By Adam Button
Lukas Porosa doesn’t say much to his coach during volleyball games. He usually saves the chatter for the car ride home. That’s when his coach becomes his father.
Having a father-slash-coach is one of the reasons the younger Porosa has been so successful.
“We are always on the same page,” says Porosa, the team’s setter. “I don’t have to prove anything to him and I know that he wants what’s best for me.”
Still, when the Porosas lose, it can get loud in the car. “Lukas goes right to the point,” says his father, Mirek. “He wants to win. If people are making errors he doesn’t accept it.”
Loud car rides haven’t come often for the 20-year-old Porosa who has built an incredible volleyball resumé.
With all his success, Porosa says his son often forgets that not every volleyball player has the talent or time to meet his son’s expectations.
“I’m a perfectionist,” explains Porosa. “[My father] tells me that volleyball is never going to be played perfectly.”
Even if he has to explain to his son that everyone’s execution can be improved, the elder Porosa believes that Lukas’ technique is flawless.
“Lukas has textbook everything — perfect technique,” says dad. “Whatever basic elements there are … He does them like the book says.”
Lukas says he developed his technique to compensate for his height. He is barely six feet tall, a rarity among championship indoor and beach volleyball players — even setters.
But skill and determination will only take you so far. Porosa isn’t sure that he can play professionally after he leaves Ryerson at the end of the 2005-06 year. That’s why he’s studying the textbook techniques in applied chemistry and biology. The degree is his backup plan, but before his business is through at Ryerson, he wants to take care of some business on the volleyball court.
He wants to take the Rams to their first national championship and sets his sights on winning the under-25 national beach championship — twice.
Porosa’s interest in volleyball began when he watched his father play professionally in Poland. When he was six years old the family moved to Canada, and soon the younger Porosa was dragging his father to the beach to play.
“I always wanted to get better,” says the national beach and indoor volleyball champion. “I was the one who was always pushing him to make me better.”
Before Porosa was a teenager, he would hide while his father found opponents for a beach game. “He had to go ask because when they saw me they thought I was incapable of playing.” However when the games were over, both Porosas says the opponents were usually losers.
Eventually Porosa began to devote all his time to volleyball. As a 13-year-old brown belt, he was a provincial champion in karate.
“One day he said, ‘I’m bored with karate, find me a volleyball club,” says his father.
“I’ve got half a basement full of karate trophies and I don’t know what to do with them.”
The elder Porosa says that his son has always set his own path. Porosa says he didn’t even pressure his son to come to the university where he has been the coach for eight years.
“I have a philosophy of personal living space. I don’t control [my kids]. I let them develop their own vision, their own style and their own identity.”
The younger Porosa agrees that they don’t have a typical relationship.
“I think we have a very different relationship than other people,” his father says. “We are very close to each other.”
And that just might be the reason that Lukas Porosa is Ryerson’s best athlete.
With files from Dawn Cuthbertson