Even Field is a 501(c)3, tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that promotes character, integrity, and ethical behavior through sports. Our message is that The Way You Win Matters.
Even Field was founded in 2013 by longtime ESPN Radio talk show host Chuck Wilson.
Message from the Founder
I’ve been watching, playing, and appreciating sports all my life. There has been a lot to like. There still is. But, somewhere along the line, we went off course and lost sight of the role of youth sports and what it means to “win”. We lowered our expectations for how a sport should be played. Competing honorably and responsibly became less important. We lost our appreciation for effort and attitude. At some point, it became entirely about the outcome. Only winning mattered. “Winning with integrity” wasn’t the priority.
I started Even Field because sports has played such a positive role in my life, and it no longer is as positive as it should be.
I learned so much from playing team sports — lessons that have stayed with me into adulthood. Through day-to-day interactions with teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials, I learned how other people think. How to motivate and bring out the best in others. I learned that it’s the positive character traits and habits that have nothing to do with talent, that largely impact what you will achieve in life. It’s effort, attitude, perseverance, and the many other qualities that we alone control.
For a not very talented athlete, that was an important life lesson.
In short, playing sports helped me grow up. I loved to play and compete. There is no better feeling in sports than defeating an opponent who has more talent.
We all want what’s best for our kids. A more positive youth sports culture will help keep more young athletes playing team sports. Too many of them are quitting early.
We have to focus on what’s really important. Youth sports is about the kids, not the adults. It’s their game, not ours. We have to keep it fun. And, we have to consistently model the behavior we want to see in our kids. It’s about character. What habits are they forming? What values are they prioritizing? Are they basing their decisions on their values or on immediate outcomes?
No human trait will be more important in the 21st century than integrity. And, no rule, regulation, or law can compel it.
Ethics is a choice. It takes a conscious decision to act fairly and responsibly.
If we want our children to become individuals who others will trust; if we want them to believe in a respect for other people, a sense of fairness, and competing honestly and responsibly, then we have to show them that we consider it important. Our kids need to hear that their character and integrity matter in sports and in life. They have to see that it will make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.
It has to be important to them.
Sports have a powerful influence on youth and society, and an enormous capacity to teach. We are presenting positive experiences from sports to inspire achievement and good character. We want to see kids have fun, learn skills, and play respectfully and responsibly. We want them to have the opportunity to develop life skills, and form positive habits and character traits, that will help them the rest of their lives.
Much of our program focus is on the adults. Parents, coaches and other mentors are vital in modeling and reinforcing ethical and moral behavior, on and off the field. Our kids aren’t just listening to what we say, they are watching what we do.
I’ve never been more inspired to make a difference.
For years, I’ve spoken and written about ethics and fair play. I’ve lamented the lack of sportsmanship being shown. Now, instead of just talking, it’s time to do something about it.
Children are exposed to all the bad behavior displayed in sports and society. We want to show them examples of positive character and integrity. They need to see that most athletes want to compete responsibly and win on merit.
Let’s inspire young people to develop the desire and the courage to be honorable and trustworthy on and off the field.
Let’s reinforce the message that, in sports and life, The Way You Win Matters!
If you agree with our mission, join us. I look forward to hearing from you!