By Joan Frances
The mere name hardly serves the game justice. “Ping Pong”, as most remember, is a table set up in the basement or garage where a little white ball is hit back and forth. No one would have thought that this pastime is now a world class competitive sport, otherwise referred to as Table Tennis. In Fort Bend we have our own world class athlete, the only American representing the U.S. in such a game. His name is Kyle Morgenroth.
As a boy, Kyle was active in typical sports, Little League and Pony League baseball then he became interested in extreme skating and spent time in and out of the doctors’ office. His parents, Keith and Bobbie and his sister Alicia supported his many talents and watched his athletic ability grow. He graduated from Elkins High School in 2001 and attended Texas State University where he earned a degree in Computer Science with a Math Minor in 2004.
After graduation he moved to Los Angeles where he began working for Walt Disney Company as a Senior Software engineer with a focus on online gaming. In 2006 a co worker invited Kyle to play an innocent game of table tennis, and he was hooked. He began many hours of practice and played at the Westside Table Tennis Club in LA where he met his coach Wei Wang, a member of the 1996 US Olympic Table Tennis Team, and the USATT Hall of Fame. He not only trained to be physically fit but studied the strategies and physics of the game.
Kyle has gone to Germany twice to train at the German National Table Tennis center outside Dusseldorf and has trained with the best in Beijing, China. This week he is training at the Werner Schlager Academy in Schwechat, Austria near Vienna. Kyle will be the only American competing from November 7 through November 11 in the GAC Group 2012 ITTF World Tour Polish Open Table Tennis Tournament held in Poznan, Poland. This is the first international tournament he will be participating in. His goal is to compete at the Olympics.
Because of his talent, Kyle has been on the Price is Right demonstrating a Ping Pong table and he was an extra in the show Entourage as a stand in for John Stamos. He was also in the movie Ball of Fury playing table tennis.
Fate is a strange thing. It can lead one down the most unlikely road. Ambition and drive obviously led Kyle to strive for excellence to perfect this game. But one would have to thank fate for placing him in the right place at the right time.