ALAMEDA -- When Stanley Schiffman read that the Don Grant Alameda Point Youth Track and Field Club needed financial support, the Alameda resident and longtime track and field aficionado wanted to help.
He also wanted to give his wife, Miriam, a birthday gift.
Ultimately, Stanley Schiffman's gift to his wife will go to the track club in the form of a $4,000 donation.
The Schiffmans' donation allows the club to start the season on an even footing, as club founder and head coach Ralph Walker hoped to rent the College of Alameda track for the entire season at $3,000 but still had a $1,000 debt from last season.
"I was going to give $1,000, but my wife said (the club) needed $4,000," Stanley Schiffman said. "She took that as a birthday gift."
For this year, Miriam Schiffman's birthday gift surely won't lie around gathering dust.
"I do enjoy watching track and field -- my husband is the real fan, but I've grown to appreciate it," she said. "But the real appeal is to be able to contribute to a program we know is of value to young people."
Stanley Schiffman grew up with a great appreciation for track and field ("We're track fans -- we never participated, but we watch it assiduously," he said), and recalled the sport's heyday of earlier times.
"When I was growing up, West Coast Track was big," Schiffman said. "I would like to see it come back again."
Moreover, the Schiffmans value youth sports programs.
"(We believe) $4,000 is a manageable amount of money," Stanley Schiffman said. "We think (the club) is a good thing."
Neither Stanley nor Miriam Schiffman is a coach. But they see themselves as more than just club benefactors.
"We like to participate in some manner in the things we support," Stanley Schiffman said. "We will get involved." Walker, for his part, hopes to expand the club's appeal. Currently, the club serves athletes ages 3 to 14 at no charge, but Walker strongly considers opening membership to older runners as well.
He also recognizes that more Alamedans are into training and distance running than they are into sprints.
"I have a distance coach helping me out this year," Walker said.
For sure, Stanley and Miriam Schiffman's gift provides the Don Grant Alameda Point Youth Track and Field Club with a good start to the upcoming season, which Walker hopes to launch with the first practice on Nov. 10.
Still, much remains to do.
"There will be more expenses for things like uniforms and travel," Stanley Schiffman said. "We encourage more people to come out and participate."
For those wishing to join and/or help: The Don Grant Alameda Point Youth Track and Field Club practices at College of Alameda, except in winter and early spring when it holds its practices at the Alameda Point Gym.
Though the club is not an ARPD program, the department does support the club's mission and acts as its fiscal sponsor. (It does not charge the club for gym use.)
Those wishing to donate to the club should send their contributions to the Don Grant Alameda Point Youth Track and Field Club, c/o Alameda Recreation and Park Department, 2226 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA 94501.
For questions about the club, contact head coach Ralph Walker at 510-776-7451 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.