Connie Hooper: Compassionate
Not many wives of cricketers made it to World Cup 2003. But among the few that came the best time must have been had by Connie Hooper, wife of the West Indies skipper Carl Hooper.
I got the chance to chat up with her in the De Beers hospitality suite at Kimberley. She was feeling a little lost in the main pavilion as her little kid was around and he wouldn't stay put. So they requested De Beers to let her sit in their suite. The little one parked his mini-DVD player on the bar table and played with it all day long oblivious to the cricket dad was playing against the Kenyans.
Mom was the centre of attraction of the elite group gathered in the suite. Connie Hooper's mother, Lynn, was also around and from her came quite a few revelations. Like Connie's reverence for Mother Teresa.
As she had on this tour, Connie also accompanied her husband on the tour of India last year. She enjoyed her stay in Mumbai dining with the Tendulkars at Sachin's new eatery. But the satisfaction she felt in Kolkata was incomparable.
Mrs Hooper went to the Sisters of Charity and distributed food to the inmates. As Lynn recalled: "Every day Connie and I would go to Mother Teresa's home and distribute food. And can you believe it? No one knew it was Mrs Hooper until the last day when some of the sisters watched TV and saw her in the pavilion. It became a little difficult to go there again after that." Connie hails from Macedonia. How does she cope with the traveling of her husband? "I go with him, so that solves the problem." And she has company as her mother and son in tow. "The three of them do the sight-seeing while Carl is busy on the field."
Mrs Hooper thus has toured South Africa twice and most other countries. "I love India and the people. Sachin's wife is a lovely person." Connie Hooper has an advertising background and works for an agency. How? "In these days of internet these things are possible. My brothers run the agency in Melbourne. I am in touch with them when traveling, through the internet."
Connie Hooper looks a typical outdoor person like any Australian. Any sport for her? "I used to do a bit of riding." And the son, what will he play? "Soccer I think. I don't think he will play cricket." Hooper Junior has those dreadlocks like Dutch soccer player Ruud Gullit. Who knows? There might be a Hooper in World Cup soccer ten years down the line.
Carl Hooper is not good copy for the media though he gave us good quotes when speaking from a moral high ground on eve of the crunch game against Sri Lanka. "If we have to win the World Cup, we have to win under any conditions and let tomorrow be the day," he had said when the controversy about batting second under lights at Newlands was being discussed. Why is he withdrawn, one asked Mrs Hooper. "I know he is an intense person. But if you pierce that exterior you will be surprised." Fat chance of us doing that. Good luck to Mrs Hooper and the West Indies side.