Hamilton College’s Jon Michel ’13 (Lackawanna, N.Y./Canisius HS) was recognized as a scholar-athlete award winner by the Central New York chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc., on Jan. 27, 2013. Michel was a four-year starter on the offensive line and earned a spot on the 2012 NESCAC Fall All-Academic team. He blocked for the second-leading rusher and the No. 2 passer in the conference his senior year. In addition to playing football, Michel is a member of Hamilton's club hockey team and the chair of the Judicial Board on campus. He also officiates ice hockey at the youth, high school and college level. He plans to attend dental school in the fall of 2013. Below is the speech that he delivered at the banquet.

“When I was asked to write this speech, I immediately thought of Al Pacino’s half time talk in “Any Given Sunday,” where he compares football to a “game of inches.” While the game may come down to inches, it starts with dedication and desire.

“The desire to be the best drives football players to dedicate themselves to work tirelessly to become better athletes. While this work ethic was illustrated in our football careers, it was not the only time we demonstrated desire and dedication.

“Tonight we celebrate the full meaning of a scholar-athlete. Over the last four years we have worked as hard in the class room as we did on the field, learning how to manage time effectively as we juggled our athletic and scholastic commitments. We have spent long hours studying to be the best students possible. We have demonstrated that our dedication and desire is not just a passion for football, but it is our character. Tonight’s ceremony is a testament to that.

“On behalf of all of my fellow scholar-athletes I would like to say thank you for the 2013 Scholar Athlete award. It was a privilege to be asked to write this acceptance speech, and it is my honor to do so. Tonight’s event was made possible by many people and to them I would like to say thank you.

"First, thank you to the Central New York Chapter of the National Football Foundation, who organized this amazing event. You put a lot of time into this evening to make it a success and for that we are all grateful. Additionally, thank you for recognizing our academic endeavors. It is not often that football players are recognized for their scholastic pursuits.

“Next I would like to say thank you to our coaches. Four years ago you recruited us, and believed in us. By supporting us throughout our college careers you allowed us to pursue our goals both on and off the field. You helped us transition to college life, and helped us, directly and indirectly, develop time management skills. These skills helped us achieve the academic excellence that we are being recognized for here tonight. Also, thank you for your understanding when we asked to leave practice for a test or review session. We know it was hard for you to let us miss important portions of practice but your acceptance shows your commitment to academics.

“Lastly, I would like to thank our parents. Without your guidance we would never have been able to take advantage of the opportunities we were given, or learned to do laundry. Your dedication to us has not gone unnoticed. Everything we accomplish is a testament to the values you instilled in us. Thank you for guiding us as we transformed from boys into men, we truly are a reflection of our parents.

"To everyone else who has helped us achieve our goals in college, thank you. I know each of us has had a family member, mentor, or professor who has helped us along the way giving advice and help.

"Thank you again for the 2013 Scholar Athlete award. We will remember this night as a mark of our accomplishments thus far, but will continue to work hard in our next endeavors with the same dedication and desire that brought us here today. To my fellow award winners I wish you all the best in your future.

“To the high school students here tonight I would just like to say keep it up. Your hard work has gotten you here tonight. Continue on that path in college. Work hard on and off the field and you will succeed in whatever you do. Whenever you think you’ve given enough work a little more. I would like to end this with a Vince Lombardi quotation that I think sums up this event the best. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we line or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

"Thank you.”

Jonathan Michel
2013 NFF Central New York Chapter Scholar-Athlete from Hamilton College