"It's the process, the journey, that's important. It's learning about yourself, and who you are. What kind of person you want to be."
Register for Justice Page's Oct. 21 appearance in the LearningLife Forum.
Yes, it's the title of a quirky song from the 1950s. But in Minnesota, the phrase "Purple People Eater" is more than that. For many Minnesotans, it is said with something akin to reverence...not because of the song, but because of the famed--and feared--Minnesota Vikings defensive line of the 1960s and 70s.
Nicknamed "The Purple People Eaters," with a motto of "meet at the quarterback," the quartet of Alan Page, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall helped the team win numerous division championships and make four Super Bowl appearances. They are widely heralded as one of the greatest defensive lines in NFL history.
At a playing weight of 245 pounds, defensive tackle Page was one of the "smallest" of the Purple People Eaters--but his accomplishments left a big mark on the game. Six-time All-Pro selection. Nine consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Eleven All-Conference awards. And the first defensive player ever named NFL MVP (and still only one of two).
The statistics Page racked up, and the accolades he's earned (including a 1988 induction into the Hall of Fame) are impressive, even for a non-football fan. That he went to law school full-time while playing in the NFL, graduating with his J.D. in 1978, and that he is now a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court makes it even more so.
Unless, of course, you're Alan Page. Then, well...it's just doing what you set out to do.