Mike Ditka said something once that is quoted often around Chicago:
"Living in the past is for losers and cowards."
I agree. I'm not sure what context Ditka said it in, but I assume it had something to do with football, and probably the 1985 Chicago Bears, who went 18-1 and were Super Bowl champions. In all my time as a Chicago sports fan (and as someone who feels rather in tune with sports in general in this country), I've never seen a city go as nuts over a winner as Chicago did for that Bears team.
As we approach 20 years since that team's dream season, there are still plenty of fans in the city who pine for that team every time something goes wrong with the Bears. And believe me, there's plenty that has gone wrong with that team since then. There's a significant amount of die hard Bears fans that worship at the throne of 1985 way too much. A big part of worship is towards the coach of that team, Mike Ditka. He's revered. He wasn't a bad coach, but he certainly wasn't as great as he is made out to be. His ego was huge, as big as any player's, and despite having a deep and talented team for much of the remainder of his tenure in Chicago, the Bears never made it back to the Super Bowl again.
The media here fed the hype of course. I stopped following the Bears religiously in the late 80's, when the ten o'clock news would make their pre-season games their lead story. I just had my fill of it. I guess I would prefer that they do well, but I already know what it fills like to have been a fan and see them win it all, you know, so it doesn't matter to me much anymore.
There is a ridiculous movement afoot to have Ditka placed on the ticket as the GOP candidate for Senate in Illinois to replace Jack "I swear there's nothing embarrassing in there" Ryan. Ditka at first downplayed it, but he's reportedly warming to the idea.
Seems like I say this a lot lately, but you've got to be kidding me.
It makes no difference to me that Ditka is a Republican. He's not qualified to run for the Senate under any party. If he were running as a democrat, I wouldn't vote for him. No way. He has to know that if he is being taken seriously as a candidate, it is solely based upon his legacy as the only man to coach the beloved Bears to a Super Bowl championship. Besides, he has a well documented history of gambling, which seems to be taboo in politics these days (thank you, William Bennet). I don't agree with the right of the media to filet every portion of a candidate's personal life, but what is the GOP thinking? Surely there's stuff in Ditka's past that would make Ryan look like an altar boy.
If Ditka does run, he is violating his own rule and living in the past. Which makes him a loser.
Let's only hope the people of Illinois don't join him in that category be electing him.
UPDATE (7/14 10 PM): Ditka announced tonight that he is not going to run. Watching him as he made his announcement, I am convinced he never seriously considered it. He just liked all the attention he was getting.