Sid Rothstein sat in the crowded banquet hall in Carmel a couple of weeks ago.
Then, he saw something that brightened his 85-year-old eyes.
Munster girls tennis coach Patrick Spohr and former boys coach Steve Lopez walked into the Woodland Springs Country Club to honor someone at the Indiana High School Tennis Association's Hall of Fame banquet.
Rothstein, their mentor, was being inducted.
"It meant that they both cared about me," Rothstein said on Wednesday.
He had surgery on Monday and was weak, still recovering from the procedure. But, one of the greatest guys in the Region involved in high school sports felt proud for all that he has accomplished.
His HOF plaque is nice, but it is only symbolic of all the lives he's touched through the years.
Munster legend Chris Bussert was also in the Hall's 27th class. When he gave his speech about his playing days in the 1970s, Rothstein was the first person he mentioned.
"Sid is Munster tennis," Bussert said.
The E.C. Washington and Indiana University grad ran laundry and dry cleaning businesses for decades, which allowed him to give back to the community. At his tennis camps at Wicker Park, he taught them game to over 10,000 kids in his 56 years of teaching love and tennis combined.
"He's a living legend," Lopez said. "He gave an interest and love for the game to so many kids through so many years. Sid gave the final induction speech. It meant so much. He said that the love of the game is a life sport. Kids have to enjoy and love the game to play it.
"You gotta wanna. That is his trademark. Attitude is everything."
Sid Rothstein is a Region legend. A great man with an enormous legacy. It is awesome he got this great honor at this time in his life.
While slowed by age a bit, he still plans to help out the Mustangs whenever he can. Just like he's been doing for 70-plus years.
"I just love working with kids," Rothstein said. "It is one of my greatest joys."
Sid and his wife, Sara Lee, spend their winters in Florida mostly. But he has returned for years to help out with Munster's girls tennis team. He does what he can to give wisdom to those youngsters still trying to find the right path.
Two years ago Rothstein shared some advice he often gives the kids in the spring.
“When prom gets here, I tell them all the same thing,” Rothstein said. “Nothing good happens after midnight.”
Pat Etcheberry was the keynote speaker at the HOF banquet. He is the renowned physical trainer of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles and others. Lopez said that Etcheberry's words and stories were wonderful, but they finished second to the things that Rothstein said.
"He's a bundle of knowledge, a bundle of joy," Lopez said. "When Sid speaks, people listen."
Rothstein has been called "Mr. Tennis" in the area for many years. Now, Mr. Tennis is where he belongs, in the Indiana Hall of Fame.
Make sure to reach out to this fine man and congratulate him.
It is deserved.
This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.