Think of the great kickers in CFL history, names like Ridgway, Passaglia, Cutler, Organ, Sweet and the others, and one thing sticks out: they were each synonymous with a single team, having played most or all of their career with that one squad.
"These are the guys I really respected, and I hoped I could do something along those lines," said Lance Chomyc, whose career contributions make him a worthy candidate to add to that list.
In his nine seasons booting for the Boatmen, Chomyc finished with 1,498 points, tops in team history. He also leads the way with 337 career field goals and 412 converts, and during his record-breaking 1991 Grey Cup-winning season hit 55-of-65 field goals and a total of 236 points, which is still a CFL record. He was a two-time league all-star (1986 and 1991), and during the '86 season was selected as the team's co-MVP along with punter Hank Ilesic, a very rare honour for a kicker.
"Kicking is not so much brute strength or youth, it's consistency," said Chomyc, in explaining how he stayed near the top for so long. "Kickers tend to get to the end of the rope quick when they get into slumps."
According to Chomyc, the key was never to miss two kicks in a row. With a lifetime success rate of 74 per cent, he still missed one out of every four kicks, and accepting that fact was key to his success.
"Learning how to miss was the most important thing," said Chomyc, who drew the analogy to a golfer and his swing. "It's more than half a mental game."
For Chomyc, he kicked each field in his mind on the sidelines before he ever had a chance to actually do it.
"I anticipated every situation once we crossed midfield," said Chomyc. "I was big on visualization. To me, it was a foregone conclusion. I had already made the kick (in my mind), now I just had to go out there and do it."
And do it he did, with a consistent game-day performance that is going to be hard to match for current and future Argo kickers. Making the big kicks earned him the respect of teammates, which for kickers is not always automatic.
"There always will be (some animosity) by the nature of the position," said Chomyc, whose practices were quite gentle, compared to the pounding that the rest of the team had to endure.
"Everybody wants to be a kicker in practice, but no one wants to be the kicker come game day."
Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Chomyc came to Toronto to study English at U of T, and while playing in the '80's was still going to school to complete his studies. He worked as an off-season teacher in Edmonton in 1989-90, and then moved east for good in 1991. He taught English in the second semester at Bradford High School and Eastview in Barrie, and is now a full- time teacher at Banting High School in Alliston. He lives just outside of Alliston with his wife Rasa and daughters Larissa, Nadine and Andrea.
Chomyc also spent last year as the Argos colour commentator on their radio broadcasts.
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