Sports Dad Struggling to Choose Who Will Receive His Misplaced Aggression


BANGOR, WIS — With high school sporting events cancelled across the state of Wisconsin, area dads are now begging the question: Who am I supposed to rage-scream at over inconsequential things now?

For years, Bangor father of three Carter Mullenstein was able to get catharsis through the same means most other fathers of student athletes did.

“I would go to a high school game, usually basketball or baseball, and once the volunteer referee made a call I didn’t like, I would just go ballistic and scream in their face,” Mullenstein said. “But now… I still have all that anger and nowhere to put it.”

Like many other dads in Wisconsin, he is now faced with a choice: What underpaid person just doing their job should I scream at once a week? Mullenstein says he remains undecided.

“At first I was going to go and yell at a retail store worker who asked me to wear a mask, but that just seemed too popular right now,” he said. “Plus, my thing is refs, right? So, I think I’d rather find someone who is donating their time for free on top of them just doing their best.”

For now, Mullenstein says he tries to argue with as many people over social media as possible to keep his demons at bay, but admitted that the online bickering was only a finite and short term fix.

“I need that person-to-person contact for it to work,” he said. “You really need to be looking into someone’s eyes rolling back into their heads as you scream about traveling in a 9th grade exhibition game… that’s how you get real relief as a sports dad.”

Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.