Living the dream: Carter Christensen takes in experience from Dream All-American Bowl

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Carter Christensen didn’t take the knowledge gained for granted, even with the event now more than a month in the rear-view mirror. 

For the 12-year-old (and soon-to-be seventh-grader), Carter had the opportunity to improve his craft on the gridiron and participate in one of the premier football training sessions in the country. And he had the chance to do it at a top-notch venue in AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. 

Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime practice session. Or two. Or, in this case, maybe even three. 

The 2022 Dream All-American Bowl occurred in early June (June 10-12). Three total games were played under the NFL stadium lights – two games for seventh and eighth grade and one game for fifth and sixth grade. In addition to receiving premium uniforms and gear, each player had the chance to learn the ins and outs of their position with established coaches.

Carter Christensen (listed) participated in the Dream All-American Bowl June 10-12 in Dallas, Texas.

To say Carter enjoyed the experience would be an understatement. Even as a San Francisco 49er fan, he enjoyed the opportunity to play at the stadium of a historic rival. It certainly trumped his experience when he played at U.S. Bank Stadium, anyway. 

“It’s just nicer, I think,” Carter said. “And I like the [Dallas] Cowboys more than the [Minnesota] Vikings.” 

The offensive lineman in Carter – who moved to right tackle during the event – didn’t see the opportunity as one to take lightly. If anything, he recognized the ability to learn a different kind of football that required fresher techniques and newer technical aspects. Certainly an adjustment any other player had to deal with, of course. But certainly a significant adjustment for Carter. 

“It was a little different because I am not used to doing that kind of stuff, so it was kind of new,” Carter said. 

So be it. 

Elisa and Jared Christensen – Carter’s mom and dad, respectively – knew early on that football would be a match for their son. Given Carter’s playing experience in Devils Lake Youth Football and Flag Football, everything seemed to click.

“The MPFL [Midwest Premier Football League], he’s [Carter] done a few events with them, and he’s played at the Viking Stadium with that, and at the Alerus Center, he’s done a few of those events,” Elisa said. “And one of those events is actually what led to the recruitment to this team.”

The build-up toward attending the Dream All-American Bowl started when a recruiting coach based out of Washington reached out to Elisa and Jared and asked for video footage of Carter. The wheels began to roll into motion. 

And so, their son received an official invitation. Elisa and Jared immediately recognized how significant of an opportunity the Dream All-American Bowl was for Carter. After all, their son could showcase his skills at the highest stage. 

Elisa and Jared could not have been prouder. 

Carter Christensen, an offensive lineman, played right tackle at the event and saw the Dream All-American Bowl as an opportunity to sharpen his craft.

“It was an amazing experience,” Elisa said. “The coaches that were there dedicated 110% of themselves to players. Those former NFL players, I have to tell you, are the best coaches because they’ve been on…I think they’ve been on the receiving side of it, so it was always such positive coaching. It was just amazing.” 

“It was very positive,” Jared said. “It was a lot more technical training than he’s used to, so it was just kind of neat seeing all the different kids from all over the country there to see what kind of talent was there and how they did the things.” 

Although he was unable to additionally attend the Dream All-American Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California – he received an invitation for that, too – Carter didn’t sulk. Instead, he relished in the opportunity he was able to soak in. 

From learning different tackles to adjusting his footwork, Carter found tutelage from offensive line technical coach Tyrell Chatman, who also wore the same number Carter did when he took part in the event when he too was in his youth (#79). 

Of course, such instruction during practice didn’t prevent Carter from having a touch of anxiousness. 

“Kind of nervous because I didn’t want to do bad,” Carter said. “There [were] a lot of people watching. Just happy to do something different…different kind of football.” 

But not a problem for Carter. When it was all said and done, Carter came away with an ocean of knowledge needed to improve his craft even more. 

To Carter, the Dream All-American Bowl drenched him with more than enough experience needed to excel in the next steps of his football journey. 

Having fun during the entire experience didn’t dampen the occasion, either. 

“That was pretty fun, yeah,” Carter said. 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.