Ok, this one struck a cord today.
Now, I'm not taking sides. The post and comments raise a point. Who gives a shit? I mean really, when you look back on a lifetime it won't be about what brand rod or reel, it's about who you spent time with. I'm lucky to look back on 20 years of fishing and I don't recall much to what gear is used, but damn those memories of who I fished with and how we shaped eachothers lives is so much more important. I see this cock fighting all the time with younger anglers and don't really say anything. It's gear, it gets the job done. Cool if they help support our causes, but it's about time on the water and who you are with.
A guy once asked me what cane rod to buy so he had something cool to pass to his son when gone. He had a few grand so we talked about Young's, Garrison and the usual suspects. I asked him what the goal was in this purchase. He said to give his son something he would cherish for a lifetime. I explained to him how I fish with my dad and grandfather. How my dad gave me the cane rod he learned to fish on. I relayed a story of how I was ready to save it from my burning apartment when my damn hippy roommate nearly burnt the building to the ground. I explained how cool I thought it would be if he took a class and built a good rod that he could pass to his son. No Paul Young would ever match the personal value of that rod. It's the relationship and bond. Some gear is super cool and unique that we get to carry it forward, but we keep this little piece of hardware around to remind of these people and our time with them. Not who's name on it. It's good that we have companies that enable our sport, but it's way more important to have friends and peers that enable our passion.