Written By – Talia Leacok
The Devil makes work for idle hands. That’s why Alice Davis keeps hers full. Between raising her five year old son, wrapping up her degree, learning Spanish, and making plans to start her nursing career in Florida, you’d be hard pressed to find Alice wasting a single minute. It’s an attitude she picked up from her early days in 2000 on the Grassroots Step Team and continued in 2002 when Wayne Dawkins announced the team would become the P.H.A.S.E. 1’s Step program.
When Dawkins first saw Alice hanging around the halls of West Hill C.I., he invited her to find something constructive to do with her time and join Dawkins Grassroots Step Team. She saw the step team practicing for a performance and was immediately draw to it. It took her just a week to learn the routine and perform with the team. She’s been in love with step ever since.
“Everybody feels like they have the one thing that they’re really good at, their one talent in life. And I felt like, for me, that was step. It was easy for me to get and it filled me with so much pride and it made me feel useful.”
The step team represented a sense of purpose and belonging. Alice describes the team as a family. They would wake up early and stay back late to practice together. They ate and travelled together. They stomped and clapped together in venues as small as a single room and as big as the Air Canada Centre as the opening act for Canada best high school basketball talent. They shared awesome experiences, travelling to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts and to University of Connecticut’s Midnight Madness watch fellow alumni Denham Brown. Above all else, they looked out for each other and held each other accountable.
It’s that camaraderie that allowed Alice and the rest of the team to spearhead the fundraising initiative to pay for the backboard shattered by Tristan Martin in the 2003 All Canada Classic – Dunk Contest at the Centennial College, Scarborough ON. And they didn’t just talk the talk to raise the funds, but they walked the walk too, covering a grueling 5.7km in blazing hot temperatures. What made her push through? “We were a team and you don’t give up on your team. That’s what a team player does”. They P.H.A.S.E. 1 Step Team was often the unsung heroes behind many of P.H.A.S.E. 1’s events and programs but the sense of purpose and giving to others always was always their mission.
Alice continued to be a team player, even when she wasn’t stepping. She assisted P.H.A.S.E. 1 with administrative tasks that included calling over 150 basketball players to notify them of practices! She was at the games keeping score and managing the stats sheets wherever the basketball team travelled. Wherever and whenever P.H.A.S.E. 1 needed a helping hand, Alice was there to offer it.
Now, more than a decade later, Alice continues to give back to the organization that taught her so much about responsibility, teamwork, and discipline and gave her some of the best memories of her life. She has recently accepted a position with P.H.A.S.E. 1 Youth Association as a member of the fundraising committee. When asked why, Alice said, “I feel like it is an important thing to continue these things because it is a way of keeping young people focused. Because the things that we learned when we were coming up we can now teach the next group.”
Alice is an Elite 1, a prime example of exactly what P.H.A.S.E. 1 aims to produce—young people who realize that life is about so much more than basketball and step, but about learning to pursue excellence, to chase their dreams, and to work for what they love. Alice hopes to help inspire the new generation of P.H.A.S.E. 1 members to surround themselves with positive people and always have faith in themselves.