Sports fans in New England mainly remember September of 1967 as the month Carl Yastrzemski almost singlehandedly propelled the "Impossible Dream" Boston Red Sox to an improbable American League pennant and their first World Series berth since 1946.
About a hundred miles from Beantown, another Carl made a decision that same month that, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, would change the landscape of another sport in Connecticut for more than four decades.
That fall, Enfield athletic director Carl Angelica hired a 24-year-old physical education teacher named Kathleen Blodgett to start a field hockey program at Enfield High School.
Forty-six years, five state championships and dozens of accolades later, the woman better known as Cookie Bromage is still at the helm of the Raiders, and is about to add another entry onto her legendary resume.
Bromage recently learned she has been elected to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She will be inducted on June 25 at the NHSACA annual convention in Des Moines, IA.
"I'm thrilled and overwhelmed - I'm just a little high school coach trying to do my job," she said in an interview Friday. "It is such an honor to be included in such a prestigious group."
Being elected to a Hall of Fame is nothing new to Bromage. She was a charter member of the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996; she was elected to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999; she was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in her longtime hometown of Suffield in 2003; and she gained entry into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. In addition, her three consecutive Class M state championship teams (1992-94) were elected to the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999, and her 1983 and 1984 squads that won back-to-back titles received that same honor in 2007.
Bromage has received several other awards during her tenure, including National High School Coach of the Year in 1999 and Connecticut Field Hockey Coach of the Year on four occasions.
A staggering total of 16 former players have been inducted alongside Bromage as individuals into the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame: Kelly Brantner Morton, Lisa Carrara, Christine Coughlin, Marian Dippel, Colleen Finnerty, Patty Golden Hubbard, Erica Hebert, Karen Hebert Gowen, Susan Herter Boucher, Erica Johnston, Elaine Lavigne Howe, Sharon Leonard Curtis, Kate Mullen, Kristen Neuschaefer, Cindy Turcotte and Shelly Turgeon Folsom.
"I've been very blessed that a bunch of my kids have been inducted, and deservedly so," Bromage said.
"This honor is so well deserved," Gowen said Saturday. "She is just perfect in very way, as a coach and as a person. She has touched so many lives."
Asked to name the biggest thrill of her career, Bromage replied, "Each state championship was special in its own way, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the first championship team from 1983. The year before, we were runnerup and had two goals called back in the championship game. On the bus, I wondered if we would ever be able to get this far again, which we did by winning it the following year. That really opened the door to what followed."
On the subject of possible retirement, she stated, "I'm still enjoying what I do, and I love my kids. I'll stay as long as they decide they still want me."