The establishment of the society
Thanks to the initiative of Enzo Pettinelli, Roberto Raugei and Cosimo Sasso the first society of the parish San Martino was born. There already was a small group of teenagers playing ping-pong at the oratorio Sacro Cuore, that participated at the C.S.I. activity. The society of San Martino could be easily distinguished from the plurality of confessors. The parish San Martino, located in the historic center of Senigallia, was considered an elite parish. Nevertheless, they had young visitors, not only locals but also people coming from the periphery without being discriminated for their social background. This kind of mentality could be considered some kind of a revolution at that time. In 1955 this new society participated in the activity of C.S.I. up to national competitions. The expenses for the transport, the food and the accommodation were taken care of by the organization. Then the big step forward. In 1959 they started to participate at the federal activity. The same managers from the C.S.I. gave life to the organization.
The first Italian Championships at Chiavari
In 1961 the first Italian championships took place in Chiavari, at that time GITET (it wasn´t until 1970 that it was recognized by CONI as FITET). Big enthusiasm, a fantastic climate. The teenagers from Senigallia grew up in an almost completely unknown little town in the Italian region Marche where the tourism had taken its first small and shy steps. It was in this town that the people could admire the matches and the champions (Winderling, Sturani, Galli, Molina, Mugnoz, la Colombo, etc.) with their own eyes. In this almost surreal and a little dulled climate they got struck by the composure and the athleticism of all the participants. In the category of female students Luisa Polverari won the championship title. Corinaldesi Livio reached the third place in the same category. Big surprise among the opponents and big enthusiasm among the crowd. The first studies of technique bore fruit without taking away anything from the players. On the contrary, they saw the potential to send them to competitions thanks to their talent. Two of the young players were going to wear the blue uniform to the international championships of Italy in 1961. In the following years more championship titles in the youth competitions, won by women, were to come. Corinaldesi had to leave the team due to illness and the resultant fear of a potential setback.
The big Technical and Cultural Turning Point
After this initial period, the parish closes its doors. Maybe due to the excessive plurality. Or because it was the time of the pull-out. With one table and a handcart, the young pioneers were in search of a new territory. For a certain period of time they were housed in the youth center, at the association ACLI, at the association “la fenice”, etc. But eventually, with the return of father Giuliano Grassi to San Martino, the project continued. Nerio Ravini of the JU RAPIDA donated three JOOLA ping-pong tables and because of that, the lightheartedness and the dream came back. Then 1968 the big reflection. The so-called sandwich racket was born. Though it arrived relatively late in Italy. That was caused by the older teachers and founders of the school refusing to adapt to the new trend. In the 70´s the technicians of the national league took courage and motivate young players to use rackets with rubber coating. Pettinelli and three of his supervisors, Ubaldi, Ceresi and Simoncioni Luigi started deeper studies of the ping-pong technique and racket. They studied the movements taught in other countries, photographs posted on Japanese journals. The way to change from one position to the next started to resemble an artistic dance and the sound of the ball bouncing back and forth determined the rhythm. The main goal became to create harmonic continuity. Like everyone had their own way of walking, everyone had their own musicality that could be expressed by ping-pong. The trainer represented the maestro of music, giving suggestions on how to improve certain gestures in order to free the players from visual and muscular conditioning. Pettinielli´s priority was to distinguish between beautiful and ugly, between good and bad. To find the happy medium between student and player. Questioning and reflecting were secondary. But later on, they also managed to explain why certain movements are necessary according to the laws of physics.
The Physical and Mental Preparation
It was time for the physical preparation. Each player had a different agility, musculature, spirit, attitudes, instincts, etc. The sports teacher´s culture was outdated. It wasn´t their fault either, their preparation took about three years due to the ways of the twenty years of fascist regime. At that time, it was all about muscle strength without any mental preparation. Therefore, they tried to find new methodologies for personalized ways to be physically prepared. In order to do it correctly, they contacted psychology experts, one of whom was going to have a task for the athletes in the national league regarding their homesickness.
