Mark Healy’s name is synonymous with baseball in Newfoundland and Labrador. He started coaching at just 16 years old and thirty-four years later, his passion and involvement in the sport remains.
“Back then, like most kids today, we all worked with our local minor association doing day camps or umpiring in the evenings, and through that, a couple of opportunities came up to get involved in some of the younger all-star teams and I really enjoyed the coaching side of it”.
Healy, the current President of St. John’s Amateur Baseball Association and Female Baseball Director for Newfoundland and Labrador can be found at a baseball diamond most weekends alongside his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Maddi and Molly - who are all actively involved in the baseball community.
“It keeps me going, it keeps me interested because they probably like to spend more time at the field than I do. Both my daughters are playing, they’re both umpiring, scoring, and coaching. My wife is heavily involved from a manager perspective at the local and provincial team level. She loves to score for the St. John’s Amateur Baseball League and runs the highly popular canteen at St. Pat’s Ball Park.”
The Healy's love story has a baseball twist of its own. He met his wife during the 1993 Canada Games in Kamloops, British Columbia. He played baseball, while his wife participated in female softball. Two decades later, Healy returned to the Canada Games, this time as an assistant baseball coach for Team NL in 2013.
“I feel the Canada Games has been one of the best sporting experiences of my life in terms of competition, camaraderie, and being an elite athlete at that level. Going from a player in ‘93 to a coach in 2013 was very exciting,” Healy explains. “It was great to be a part of the Canada Games and the Opening Ceremonies and working with my own athletes to explain to them what it means to be a Canada Games athlete and work with them to relish the opportunity.”
An opportunity young athletes can take advantage of is coaching and assisting with younger teams. Healy emphasizes the importance of maintaining an individual playing career and not sacrificing it for coaching at an early stage. But he believes that understanding the coaching process, decision-making, strategy, and relationships can make you a better player.
“Take some time now early in your career to get your courses and certifications done, because it can become a roadblock later in life. Don’t do it because you think you should do it or someone wants you to do it. If you want to coach, do it because you really enjoy it. It will make a better person overall.”
For Healy and his 30+-year coaching journey, it’s the athletes that have kept his passion for the sport and coaching.
“I love baseball. I love the game of baseball, whether I’m playing, coaching or the administration, but it’s the athletes, wanting to provide them the same opportunities and experience that I got as a kid growing up. That’s really the part that keeps me at it.”