LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - At its core, baseball is a game about life. Small, infrequent successes coupled with inevitable failures make it a game worth much more than balls and strikes.
Few people understand that parallel quite like Scott McVoy.
“Baseball mirrors life a lot,” McVoy said. “It’s a game of failure. You’re going to fail. You’re going to strike out. It’s how you handle that adversity and what choices you make to get yourself to the next level to be successful.”
Forty hours a week, McVoy holds down his post as assistant chief of Jeffersonville Police.
On weekends. he holds down the coach’s box as manager of the Indiana Strikers 11-and-under travel baseball team.
“I take this as an opportunity to teach them about life, teach them about being good people and making good choices,” McVoy said.
This season, part of the lesson comes in the form of a jersey patch sewn onto the players’ right sleeves.
The patches read “562 In Loving Memory,” and are reminders of Charlestown Police Sergeant TeJuan “TJ” Johnson, who was killed in the line of duty by COVID-19 in December.
“He was a real-life role model that these kids should look up to and it’s just a gentle reminder, especially for me,” McVoy said. “It was just a tough day all the way around.”
For days, the city of Charlestown mourned the 13-year police veteran. Agencies across southern Indiana lit the town up with flashing blue lights, as a thank you to his service.
“I think it’s important to show his family, and his fellow blue family, that the community’s behind them as we always will be,” Charlestown resident Lindsey McDonald said during the funeral in December.
Months later, Johnson’s memory is crystal clear.
“It’s a reminder, one, how fragile life is,” McVoy said. “And it’s been learning lessons for these 11-year-olds. And they’re kids, they’re 11-year-old kids. So we’re just trying to teach them how to honor real true role models.”
For whatever reason, be it luck or just the way the baseball gods drew it up, since the Strikers put Johnson’s badge number on their jerseys, they have not stopped winning.
And to the victors go the spoils.
The Strikers donated the trophies from their first two tournament wins to Johnson’s wife during a team dinner at her restaurant The Copper Kettle.
“We need to honor him and we all try our best to win games and honor his death,” Jaylen Wells Henderson said.