GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — NorthPointe Christian middle school teacher Tim Perry never thought he'd be attending the Super Bowl.
"I'm trying to temper the excitement," he laughed.
Not only is he attending Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, he's going to watch his son, Dustin, who is the head strength and conditioning coaching for the San Francisco 49ers.
"It's hard to put it into words what it's going to be like, we never even imagined this," Tim added.
Dustin is a Marcellus native and attended Western Michigan University. Since then, he's worked his way to the top, serving as a strength and conditioning assistant at Minnesota from 2012-2016 before two seasons as an assistant with the 49ers that led to him landing the head position prior to this season.
"He's worked so hard for this opportunity," Perry said emotionally, "it's amazing that God has given him this platform to be able to live his dream. He always told me when he was young, 'dad, I'm going to do something big some day.'"
Now, Perry's students here at NorthPointe Christian who might not otherwise care about the Super Bowl, are now rooting for the 49ers this Sunday.
"A lot of people have been saying 49ers around school," eighth grader Alex Cutherberton said.
"Everybody would be so excited for Mr. Perry and his family," fellow eighth grader Lukas Bennett added. "Of course, when you have a family member win a Super Bowl that's a huge deal because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Perry's classroom is filled with 49ers jerseys, helmets, bobbleheads and signs that have all helped sway his students into fandom.
"It makes all the difference in the world when you have a connection to the Super Bowl," Perry said. "It's not just rooting for a team anymore. Now, you have somebody that you're connected to on the staff."
Tim and his family fly to Miami on Friday morning but that has been a secret to his students for the past week.
"It's been exciting, I've been trying to keep it on the down low," Perry laughed. "I don't want it to turn into a big Super Bowl party, but today was the first day I told them I'm going to the game."
As expected, Mr. Perry's students will have a substitute teacher for a few days while he enjoys the big game.
"We'll have a substitute teacher on Friday and Monday," laughed Perry, "I don't plan on coming back Monday either, I'll be back Tuesday."
As for a game prediction, Perry says he has the 49ers winning 35-27, and he'll have dozens of students at home hoping for the same result.