- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

Maybe Redskins coach Steve Spurrier should get a copy of Kaye Lake's new book, "Learn to Love It! A Quickie Guide to Men and Pro Football in 60 Minutes."

Maybe he could pick up a few pointers on how to learn to love the running game.

Actually, Steve Spurrier clearly loves football, or else he wouldn't be putting up with the headaches that come with being coach of the Redskins. It was easy for him to love it in Gainesville, where he was the master of his domain. Here it has been a case of tough love.

And there are clearly a lot of men around here who love football, based on the crowds that fill FedEx Field and the bars around town when the Redskins are playing.

But that leaves a lot of football widows behind, and in these Dr. Phil times, sharing is right next to caring, so why not share the joy of the forward pass with your significant other? Lake, a former NewsChannel 8 and WTEM-AM sports reporter, has come up with an easy way to do that for women and for men who want their women to stop trying to drag them to malls and museums on Sundays in a book (www.learntoloveit.net) that breaks down the game for women in an entertaining way.

"There are plenty of books to help people learn the game of football but not from this kind of slant," Lake said. "I wanted to make it fun."

Here's one example that leads into a detailed explanation about the responsibilities of special teams: "One motivating factor behind learning something about football is being able to spend some 'special' time with your guy, or guys, whatever the case may be. And 'special' is something you will want to remember about the game itself. Along with offensive and defensive players, some guys get the chance to be 'special' as well. These guys make up the 'special' teams."

And then this one: "There's nothing worse than a bad line. Many women have heard more than their share and know that the good lines have a better chance to score at some point down the road. The most important thing to remember is that football is the same way. A good offensive line can help you get there. And where is there? The end zone."

Lake knows of what she speaks. She has been a football fan since her days as a young girl in Beatrice, Neb., when she and her family used to listen to Nebraska games on the radio. She went on to be a star athlete in three sports basketball, volleyball and track at Diller High School and also played softball. She set several state basketball records and led her team as a senior to runner-up for the state championship.

Lake was recruited to play basketball at the school of her dreams, Nebraska, but wound up going there instead on an academic scholarship, majoring in journalism. After leaving school, she went to work as sports director at a station in northwest Indiana and also worked as a color commentator for high school football. She came to the Washington area in 1996.

The idea for the book came to Lake while she was conducting a seminar for the Redskins called "Chalk Talk 101" for women and others who wanted a quick and easy lesson in the basics of the game.

"I had a lot of fun talking to people about learning the game," she said. "And a lot of my girlfriends have asked me things during a game about what happened here or there. So I thought there should be a book for women that is fun and conversational that helps them learn about football. Sometimes it is more difficult for men to explain things to women than for another woman to do it. We don't all quite process things the same way."

Here's how much Kaye Lake loves the game. When she was a junior in high school, she won an essay contest sponsored by Sports Illustrated about why she wanted to go to a bowl game. She won a trip to the Cotton Bowl.

"I want women to feel comfortable with this game," she said. "It's a great game, and I want them to be able to learn to love it as much as I do."

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