By Dani Wexelman
Matt Stoltz, 22, has it all mapped out–bike to all 30 Major League Stadiums throughout the 2015 season, while raising awareness and funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee.
He has joined up with Biking for Baseball, a non-profit based out of Denver, Colorado, to tackle over 11,000 miles on his cross-country trek.
After starting in California back in April, the Wisconsin native is nearing the end of his journey. Much like the game of baseball, Stoltz explained the path has been painted with curves, but it’s nothing he can’t handle.
From snowstorms in Colorado to stifling heat in the Midwest to 10-hour, 100+ mile days through the Southwest, Stoltz remains focused on enhancing the lives of the kids back in Milwaukee.
“I kind of think on those tough days, yeah, this is tough but this will last a day or two. These kids, it’s their life,” Stoltz said. “These kids have had plenty of people in their lives give up on them, sweep them under the wayside and that’s what fuels me. I’m not going to be the one to give up on them. They’ve had enough of that, so I’m going to keep pedaling.”
Pedaling more than 11,000 miles for kids like 14-year-old Antonio, who, after spending two years in Big Brothers Big Sisters, sees the importance of Stoltz’s journey.
“It makes me feel, not that I don’t feel important, but that I matter in somebody else’s life, and they’re willing to help me and other kids out, so that makes me feel good,” Antonio explained.
It’s not just children back in Milwaukee who benefit from Stoltz’s ride. Biking for Baseball hosts youth clinics across the country.
“That’s the most fun I have on the trip honestly,” Stoltz said. “Some of them have never touched a baseball bat in their life and then by the end of the day, they’re smacking balls into right field and sprinting around the bases. It’s one of those things that really kind of drives you.”
As of July 31st, Stoltz has raised $20,140 towards Biking for Baseball but as he puts it, “you can’t put a price tag on a life.”
In 2014, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee served more than 1,300 at-risk youth, their families, and volunteer mentors, enhancing 4,000 lives in the Metro Milwaukee area.
“It’s literally changing the life of a kid and that makes it seem all worth it,” Stoltz said.
To donate or learn more about Biking for Baseball, visit https://www.bikingforbaseball.org/.