June 30th, 2021
Jacksonville’s Healey Named USTA Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month
MaryAnn Healey remembers the first time she ever picked up a tennis racquet, which just so happens to be more than 50 years ago.
“I started playing tennis at 10 years old when my mother found free tennis lessons at a local park,” she recalls. “My sister and I walked about a mile to the tennis courts to take lessons four days a week for two summers in a row.”
Healey wouldn’t play again until after she was married when she and her husband would visit the courts at a local high school to hit balls. She lived in Kentucky at the time, but the couple moved frequently. Which each move came new opportunities to play tennis.
“I played tennis in New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, and now Florida,” she says.
Now settled in Jacksonville, Healey is a beloved USTA league captain. Her love of tennis was the catalyst to her tennis volunteerism, as she stepped up to be a league captain when her team in Arizona was in need about a decade ago. She served as a USTA league captain in the Grand Canyon State for three years before moving to the Sunshine State, where she has held the captain position for seven years.
“Since I am retired, I have the time to devote myself to a variety of volunteer efforts,” says Healey. “My past work experience has taught me how to manage projects which is much like managing a team. My management, organizational and communication skills help me captain teams.”
Healey’s captaining skills haven’t gone unnoticed. She has made quite the impact on her 40 & Over 3.0 women’s team at the Jacksonville Golf & Country Club, who made it to Sectionals in 2020.
“MaryAnn truly loves tennis and the USTA,” shares Christy Mobley, a member of the 3.0 team. “She is selfless and works tirelessly on her game and for the teams she captains.”
“Without ever having to be asked, you can always depend on MaryAnn to step up for any event,” adds teammate Lara Norton. “She selflessly gives her time and passion to tennis without ever seeking accolades. Her encouragement is a bright spot for even a less than stellar match performance.”
Healey’s teammates say she has always been a committed captain, but she was especially devoted during 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite delays caused by the pandemic, Healey remained upbeat, enthusiastic and dedicated to her players. She would coordinate round robins, lessons, and clinics for the team, on top of organizing the arrangements for Sectional events.
“She was a calm influence in the crazy, chaotic season,” says teammate Michelle Mendez. “We had a large and variably experienced team and MaryAnn dealt with all of our personalities with grace and patience.”
“MaryAnn is the type of person that never complains and just wants to do the right thing for the team,” concurs teammate Nancy Kaye. “This type of captain is rare.”
There is no doubt that Healey is treasured by her players. That camaraderie is one of the main reasons why Healey enjoys volunteering in the first place.
“Volunteering is my way of sharing my love for the tennis game,” says Healey. “I work with great people and it keeps me young and involved. By being a captain, I have made tennis available to others in my community.”
USTA Florida thanks MaryAnn Healey for her commitment to USTA League tennis in Duval county and for her dedication to growing the game in Florida.
Birthplace: St Louis, Missouri
Family: Parents John and Katherine Gleason; siblings Kathy, Peggy, John
Favorite Movie: Sleepless in Seattle
Favorite Food: Cheese
Favorite Travel Spot: London, England
Favorite Shot: Backhand cross court
My earliest tennis memory was… “Free lesson in Fairgrounds Park in St. Louis when I was in junior high.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be… “The Brian Brothers and Rafa Nadal.”
When I am not playing tennis I am… “Walking, sewing, cleaning house, reading.”
My best tennis memory is… “Winning several almost 4-hour matches.”
I like to volunteer in tennis because… “I work with great people. It keeps me young and involved.”
Interested in volunteering in tennis? Visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteers to learn more about available opportunities.