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Politicians in Washington D.C. pay lip service to wanting "transparency." The problem is, they often don't follow through, and the American public constantly feels lied to and snookered.
Just think about how many problems in your own life, problems at work or at school or in your social circles, could be avoided, or at least minimized, if transparency ruled the day.
Ultimately, people just want to be informed, and feel like they're in the loop, even if they don't necessarily agree with the information they attain.
That's kind of the idea Wauconda football coach Dave Mills was going for when he began a weekly, open-door parents information night nearly five years ago.
"You can ask (Mills) anything," said Ray Magiera, the father of Wauconda senior lineman Nate Magiera. "It used to be that the parents were afraid to approach the coaches. Now, it's a lot different. He makes himself available to the parents. People appreciate the transparency."
The meetings, which run from Week 1 all the way through the end of the season, invite parents in the program to spend about an hour with Mills while he answers questions, reviews game film of previous and upcoming games, breaks down important plays and even explains the thought process behind some of his play calls.
The meetings, which usually draw 15 to 20 parents each week, take place in Mills' classroom.
This week, Mills went over the game plan for Thursday's tilt against North Suburban Prairie Division rival Vernon Hills. He showed the parents film on the Cougars.
"Over the past summers, I've taken my son to a lot of one-day camps and you meet parents from other areas. We've met parents from Wisconsin, Minnesota, downstate Illinois and you start talking to them and I've brought up this whole thing with our meetings," Ray Magiera said. "The parents look at you and say, 'You mean your coach is willing to do that?' It's an eye-opener for other people. It's something unique we do here at Wauconda."
Indeed it appears to be. Mills is the only high school football coach I know of in this area to open his door, his playbook and his film archives on a regular basis to his parents.
"The No. 1 thing we're trying to do here at Wauconda is make our program a community program," Mills said. "The parents are part of our community and they are entrusting me with their kids. The least they can get from me is information on what we're trying to do.
"It builds up pride and trust to have that kind of openness."
Mills is also willing to open himself up to direct questioning and criticism. Since he has made it clear that no topic is off limits, except for individual playing time (which Mills will gladly address in a private conversation), a few of the weekly meetings have gotten a little heated.
"It hasn't happened often but I've had parents who come in here and are real ornery and who hate everything we're doing and question everything we do, like 'Why did you do this, why did you do that,'" Mills said. "But that's OK. I just say that you may disagree with me, but this is why we do what we do.
"I think it mostly ends up helping because the whole thing is to get everyone on the same page. When that happens, and when people at least get an explanation and get the chance to be heard, you don't really get a lot of poison up in the stands and you don't really have the kids getting mixed messages at home."
Tracie Schwickrath, the mother of Wauconda senior wide receiver Alex Schwickrath, says that it's hard not to like Mills once you've gotten to know him and joke around with him at the meetings. She appreciates the fact that, unlike many football parents at other schools, she's gotten the chance to really get to know her son's head coach.
"Those meetings allow us to have more of a personal relationship with him," Schwickrath said of Mills. "It's easy to get mad at a person you don't ever talk to, someone you feel like you're not allowed to have a conversation with. You can just think, 'Oh, that guy is a jerk.' But when you can have a personal relationship, you're more likely to feel good about that person and give him the benefit of the doubt."
Schwickrath isn't the only mom who attends and enjoys the meetings. But it's the dads who really seem to soak them up.
"This is such a great way for the dads to get involved," Schwickrath said. "A lot of the stuff for football that happens with the parents is the moms making homecoming corsages, or the moms making team meals or things like that.
"A lot of moms do come to the meetings, but this feels like it's really something good for the dads. A lot of them have been coaching youth football for years. They have a lot of opinions, they're all excited. This is their opportunity to get in there and talk to Coach Mills about football stuff, like plays and what's going on out there."
For Wauconda, mostly positive things have been happening on the football field this season. The Bulldogs, looking for their first back-to-back playoff seasons in more than two decades, are 3-0 after beating Vernon Hills 18-7 on Thursday.
"No matter what's happening with us (on the field), we (the coaches) are always looking to improve things and one of the interesting things to come out of these parent meetings is that sometimes we get some really good ideas or different perspectives from the parents," Mills said.
One idea that came from a parent during a previous season involved Wauconda, which was heavy on tall receivers at the time, doing more to showcase its height against a team that was very short in the secondary.
"We had our big, tall receivers in for that game (against the short secondary) the next week," Mills said with a laugh. "Sometimes when a parent brings something up, I'll go back to the other coaches and say, 'Are we missing something?' And sometimes, we are.
"Some really good ideas come out of those meetings."
A lot of good, in general, comes out of those meetings, which is why Mills continues to build time for them into his schedule during his busiest days of the year.
"These meetings benefit our players and the entire atmosphere of Wauconda football and Wauconda athletics," Mills said. "Anything we can do to make the experience a good one for our kids, we're going to do it."
• Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw