The Day Mike O’Brian Met Chicago Bears’ Dick Butkus
It doesn’t happen often, but when you meet your heroes, it’s special. And the day I met Dick Butkus was just that. Doing what I do and having done it for a very long time, as a part of The Mike & Carla Morning Show, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of celebrities, rockers and, yes, even a President and Vice President.
But for some reason, your sports idols are a little different, unique. They are athletes that you grow up trying to emulate playing with your friends on the field, on the ice. That’s what it was like for me growing up.
I come from a relatively small northwest town in Indiana, just outside of Chicago. Grew up being a huge fan of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and even the White Sox! Yes, the White Sox…NOT the Cubs! In all those years, I can say that I have met Michael Jordan, various players from the White Sox and even the late great Bobby Hull from the Blackhawks and more. Each meeting turning into a very special memory.
Meeting Dick Butkus Was A Great Day In My Life!
But it was the day that I met Dick Butkus that I remember like it was yesterday. Living in the town of Highland, Indiana, we had a store called Van’s Appliances. Not sure how, but early in his career, the owners of the store cut a deal for Butkus to come out to our little town, to that store to sign autographs. I was about 12 or 13 and we all lined up awaiting out chance to meet this soon to be legendary man.
He was only going to be there for a few hours, so it was important to be at the store early. I got there and waited patiently. Long story short, a car pulled up and the biggest guy I had ever seen got out. There he was…DICK BUTKUS! He walked into the store and I remember him to be bigger than the refrigerators that lined the aisle he walked down. Now keep in mind, I was a little kid physically, so to me he was enormous!
And all he said was, “thanks kid!”
I just remember thinking, “…that’s him, that’s Dick Butkus…WOW!” As the line started to move, I finally got up to the table, had my plastic Chicago Bear football helmet for him to sign. They also gave each of us a picture he would sign.
Extending my helmet and picture, I shook his hand and said, “…it’s nice to meet you Mr. Butkus, I am a big fan!” With that said, he looked up and said, “thanks kid” and that was it! Not sure what I expected in return, but seriously, all I get is a “thanks kid”. Hey, it was good enough for me and the fact that I got to meet him and shake his hand was okay.
Enough so that I still remember that moment. So when I heard of his passing, I had time to reflect and recall that memory that I still have. And seeing him play every Sunday afternoon whether it was on tv or lucky enough to see him play in person, he was the greatest! And you know what Dick Butkus, THANK YOU!