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From third-string to star

EDITED

Ben Lim didn’t listen to the naysayers who had preconceived notions about the lack of Asians playing football. His stellar work ethic and determination proved people wrong, and is the reason he has earned the starting quarterback role as a quintessential leader of his team, the Bayside Raiders.

Lim, 12, started playing football two years ago. He was not that knowledgeable about the sport, but started watching the NY Giants play, and soon after, he was hooked.

“I watched the Giants and just really got into the whole game,” said Lim, who now habitually follows the team. “Soon after, I just asked my dad to play one day, and I joined the Raiders.”

His journey began as a timid 10-year-old who was relegated to third-string quarterback. Lim knew that you just don’t come into a league and automatically become the star quarterback.

At the Raiders stomping grounds, Kissena Park, he practices three or four times a week on his throwing technique and pocket presence. Lim still vividly remembers his first game as quarterback for the peewee division.

“It was my first game and we were playing the Downtown Giants,” said the Bayside native. “Coach told me to run the ball myself – 17 keeper was the play call – and as I was running to the sidelines, I could hear coach screaming at me to run up the middle, but I kept going my way and ran past everyone for a 64-yard gain,” Lim chuckled.

Being of Korean decant, he knew he would face adversity in a sport where not many Asian athletes excelled. Lim never once let that stunt his goals – he was soon promoted to first-string quarterback.

Lim is no slacker on the field, nor in the classroom.

The bright seventh-grader has preformed above average in all his “SP” (Special Progress) classes and has made the principal’s honor roll every year at M.S. 74 in Bayside. Knowing that education always comes first, Lim weighs in with a 90-plus average.

His parents, Yohan and Mia, could not be more proud of the balancing act he does with school and football.

“I always told him that if he doesn’t bring home at least a 90-average, he can’t play for the Raiders,” Mia said. “He is a very responsible kid and he knows how to push himself in the right direction.”

On most football teams, the quarterback is the leader of the squad. Lim knows that he has the team on his shoulders, but also realizes that it is a team game.

“I feel like I’m a leader … but this team has plenty of leaders,” he said. “The running back, linebacker, and especially our coachers are all leaders to me.”

For leisure, Lim can’t get away from the one thing he loves – football. He goes to the park near his house and tosses the pigskin around with his friends until there is not a glint of daylight left.

Lim’s future goals consist of getting into a good high school and taking his football game to new levels. His dream, like all other up-and-coming football athletes, is to one day play for the NFL.

“Sometimes I think people underrate me because they might think that Asians can’t play sports – but when I play … they change their minds.”

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