Page 5 - CHSCA.Issue 1 2019-2020
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played hard, with so much heart.’ They see the same situation, both from a coaching perspective. I’m grateful they’re both still in my life.”
Blomstrann, who graduated from Enfield High in 1972, played baseball for Bob.
“They were great,” he said. “My friends who were athletes — we would go over there [to the Bromages’ house] and just talk to them. They sort of adopted us. They’d invite us over to watch bas- ketball games. I remember seeing the World Series over there.
“Bob was a very good coach, a great strategist for baseball. He was a good motivator. I admired him as one of the better coaches I had through my whole youth expe- rience. The two of them together were sort of a team.”
Cookie, who coached basket- ball for 18 years and will start her 49th season as the Enfield field hockey coach this fall, is the soft touch, hugging her players — who are always “good little players” and “hard little workers” — and calling them “sweetheart” and “honey.” She hates to lose, but rarely shows it publicly. Bob once said of his wife, “She just changes the inflection in her voice and they kind of get the message. It doesn’t work for me. I have to yell.”
Bob coached mostly baseball but did coach basketball for years, along with a little football, and one memorable year of ice hockey when Enfield played at an outdoor rink and he thought he was going to get frostbite.
“What Cookie taught me was to be extremely conscientious about coaching,” Bob said. “The prepa- ration for practice — I watch her every day. She sits at the dining room table, working on the practice plan. I said, ‘Don’t you keep these plans from year to year?’”
“I do,” Cookie said.
“At the end of the year, she’s got a Manila [envelope] this thick,”
Bob said. “After 48 years, it fills up half the cellar.”
“He’s always teasing me,” Cook- ie said. “I’ll say, ‘Bob, I got to get in and work on my practice now. I need to put it down.’”
“She has a very good way in how she handles the kids,” Bob said. “Some of that’s rubbed off on me.” So he’s nicer?
“Yeah,” he said. “Sometimes.”
Bob, who pitched at Springfield College before hurting his arm, has coached baseball at East Granby for 11 years after retiring from teaching and coaching at Enfield. East Granby is one of the smallest schools in the state and was not very competitive when he arrived. This year, 24th-seeded East Granby beat ninth-seeded Valley Regional 4-3 in the first round of the Class S tournament but lost 6-0 to Coventry in the second round. The Crusaders have made it to the state tourna- ment all but three years under Bob.
“She has really provided a buf- fer with the East Granby kids,” Bob said of Cookie. “I like to be a little tougher with them only because they were never mentally tough kids. Their records weren’t too good when I came here. I said, ‘You guys can compete. But we got to bring it to a different level.’ When Cookie comes to the games, they don’t call her Mrs. B, it’s ‘Hi, Cookie.’” “I know,” Cookie said. “That’s so cute.” “She breaks the ice with the kids,” Bob said.
Joe Dippel played for Bob at Enfield and went on to play base- ball at UConn. Now he’s Bob’s assistant at East Granby.
“He has a great rapport with the kids,” Dippel said. “He’s a very funny guy. It’s funny to see the freshmen come up, they don’t know what to expect. He talks real tough but he’s really a pussycat, you know?
“He takes an interest in players and individuals, and helps them develop as people. I think he’s
part psychologist, he’s pretty good at getting through to some of the tougher kids. We’re a small town. We encourage the kids to get bet- ter every day and a lot of them do. Bob just keeps pushing. Cookie’s wonderful. The kids love her. On the bench, she’s the cheerleader, the coach, the mom.”
Then he added, “She’s the first one to get all over the umpires. She’s a tiger. You wouldn’t think that. They make a good pair.”
Cookie won five state titles in field hockey and has close to 400 victories. Bob’s best team advanced to the Class L semifinals in 2001 in baseball. They are both in the Enfield Hall of Fame and Cookie is a member of the National High School Athletic Coaches Associa- tion Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame and the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Cookie is 72; Bob, 71. They never had kids – “It just wasn’t in the cards,” Cookie said. They live in Suffield and Bob still works, mostly doing home improvement projects. Cookie helps out. They have no plans to retire from coaching.
“Every once in a while, you’ll get a call or a note from a kid,” Cookie said. “They’ll say, ‘I remember this or that.’ Bob got a phone call from one of his former players who lived in Maryland or somewhere. Vir- ginia? He was a good athlete but Bob had to get on him. We got this phone call and Bob kept it on our machine, forever. His point was he has a son, he was coaching his boy in Little League and he wanted to thank Bob for all he taught him. It was such a nice little message.
“I got a note from a girl in New York City. I hadn’t talked to her in a long time. She said, ‘Mrs. B, I was running in Central Park the other day. I smelled something and it was your perfume. I was thinking of you and wanted to write you a note.’ Little things like that.”
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