North York foot­ball star comes home to play for Ar­gos

J’Micheal Deane dishes on his mo­ti­va­tion, men­tors and mak­ing it to the CFL

North York Post - - Life - By Jes­sica Padykula

For some peo­ple, it can take years of school­ing and soul-search­ing to fig­ure out what di­rec­tion they want their life to go in. But in the case of J’Micheal Deane, of­fen­sive line­man for the Toronto Arg­onauts, he knew from an early age that foot­ball was his call­ing.

Deane be­gan his ca­reer in Toronto at New­ton­brook Se­condary School in North York where he was a four-year starter and a mem­ber of the On­tario Var­sity Foot­ball League’s Metro Toronto Wild­cats.

Deane then played foot­ball at Michigan State be­fore be­ing drafted to the CFL, first play­ing for the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers, then the Ot­tawa Red­blacks and even­tu­ally be­ing signed to the Ar­gos this year.

Although he re­calls play­ing foot­ball in mid­dle school, it wasn’t un­til his time at New­ton­brook that his ul­ti­mate path be­gan to take shape. He not only at­tributes that time with help­ing to shape his over­all ca­reer tra­jec­tory, but also to strength­en­ing his re­solve and get­ting his pri­or­i­ties straight — namely, im­prov­ing his grades.

“In high school, I wasn’t the best stu­dent, so I had to go to sum­mer school. I had tu­tors. I had to do ev­ery­thing I could to get my grades up,” he says, adding that you can have all the tal­ent in the world, but if you don’t have the grades to go with it, achiev­ing your goals be­comes that much more dif­fi­cult. He had help on that front, how­ever.

“Dur­ing my time in high school I had great men­tors,” he says, cit­ing his prin­ci­pal at the time as some­one who was par­tic­u­larly en­cour­ag­ing.

“Ba­si­cally, in my 10th grade, the prin­ci­pal at that time, Mr. Jim Spy­ropou­los, he saw me and would not let me get away with any­thing be­cause he knew that if I just kept my head on straight that I could get a schol­ar­ship.”

And he did, even­tu­ally earn­ing a schol­ar­ship with Michigan State.

Deane is cur­rently en­joy­ing be­ing part of the Toronto Arg­onauts as an of­fen­sive line­man.

“We have a re­ally good team here and fi­nally got our­selves a new home in the for­mer Don Bosco Catholic Se­condary School. Ev­ery­thing on the up and up with the Ar­gos,” he says.

“When I meet peo­ple on the street, and some­one asks if I’m an Argo and they’re im­pressed, that feels great,” says Deane who has played seven games with the Ar­gos this year. Play­ing foot­ball hasn’t only been a ca­reer for Deane, but also a sig­nif­i­cant learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. He notes that the game has had a huge im­pact on his life and who he is to­day.

“In a 60-minute game, you’re deal­ing with ad­ver­sity the whole time, and that makes other things in life seem more minis­cule,” he ex­plains. “Some­times I’m hav­ing a hard time, and then I think back to re­ally tough times on the field or par­tic­u­larly tough prac­tices and draw on those mo­ments to get through other times that feel dif­fi­cult. Foot­ball teaches you per­se­ver­ance.”

When he’s not play­ing or prac­tis­ing, Deane likes to read and also dab­bles in cook­ing. Although he doesn’t have any sig­na­ture dishes, he is com­fort­able in the kitchen. “I like to say I can cook ev­ery­thing. If you give me a recipe I can cook any­thing.”

He does have some words of wis­dom for any­one eye­ing a ca­reer in pro­fes­sional sports.

“For any­one pas­sion­ate about a ca­reer in sports, you’re go­ing to sac­ri­fice a lot and miss a lot. Be­ing a foot­ball player is a life of sac­ri­fice, but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it,” he says.

“I wouldn’t want to start all over. I’ve learned so much.”

Deane suited up for an Arg­onauts game

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