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Mike Ditka

After interviewing her friends the Ditkas, Jeannie Morris said this (as reported in Ditka: Monster of the Midway):

The Ditka marriage [to Marge], like many others of that time, was dysfunctional from the start. I don’t think it was ever any good. Mike and Marge, I mean, you can put it in a nutshell. Mike and Marge never got along...You know, I think the deal was that when they got married, they got married with the idea of being married forever. I mean, there was nobody else he wanted to marry and he thought he was supposed to get married. Both are very strong willed and they’re very much alike, and Marge tried to go by the rules for a long, long time...The rules being he’s the boss and we do everything his way, and if he doesn’t feel like being here for whatever period of time he doesn’t have to be.

Megan Ditka, his daughter, is twenty-nine now and reported to the author of Ditka: Monster of the Midway:

I have very few recollections of my father. My mom basically raised us by herself. I love my mom a lot. She’s a real brave woman. I couldn’t ask for anybody better. My dad was never really around a lot. And even when he was, he wasn’t. We were always pretty much afraid of my dad. My dad is just like his dad. You didn’t have conversations with him. He’s a little intimidating when you’re a kid...I don’t think he knows how to love.”

I don’t know the private Mike Ditka. But it’s clear that his drive to succeed, his focus, and his strong emotions impacted his family and cost him dearly.

Guard Your Heart, p. 164.