The tables are in position, set up by coach and athletes, you hear a deaf sound though entrancing of little balls hit like lightning. They are small realities, often little known, that work with little trace. Realities that however count in terms of sports and humans, who bring Italian titles to the board (the last one won in February by an 11 year old Alessandra Ugolini in the category “giovanissime”) and they unite athletes and followers – women and men- of different ages, different social, work and cultural backgrounds. This is the case of the Tennis Tavolo Tifernum who celebrate their 40th year this year, a true microcosm of personalities and stories, who tell of an activity that is sometimes considered unusual but very followed. We meet the president of the this tifernate association, Paolo Guerriero Carloni, in the school Dante Alighieri (where they hold practices every day from Monday to Friday –except Wednesdays).
by Marco Polchi – ph: Monica Ramaccioni
President Carloni, this year you are blowing out forty candles. Have you thought of doing anything special for the occasion?
We have made some celebratory shirts with which we have been playing since January 1st, different from the official ones. Then we will try to organize a special event at the end of the season.
Can you tell us how Tennis Tavolo Tifernum was born?
It all started after a tournament, organized forty years ago, in the midst of a Friendship Festival or Unity Festival, I can’t remember exactly. We were a lot of us playing and we said to each other: why not put together a team? Since then a lot has changed, many have left, many have joined, many have remained, like Alessandro Baglioni, Stefano Lisini who are still part of the society’s organogram. By now it’s been fifteen years, when Stefano Castellani was president, that we seriously got organized with a youth league and professional coaches.
With the present coach, Andrea del Tomba, you had a chat just before…
Andrea is the first Italian coach after three foreigners, he has been in the National team, first category coach, he has great experience, and he has been with us for two years. He is getting our guys and girls ready, it’s not by chance that Alessandra Ugolini has become the Italian champion and we have continued to get promoted to higher categories. Andrea takes care of every little detail, in a sport that is very selective.
Tennis Tavolo Tifernum is also in A2. What is it like dealing with realities and cities much bigger than Città di Castello?
From a technical point of view nothing changes. From the economic point of view it is very difficult, we have had to travel to Sicily, Basilicata and Puglia. With a prudent management and without biting off more than we can chew we are able to have few problems and pay players, coaches, gym and so on. We are the Chievo Verona of ping pong!
What is your objective?
To organize our work, help our youth to grow, stay at the highest level we can for as long as we can without exaggerating, without highs and lows with the risk then of disappearing and making ten years of passion and work go up in smoke. If we are still here after forty years then there is a reason.
In this gym there are competitors and amateurs, boys and girls together…
Yes, here there are no distinctions, the only one is that the professionals have some specific trainings at certain times. The beauty of this situation is however the social aspect, being together even outside the gym. Then you see a bit of the world, from the free-lancer to the student, from those who come from Florence to those who come from Perugia, from adolescents to adults who are sixty years old and still having a good time.