Family to lose athletic field legacy when Cardinal Gibbons shuts down

The expansive stadium, once overpopulated with fans attending football and lacrosse games, was empty on March 22 except for two students, whose connection to the land runs deeper than the soil.

The bleak, rainy day mirrored the attitude of the grandson of whom Healy Field at Cardinal Gibbons was named as he looked out across the field where his family legacy will soon end.

Robert Healy, a sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons, will be the last Healy to attend Gibbons and the only one who will never get to graduate as the Archdiocese of Baltimore decided to close the school at the end of the 2010 academic school year.

“I am still at a loss for words really. I am so upset by all of this,” Robert Healy, whose father, five uncles and a cousin attended the school. “I  was so shocked because they promised they weren’t closing my school. I felt like it couldn’t be true. I was hoping it was just a bad dream.

“My cousin and I  go there now because we wanted to continue the family legacy. That school is my family, not only because of my family being such a huge part, but the other boys that go there have become my brothers.”

Brooks and Robert Healy stand proud in front of Healy Field.

Robert’s cousin, Brooks Healy, is going to be part of the last class to graduate from Gibbons.

“I am one of the “unlucky lucky ones” at Cardinal Gibbons. I will get to graduate in May and not have to attend another school besides college,” Brooks Healy said.

“When I first came to Gibbons, many of my classmates were surprised that my last name was on the scoreboard. That feeling of awe and amazement that they expressed to me during my freshman year has made me have so much pride in that field,” said Brooks Healy.

“I unfortunately have never played an athletic event on the field, but I take more pride in that field then any football or lacrosse player (besides Robert) to ever play on it.”

Healy Field, where the Crusaders play their football and lacrosse games, was named after Jack Healy, Robert and Brooks’ grandfather.

 Jack Healy volunteered as the team physician for decades since the 1960’s, as well as serving on the boosters club and being part of opening the first Catholic high school stadium with lights in this area.

“When the field was dedicated to my Dad, we were all so proud of him and what he was able to accomplish with limited school resources.  He had a dream and fulfilled that dream which lives on at Healy stadium,” Terence Healy, Robert’s father and son of Jack Healy, said.

“This dream has been crushed and will die along with the closing of the school.  We feel Dad has died all over again.  It gave us such joy to walk onto that field and see his name.”

Three generations of Healy men put time and work into Healy Field, as well as playing sporting events on it.

“It’s also special to me because every lacrosse game I play at home is not just another home game, it’s a game played on “the field that Jack built”,” said Robert who is captain of the junior varsity Gibbons lacrosse team.

“It’s sad because no other field will have our name and our name will be torn down and so will the hard work and money my grandfather put into that school.”

The Archdiocese of Baltimore ignored questions about their decision to close the school, including to Gibbons principle David Brown.

“I had no indication at any time and unfortunately time and circumstances have played into a lot of. We have always been slightly under-enrolled and with the economy…but all you have to do is look at Brooks and his cousin and see we have quality kids coming out of Gibbons all the time,” Brown said on the school shutting down.

“We have the quaility product, just are victims of financial issues; the quote we keep hearing is “we have to stop the hemorrhaging.””

Rival schools are also affected by Gibbons closing.

“I not only coached against but played against Gibbons in the 70’s,” Jody Harris, the former baseball coach at Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore said. “It’s a loss in the Catholic school community and this hurts us, too. Some of my fondest memories are playing and coaching at Gibbons.

“This affects a lot of families like the Healys or the Valgaris family. They just had a son shadow at St.Joe, and I told him that he could start a legacy here,” said Harris, who also teaches history at St. Joe. “But it is a shame they won’t have a chance to go to the school their father, uncles and grandfather went and follow in their footsteps.”

The field baseball legend Babe Ruth once played, which is on CG property.

The field where baseball legend Babe Ruth once played, which is on CG property.

Gibbons also graduated  many standout athletes including: Duke star basketball player Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski; former NFL stars Jean Fugett and Vaughn Hebron; NBA players  Quintin Dalley and Norman Black.

Infamous George Herman “Babe” Ruth also played baseball on the same field that the Crusader’s currently play; this historic field will also cease to exist if the school is torn down.

“This really stinks and the odor of this situation is worse than a locker room after a football game in 90 degree heat,” said Terence Healy .

The community of Gibbons, since the announcement March 3, have rallied together making “save Gibbons” Facebook groups and hosting fundraisers to try to save the school from the inevitable.

Signs declaring "save C.G." can be seen all over campus.

“I just want the Archdiocese to help us  and answer the questions we have instead of ignoring us,” said Robert Healy. “My family means a lot to me; I have huge pride in the school I attend. I will always be a Crusader at heart.”

Brooks Healy, the last Healy to graduate from Cardinal Gibbons, won’t forget the school where he spent time attending sporting and alumni events since he was 8-years old.

“The Healy history at Gibbons is very important to my family and me. My father is an active alumni and has a corner in the Mullis Gymnasium named after him. This will be a huge loss to my family,” said Brooks Healy.

“We will no longer have a place to go and reminisce about our old Gibbons memories. Colin’s Corner and Healy Stadium are two memories I will cherish and a legacy that will have to end.”

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5 Responses to “Family to lose athletic field legacy when Cardinal Gibbons shuts down”

  1. Kelly Gary Says:

    Wow! What a great article for a great legacy of Healy men, boys, and the women, children and families behind them.The Balto. Diocese is not just closing a school, they are closing the doors on future leaders and future Catholic “crusaders and leaders” in the Baltimore area.

  2. Lorraine Says:

    Thank you Genna! This was very touching to read. I can’t tell you how much my family and I aprreciate this. Rob liked it a lot too. Thank you!!!!

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