“On the topic of winning, I think that you play to win in everything, whether it’s a sport, at work, or in the game of life. That is a big part of achievement-striving…to be the best. So of course, I put my show together with first place in mind. With that said, my priority was to represent my Fraternity well on stage, and let the chips fall where they may.”-Phineas Clark
When we stumbled across the story of the one-man team who won a step show, we found it necessary to highlight the well-deserved individual behind the win. Before we got into detail regarding how such a triumph was accomplished, we encouraged him to explain how it all became. It didn’t take long before we realized that these wise words were spoken from a man of an unlikely, yet humble beginning.
Phineas Clark is a Boston native and an alumnus of the University of Minnesota. It was at that university where he experienced his first encounter with Greek life. He stated that initially, he “had a very cynical view” of the entire Greek system. Luckily, he developed a close friendship with a teammate who would eventually change his view, and become his brother.
The University of Minnesota is home to the Psi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, in which Phineas’ teammate became a member. Phineas remembered how “[he] saw a profound change in the way he made decisions and prioritized his life after he crossed.” He also recalled meeting with his teammate’s line brothers and stated that they exemplified “Achievement, altruism, and accountability.” Those qualities aided him into deciding that he should connect himself to other people who were about something bigger than themselves. He had his heart set on Kappa Alpha Psi. Still, like any wise interested student, he decided to learn more about the rest of the NPHC organizations to validate what he believed. He stated that “the books and videos just served to confirm that Kappa was where I belonged.” At the conclusion of his research he decided, “I was either going to be a NUPE or nothing.” Phineas Clark, along with six line brothers, is now a proud member of the same chapter at the University of Minnesota.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and Phineas had uprooted from the West Coast and into Ohio. He had heard about the Midwest Greek Weekend prior to the actual show. The show coordinators had informed him that there hadn’t been a Kappa step team in a few years. He already had in his mind that he was performing. Unfortunately, he still had not found a team by the time of the show, and his chapter brothers were not able to perform due to conflicts. Still holding on to his fraternal values, Phineas decided “to go out and represent as best [he] could” as a solo performance.
From backstage, the competition seemed compelling. He stated, “I could tell that they gave good performances based on how they sounded and the crowd noise.” It was on stage that Phineas decided to “hold Kappa down the same way it has always held [him] down.” Because he left it all on the stage, it was no surprise that he was able to take home the win. When asked how the experience felt, Phineas stated,
“While winning felt great, it was a different experience for me. I have won many step shows, but always as part of a team. Because I knew my chapter brothers were behind me, I never felt alone up there. I felt like they were right beside me.”
He concluded, that in hindsight, “winning as a team is better, because you get to share that moment with the guys whom you worked hard to prepare with.” He looks forward to that opportunity of performing as part of a team again.
Phineas would like to thank the organizers of MWGW, who were very accommodating and attentive. And to his brothers, “YO to the NUPEs everywhere!”
If you missed his performance, watch below and leave a comment!