless hours on the other side of the Charles in pursuit of the spirit of “citius, altius, fortius”—faster, higher, stronger. On a campus bounding with possibilities such as this one, the opportunity cost has been staggering. And yet, looking back upon the myriad of choices and decisions that have shaped the outcome of my college experience as a whole, I can confidently say that there has been no greater source of personal fulfillment and gratitude, for on the Mondo surface of Gordon Track, I have forged my identity as a Harvard student-athlete and learned values and lessons that reaffirm the role of the athletics field as the second classroom. The perseverance it takes to return from injuries stronger than before. The focus and patience to train hours upon hours with the aim of executing a race that requires instantaneous, violent movement on the scale of seconds. The unique camaraderie forged when teammates come together in pursuit of a common goal larger than any one individual. Perhaps most memorably, the shared, intangible yet transcendent pride of wearing a crimson “H” on our chests and representing Harvard within the NCAA.
Harvard track & field has given me much over the years; while it is bittersweet that my finite time as a Harvard sprinter will come to an end soon, I am, and will forever remain, grateful for what I will leave this campus with. Through this program I have met coaches who have not only made us better, wiser athletes but also demonstrated how to become better, wiser people. I have befriended teammates whom I can genuinely call brothers, spanning seven classes from those whose mentorship guided me through my early freshman days to those whom I have had the honor of leading as captain my senior year. I have amassed a collection of memories that I will cherish and often reminisce upon—from the most grueling workouts to the most inspiring races, the entire gamut.
While our individual four-year careers with Harvard athletics come and go, our teams will remain here on campus, bound in history and in continuum. In this sense, I see true value in leaving our teams better on the last day than how we found it on the first, no matter what the scale—contributing our parts to help our teams continue improving and providing the same profound, enriching, and unforgettable experiences for student-athletes who will follow in our footsteps. Four short years ago, Harvard track and field welcomed me on board with a trust in my athletic potential and commitment to the sport and the team. As I leave it to transition from current to former student-athlete, passing on the collective contributions of my class to next year’s roster, I wish the team the best of luck, Godspeed, and continued progress.
Thank you for everything, Harvard track and field.