SI Vault
August 17, 1998
Mike Ditka reinvents himself more often than Madonna.—MICHAEL RANOS, Annawan, Ill,
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August 17, 1998


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Mike Ditka reinvents himself more often than Madonna.
—MICHAEL RANOS, Annawan, Ill,

World Cup
It was quite a feat for Grant Wahl to correctly predict 13 of the 16 teams to qualify for the second round of the World Cup and then identify the eventual winner (Vive la France! June 15)-Grant, if you E-mail me your six numbers for the next Colorado lottery, we'll split the winnings.
ROCCO MECONI, Canon City, Colo.

Ian Thomsen scored with his excellent article on the U.S. national soccer team's debacle in France (Go-o-o Home, June 29). It saddens me that, even at the highest level, a coach like Steve Sampson can destroy a cohesive unit.
MARC SIMON, New York City

Rick Reilly is right (THE LIFE OF REILLY, July 13). My friends argue that when a soccer player gets fouled and simulates an epileptic seizure, it's somehow part of the game. I think it's an embarrassment to sports.
B.J. SPERANZA, Riverside, R.I.

Reilly was wrong when he wrote that Americans suck at soccer. He must never have seen the U.S. women play. No rioting, no smoking, no one getting killed for an own-goal, and the players are all better looking than Alexi Lalas.
CHRIS BUSSE, Ashford, Conn.

The cover of Saints coach Mike Ditka was not only a slap in the face to those who love the world's most popular sport, but it also demonstrated the lack of support that soccer receives in the U.S. Perhaps this is part of the reason that the U.S. had such a poor showing in France.

As a French and U.S. citizen I congratulate Grant Wahl for his fine piece on the World Cup final (Coup de Grace, July 20). It was by far the best I have seen. I do have one complaint, however: Ditka on the cover instead of the victors in a true world championship that occurs only once every four years?
PIERRE A. ROVANI, Washington, D.C.

Mike Ditka
My three children are crazy about Mike Ditka (Da Saint, July 20). He represents much of what my boys love about football. However, their only uncle has lung cancer and a heart condition, and three of their four grandparents died of cancer or heart ailments directly related to smoking. Shame on you for the cover photo of Mike Ditka with a cigar! Give my kids an image of a role model that is healthy and shows respect for life.

Kudos to Iron Mike for kicking his f-word habit. Ditka put it best by saying, "You don't have to talk like that to be a leader. And you don't have to talk like that to win."
DENNIS G. DUBE, Auburn, Ala.

If Mike Ditka understood New Orleans, he would know that New Orleanians rarely visit Bourbon Street. It's for tourists—you know, like people from Chicago.
LARRY JOHNSON, Moselle, Miss.

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