Football’s book study: More than the game

By Keyshawn McMahon and Hannah Abbate  Sterling, KS — March 1, 2018, 1:57 P.M.

The offseason leaves a team with multiple agendas, for the Sterling College football team the offseason process involves mental growth as well as physical and athletic growth. Amongst many other forms of training and preparation, this year the team opted to partake in a program wide book study where all the coaches and players are involved. The name of the book is, “Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most” by Craig Groeschel, published in 2013.

Coach Gabe Eliserio had used the book in a men’s small group before, and he is the one who suggested that the entire team should read the book. The team is mandated to read one section per week, and the book has five sections. Each section also includes a 20-30-minute video that the team watches together and then they break off into smaller groups to discuss what they have read/seen. Coach Chase Hansen explained,

We were looking for something to provoke questions and discussions concerning our ideas and thoughts on what a man is, and I thought using the stories of Samson from the Bible would be a very relatable character for us. We were able to purchase a copy of the book for every one of our players so that they could keep the book after we were done with it.


Book studies for sports teams are an underrated source of team building. Many teams from grade school level all the way up to the collegiate and professional level take part in book studies.

Book studies give teams the opportunity to create personal connections, team chemistry and enhance social relations.

This is the first book study for this group of team members at Sterling College. This is completely new for Coach Hansen, but Hansen is hopeful that this book study can be the start of a lifetime brotherhood between their football family. Coach Hansen said,

 I have not personally been involved with a book study with a football team however, Coach Eliserio had been. We talk a lot about how being a part of the football program here at SC is ‘More Than Football.’  Of course, we want to win football games but teaching and showing our team how to be a great husbands, fathers, teammates, and providers is far more important in the big scheme of things. Our goal is that this book will open our guys up to self-reflection and will put us in situations that may not be comfortable. But, we can use that time to grow as men and as a team.


From an athlete’s point of view, Nick McGrew, a junior from California, said the book “helps me to open my eyes to see what God can do for you.”

“The stuff we talk about,” McGrew continued, “it really opens your eyes to see where your teammates come from… what they’re used to and how they grew up and were raised and their values. At first, I was like, OK it’s just a book I’ll skim because they tell me to, but it’s actually pretty interesting. Some of the stuff makes you think a lot about how you should change your own life to better yourself for God.”

“Not being selfish,” has stood out from the book to McGrew. He stated that it was about “learning how to control your desires, learning how to lean on God and focus your energy on God.”

With the season seven months away, the reigning KCAC champions are hoping this book study will help prepare the guys for more success on the field and long-term success.

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