The Front Row with MARK NELKE April 28, 2013 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

The Front Row with MARK NELKE April 28, 2013

Getting catty on Super Sunday

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Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013 12:00 am

There was a time, it seemed, when the Super Bowl was the only show on TV that day.

Well, that and the Super Bowl pre-game show, which lasts longer than the actual game and is sometimes more interesting.

The addition of the Puppy Bowl on the Animal Planet about a decade ago has become a nice alternative if you get tired of all that analysis and other nonsense on the pregame show.

I've tuned in to watch the Puppy Bowl - mostly to watch the dachshund, and to see how the little weiner dog interacts with the other territorial mutts.

But I have to admit, even as a dog lover, the two-hour show gets kind of boring after a while - you can only watch the chew toy exchange between dogs for so long.

The best part of the Puppy Bowl - aside from not showing where those stains magically came from - might be the water-dish camera, where the camera shoots up from the bottom of the dish as the little doggies get a slurp or two.

NOW COMES some competition for the Puppy Bowl - and, perhaps, even the Super Bowl.

Earlier this month, the Hallmark Channel announced the inaugural Kitten Bowl for next Super Bowl Sunday - Feb. 2, 2014.

According to the Associated Press story, kittens in the Kitten Bowl will compete on an agility course set up with hurdles, scratchers, tunnels, hoops and weave poles. Laser pointers and toys on strings will be used to entice the kittens.

Judges will look at each kitten's ability to cuddle and win the hearts of viewers.

Sounds cute and all. But, I have cats, and you know what they mostly do - they sleep! They might chase the plastic ball with the bell in it, and bat that around for a few minutes ... then what? How much fun will that be to watch for two hours? And it's not like cats interact with other cats much - they tolerate each other.

If you really want to spice it up, throw the dogs and the cats in the same pen and watch them go at it for a couple of hours. My dogs seem to find that entertaining for some reason — though the cats seem to think differently.

BEFORE THE Super Bowl lost its innocence, its halftime show usually consisted of Up With People or some marching band. Now it’s mostly aging rockers, with a wardrobe malfunction mixed in.

My favorite Super Bowl halftime show might have been when another channel showed the Lingerie Bowl at halftime, with a clock in the corner to remind you when to tune back to the actual game.

That all seems a little unneccessary. I think the best use of halftime is for people to get up and do what they need to do after sitting in one spot for an hour and a half. That’s it.

But the game will never go back to being that simple again. So given that, I would vote for bringing back the Lingerie Bowl — it would at least rank as a step up from a marching band.

• When I first met Art Lambert more than 20 years ago, when he took over as volleyball coach at Sandpoint High, he seemed just as likely to want to talk water polo as he did volleyball.

Lambert was a three-time All-American in water polo at San Jose State, and later coached water polo and swimming at Stanford, guiding them to a national water polo championship in 1976. He coached the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team in 1968, and was an assistant on the 1972 U.S. team that won bronze in Munich.

He told some interesting water polo stories back in the day, but you have to remember that while Sandpoint is quite the volleyball town, you don’t see too many pickup water polo matches. So I would often nod and take his word for it.

Back then, my knowledge of water polo came from the few minutes they would show on TV during the Olympics, as well as Hawkeye Pierce’s line from M*A*S*H — “I played water polo once ... but my horse drowned.”

But I made it a point to watch water polo on TV, because of Lambert’s enthusiasm talking about his sport.

In any event, it was pretty cool to see Lambert’s bust and bio displayed along the wall in the concourse at HP Pavilion in San Jose, while I was in the arena last month to watch the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

In 2011, Lambert was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter at CdAPressSports.

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