King of the court: local table tennis star overcomes illness


VICTORY. EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD UNDERDOG STORY. ETHAN KELLER OF MEQUON MAY NOT BE THE BIGGEST, HE MAY NOT BE THE STRONGEST, BUT HE IS THE KING OF THE COURT WHEN IT COMES TO TABLE TENNIS.>>EVERY DAY, ETHAN KELLER LOOKS ACROSS THE TABLE AT HIS OPPONENT AND LETS HIS PADDLE TO THE TALKING. I AM TRAINING AT LEAST FIVE DAYS A WEEK OR SO, AND THEN I PLAY TOURNAMENTS ON WEEKENDS. STEPHEN: THE 16-YEAR-OLD IS THE BEST TABLE TENNIS PLAYER IN THE STATE IN HIS AGE GROUP, AND ONE OF THE TOP JUNIORS IN THE COUNTRY.>>I HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE OF HARD WORK. JUST THE DESIRE AND LOVE TO KEEP PLAYING.>>HE’S A REALLY RESILIENT KID, AND YOU CAN SEE IT IN HIS TABLE TENNIS. STEPHEN: THAT RESILIENCE WAS TESTED TWO YEARS AGO.>>HE STARTED HIGH SCHOOL, AND IT WAS REALLY CLEAR THAT SOMETHING WAS REALLY WRONG WITH HIM. STEPHEN: KELLER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A THYROID DISORDER, AFFECTING HIS BODY TEMPERATURE AND ENERGY LEVELS.>>SOME OF THE STRUGGLES WERE, DIFFICULTY JUST SLEEPING AT NIGHT. HIS BODY MECHANISMS WERE OFF. IT WAS HORRIBLE. IT WAS LIKE A PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE. STEPHEN: HE WAS FORCED TO PULL OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. AFTER MONTHS OF APPOINTMENTS, DOCTORS FOUND TH CURE. IN THAT TIME HE ENROLLED IN THE WISCONSIN VIRTUAL ACADEMY, AN ONLINE PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL.>>I CAN GO AT MY OWN PACE, SO I FEEL MORE RELAXED, SO I CAN PLAY TABLE TENNIS MORE OFTEN AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HAVING HOMEWORK. STEPHEN: THE ONLINE CLASSES HAVE HELPED HIM FIND HIS BALANCE.>>HE LOVES THE FACT HE HAS TEACHERS, THAT HE HAS CLASSES EVERY DAY. STEPHE AND LIFE IS BACK TO NORMAL FOR THIS TEENAGER.>>HE IS NOW A NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY. HE JUST WENT TO PROM. STEPHEN: BUT NOTHING COMPARES TO THE FEELING OF LOOKING ACROSS AT HIS OPPONENT.>>IT GIVES ME CONFIDENCE, KNOWING WHAT I CAN DO. STEPHEN: SO AS HE LOOKS TO RUN THE TABLE — >>HE DOESN’T GIVE UP. STEPHEN: THAT MUCH WE KNOW. ETHAN’S MOM TOLD ME HE’S LOOKING TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP FOR TABLE TENNIS TO TAKING TO COLLEGE.

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