by Odille Parker
As an offensive lineman, Tim Ivery knows he's at the backbone of the Hope College football team's offensive plays, entrusted with protecting his teammates from the other team's defense. He thrives in that responsibility and brotherhood because for him, it's about the success of the team as a whole.
Spend just a few minutes with the junior from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Brother Rice), and it's obvious he has a genuine desire to help others. Not so much face-to-face, as the self-proclaimed introvert is quick to point out, but somewhere behind the scenes, where he can use his love for design and craftsmanship to create something that changes lives.
"My hope is to create something revolutionary that changes the way we live… something that changes the quality and length of life for people. That's the ultimate goal," Ivery explained.
Ivery won't give up until he achieves that goal, either. It's clear in the way he lights up when he talks about the work ethic his father instilled in him or in the smile that appears when he describes the fulfillment he gets from constantly being challenged and pushed to improve. Boredom is almost a form of punishment for Ivery.
Tedium is something Ivery rarely encounters though. As a two-sport athlete — he is also a thrower on the men's track and field team — pursuing a biomedical engineering major and double minor in mathematics and neuroscience, Ivery ensures that staying busy is how he's able to stay on track.
"It's just part of who I am," Ivery said. "I don't think I would be happy if I was doing something that wasn't pushing me to my fullest and to my limits."
He attributes much of that credo to the values that were instilled in him early on. Ivery has worked for his dad's landscaping company every summer since he was nine years old, something that he believes taught him the value of a dollar and working hard for the things he wants in life. He smiles knowingly as he tells of the times he'd ask his dad for something, and his father would respond by giving him a shovel and the number of two customers who might need work. The message was clear: You work for what you want.
It was also his dad, Tim Ivery, Sr., who encouraged him to play football. Ivery had played baseball from an early age, and before his freshman year of high school, his dad suggested he try something new. It took a season, but by his sophomore year, he had fallen in love with the game. What was the driving reason? The teamwork ethos needed for football success.
The quiet passion and diligence that Ivery carries in everything he does impressed Coach Peter Stuursma early on.
"He is an absolute dream to coach," Stuursma said. "Tim is very cerebral, yet he plays so physical and with so much aggression. Sometimes in football, it's one or the other, but he's the perfect mix of both. He's the leader-by-example you need on a team."
Just like his academics, Ivery has welcomed every challenge on the field with humility and determination. After spending his senior season in high school on the sidelines healing from a torn ACL, he was asked to transition from tight end to offensive lineman once he arrived to Hope. As Ivery explained, it was just another chance to rise to the challenge.
Stuursma knows that the sky's the limit for Ivery. It's why he's one of the first players the head football coach asks to speak to recruits and their parents. As a parent and a coach, he wants someone that's going to look after the younger guys and be someone to look up to – something Ivery epitomizes.
Whether it's building a custom-made tank for his pet gecko, equipped with its own plumbing and fogging system, or pursuing an education that will help him to someday design and build medical equipment that can alter people's lives, Ivery will give his all along the way.
"It's like they say, find something you love and you'll never work a day in your life," Ivery said.
Until then, you'll find him, as the Hope football team says, being a "killer bear on the field and huggy bear off the field."