How Important Is It to be Core?

aj poll core

“You’re not hardcore…unless you live hardcore.” – Tenacious D

A few years ago, Patagonia had a campaign, or tag line, or slogan, called “committed to the core.” As a positioning statement, it seemed brilliant, with multiple meanings and connotations, all of which suggested values that we in the outdoor culture hold high: “committed” and “core.”

At the root of the adventure experience is the willingness to accept discomfort and suffering – if we wanted soft and easy, we’d never leave the bed – in exchange for myriad payoffs, and the more discomfort in the pursuit of summits or personal records or Leadville belt buckles, the more committed and core we think we, or others, are.

This is a generally a good thing. “Dang, that dude’s core,” we say with an undercurrent of admiration as some guy gets after it, and we often use this to drive ourselves, to stay out a little longer when it’s getting nasty, to push ourselves through the doubts and pain, to break through to another level. “Core” can be a motivator, an emblem of pride, a comfort when there’s little physical comfort to be had.

Of course, core can also be a wedge, a divider. For many people, and perhaps for the outdoor industry as a whole, feeling core can come with a sense of superiority over those perceived as a less core. In celebrating more core, we diminish less core.

I’m very curious to see what you guys have to say about the subject. I’ve found some people for whom core is almost a religion, while others view it as silly and superficially macho. Regardless, and like it or not, core exists within this space – as a kind of background radiation for some or a law of physics, like gravity, for others.

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This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Serpico sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, April 12, at midnight PST.

Congratulations to John Quinn, who wins the Smiths this week!

Photo by Garrett Grove




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