Historic Results in the 70´s/80´s
It was the golden era. Costantini and Apolloni won the gold medal in the trainee category of the Davis Cup. After that, Mariani and Pesaresi achieved the same results. Luigi Manoni won the Adriatico-Trophy in both single and team category with Simoncioni Stefano. Followed by a series of convocations to the juvenile and national European Championships. In 1977 and 1979 it was time for the first championship titles in the male nationals. Costantini was going to be number one of Italia and the benchmark of the nationals. In the early 70´s many of the best young players spent long periods of time in Senigallia to train, especially in summer time.
The Center was realized
It was Pettinelli and Ubaldi who wanted realize the ping-pong center. Costantini e Moretti were the only ones who followed the evolution with interest. Finally, in 1985, the works were completed. The other players left as time went on. With the loss of the sponsor, the society focused on the survival of the school and its traditions. Meanwhile, all the remaining players from Senigallia had left to exercise with other societies. It was a period of time of cultural divide. There was no will to research or modernize. Pettinelli opened the school for whole Italy. In summer time the center got a new feeling of vivacity. The big space they had at their disposal allowed that. Technical summer-courses were supervised by Costantini. They offered private lessons for beginners and players up to the second category. New friendships were made with Alessandro Ciceri, Marcello Chicchiti and Marco Lucini. It was a culturally important period of time.
The school opened up further to Italy
Pettinelli´s school included players without registration. The first example was Daniela Cardinali from Foligno in the early 70´s. She spent the whole summer in Senigallia; from the third category, in just a few years, she registered to the national juvenile, and then went on to the first category of the national team. She also took part in the European championships, in the world championships and also in the Mediterranean games. In the late 80`s it was Sabrina Moretti´s, Luca Ricci´s and Jonathan Poli´s turn. They played for other clubs but soon were received with open arms in the school of Senigallia, they even left their hometowns to move to Senigallia. While all three of them were going to play at the European championships in the national juvenile category, Moretti and Ricci even reached the highest class and, like Cardinali, participated at the European and world championships, and also at the Mediterranean games. All of that was possible thanks to the fact that the school in Senigallia was open to everyone and not only to members.
Thanks to the efforts of Claudio Balicchia a new society of female players was born, which later on was also going to participate at the Italian Championships. With the opening of the center, another society in Marina di Montemarciano was being founded by Ugo Lucchetti and the Mazzarini brothers. Although Lucchetti stayed autonomous, he found potential inspiration and collaboration in the school of Senigallia. They were also going to see one of their players rise from the national juvenile to the first category. He was going to be the seventh player from the region Marche in history to reach the highest class. Pettinelli´s school had five players to go that far: Costantini, Apolloni, Mariani, Moretti, Ricci and Cardinali who originally was from Umbria. One ex-player of the TT-Senigallia, Marco Di Leonardo, who landed in the premier league, also founded his own society in collaboration with Pettinelli´s school. He was going to be the vice champion in the premier league. The society consisted not only of players from Senigallia but also from other places, which was something never seen before in Senigallia, because, although in the 70´s they had already had two teams in the premier league, they consisted only of players from Senigallia. After that it was Costantini´s turn. The new society peaked out by organizing a training camp for the best players in Europe and for the top players in the world rank, as a preparation for the Olympic games in Athens. Amongst others there were present Waldner, Persson, Schlager, Samsonov etc. From a branch of the Tennistavolo Senigallia the manager Perini and Apolloni founded the fifth society. They were an autonomous group within the TT Senigallia for several years, like others before them. But for the use of sponsors, the cohabitation within the TT Senigallia, which manages the Olympic Center on behalf of the municipality, becomes incompatible. So, in 2007 they formed a new society with players, which were already registered for the CSI and had participated in the national finals. They found a gym but continued to use the Center when they didn´t have courses open for the public and schools. It was hoped that also this initiative stood out in the Italian panorama, respecting the TT Senigallia´s origins and its history of more than 50 years, a club awarded with the golden star of sports merit by the CONI, for the first time awarded to a ping-pong society solely dedicated to one sport only. The golden star of sports merit has the same value for a society like a victory at the Olympics for an athlete. So, it´s not only a recognition of the past, but also and especially of a service everyone, that was part of the society´s story, provided.