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Staci and I were invited to a High School 7 on 7 football tournament in Arkansas last week. The Southwest Elite 7 on 7 is a regional qualifier for the National Select 7 on 7 championship and is hosted by Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Arkansas. This 2-day event pooled 32 teams with an estimated 900+ athletes playing. After making our trip from Dallas to Northwest Arkansas, we were pleased to get settled in before joining the others at the kick-off party. It was going to be a fabulous time that included a little faith and football.

Kick Off

EA Sports, along with other sponsors like Walmart, Gatorade, and Under Armor, kicked off the showcase event with a launch party for the players.  EA Sports came in and set up several XBox 360 games systems for the boys to play the new release of EA Sports NCAA ’14. The ballroom of the Holiday Inn in Springdale was bumpin’ with music, video games, snacks, drinks, and good, fun entertainment.

Walmart was the title sponsor of the event, and through their connections, was able to ask  Tim Tebow from the New England Patriots is come in and say, “Hey” to the guys.

Throughout the evening the players were hard at it on the XBox 360 consoles, but also steady tweeting out answers from a live Twitter party to win prizes. Some won EA Sports games, Under Armor gear, and a signed Vincent Jackson football, as well as the Grand Prize: a signed football from Tim Tebow. The entire room got excited about that.

As the night progressed, we sat down for a bit more serious moment and listened to Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He talked about making the right decisions in life and spoke straight from Genesis 9. Jase shared some great examples of peer pressure and temptation that he experienced in his own life. He was also able to give great advice to the boys and to encourage them to keep going in their weak moments.

Sweat and 7on7

The next day, Friday, was pretty warm and the clouds in the sky did not offer much shade on the football fields. All 32 teams were split up into pools and played roughly 6 games in their respected pool. The pool play was a good chance to check out as many teams you wanted… and watch some elite high school football players play ball.

SWElite7on7

We had a great time following and watching the games throughout the day. I do have to say it was different to watch football as 7on7. No pads. No tackles. New  rules.

SWElite7on7

SWElite7on7

Coffey Anderson, Manafest and Tim Tebow

To close Friday night out, Walmart lined up an event we would not want to miss. Coffey Anderson started the night of at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center with just himself and an acoustic guitar. This guy is pure genius when it come to music and putting a song together. Coffey Anderson won me over with his style of praise and worship, but with a country twang.

Coffey Anderson

Manafest rocked out with a majority of the young players and they laid down riffs and beats to pump them up. It was refreshing to hear that Christ’s name could be exalted even in hard rock and not just contemporary music.

Tim Tebow took the show by sharing his previous football experiences in both the NCAA and NFL. Tim shared that God is a mighty big God and that He is always involved… even when you don’t know it. He talked about the ups and downs in his own football career and how he remained positive that God is a good God. He also explained that he always wanted to be different. Not like everyone else. He let each of the 900+ young athletes in the room know that it is okay to be different and to play for God’s will… in His way.

SWElite7on7

SWElite is a Win Win

I could only hope that I was like just one of these young men when I was their age. This conference on the #SWElite7on7 was much more than just football. It was about unity, skill, determination, faith, and overcoming obstacles in life. I enjoyed watching the games over he course of the day and following the teams as they played. There is something about watching a game and actually feeling the defeat… and celebrating the win.

Have you ever played 7on7? How do you encourage others on the field or in life?

Learn more about the Southwest Elite 7on7 Showcase event by liking  them on Facebook or by following @Elite7on7 on Twitter.

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