I have been an avid fan of Mike Ditka and to those in the know, he has been known as "Da Coach" for many years. At the beginning of the month I was invited to a Visit Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau event at Mile Ditka's Restaurant in Chicago. It was a fun event and the guest of honor was none other than Mike Ditka himself. Unfortunately, “Da Coach” was delayed in getting to the event since he had spent several hours in a dentist chair undergoing dental surgery. Nevertheless, despite the pain that he was in, he still made it to the event to be with all of us. He apologized to no end for being tardy and spent considerable amount of time with all of us guests, taking pictures, sharing in some footballs stories and just being his good natured self.
I had the pleasure of winning from a drawing of business cards an NFL football, which he autographed "Mike Ditka, Hall of Famer". It is now proudly on display in my office along with the picture of the two of us and the autographed football.
Without question, he is an icon to me; spreading his good nature and career football knowledge to us weekly during the NFL football season as a TV sports commentator; successful businessman with outstanding restaurants and wines; motivational speaker; and philanthropist. He truly is a class act and I was thrilled to have spent the evening with him.