TAMPA, Fla. — Berkeley Prep tennis matches feature all of the usual elements associated with the sport.
Serves, returns and volleys.
The Bucs have a loyal fan base watching over all of their matches. And one of those fans has legendary status.
It’s not Berkeley coach Jacquelyn Rosen, a former youth tennis star. It’s her brother Milton.
The legend moniker first attached itself to Milton when he set records as a Special Olympics athlete. Sports has always been in his life. And now he supports his sister and the Berkeley tennis program.
“They’re so close,” their father Bruce Rosen said. “I’ve never seen a brother and sister or any siblings as close as these two.”
It’s a bond you can’t teach.
“He’s just so easy to love,” Jacquelyn said. “The world needs more Milton’s in it.”
Just how famous is Milton? So famous he’s got The Rock on speed dial.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson met Milton when he lived with the Rosens while his pro wrestling father trained at the family’s gym. They formed a friendship that has only strengthened over the years, even as The Rock became one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. He used his star status to spread the message of Milton in an ESPN special.
“There’s one person who is my hero. One person from the time I was six years old,” he said in the special. “When we first met, we hugged and we became like brothers. And he has not only inspired me but inspired so many people.”
Born with Down’s Syndrome, Milton grew up in foster care. And that’s where Bruce Rosen first met him. It wasn’t long after that he decided he had to adopt him. Bruce became the first single male to adopt a child in the state of Florida. A few years later, Jacquelyn was born. And the two have been inseparable ever since.
“He was her biggest supporter in tennis and inspiration and when he was doing his weightlifting contests, she was his biggest fan,” Bruce said.
Now it’s Berkeley that gets the Rosen’s support. And while these tennis players are learning the intricacies of their sport, learning how to be a great teammate and preparing to play at the next level, they are also learning how to accept someone who is different. Someone who might not look or act like they do. But someone who absolutely is a legend.
“If you ever have a rough day or you’re not smiling, you see Milton and that changes that,” Jacquelyn said. “He’s just the epitome of unconditional love. He’s my hero. He’s just an inspiration to all that know him.”
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