Salvation Army basketball league part of road to recovery for some Indy men

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sometimes the shots we miss are the reasons behind the ones we make.

That was certainly the case for Tyler Johnson, who said his past is part of the reason he decided to get involved with the Salvation Army in Fountain Square.

“Just not having a father growing up, I honestly don’t know what I would be without this place,” said Johnson.

At the same time college basketball teams from across the country are playing in the NCAA tournament, groups of local men are hoping to score big in life at the Salvation Army.

“We’ll have guys from a local recovery center that have fielded a team, before we have had guys who maybe are enemies outside of this building but decided because they’re good at basketball to put a team together,” said Vinal Lee, senior pastor and corps officer.

For Billy Steele, the league is part of his road to recovery. Steele struggled with addiction for 31 years; he said he started using drugs when he was 13 and has been in and out of jail ever since.

“Total chaos, my life was totally out of control before,” said Steele.

For both Steele and Johnson, having a sideline of supporters makes even missed baskets feel like a win.

“Thank God for the Salvation Army that I have seen the light and I’m ready to move on,” said Steele.

“People here are just so great, so friendly, so nice. You know, they just welcome you in,” said Johnson.

Similar to the tournament, the teams will play in a series of regular games and playoff rounds.