As promised last football season, we're here to help and educate so that you don't look like a complete yahoo while cruising around in your ride. This article is inspired by the blatant misuse of team gear and comes just in time for the 2011 football season. I screwed up and posted this near the end of last season but have learned from my errs and now publish this public service announcement here in August. If you know someone (family member, co-worker, random in a parking lot, etc...) who violates the items below, point them to STS so we can straighten them out.
How many times have you pulled into the parking lot at work only to see car flags and magnets all over one of your coworker’s sleds? How many times have you been cruising down the road only to look over in the other lane and see a car with four team flags flying and eight magnets glaring on each vehicle side, on a freaking Wednesday? Obviously there is a problem here, and fortunately I will be able to explain the these unwritten/unspoken but widely accepted rules for donning team gear on your whip.
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with being a fan but there is something wrong with using temporary items in a permanent fashion on America's highways. Here are the rules:
- Flags and magnets are temporary items. After appropriate use, these items shall be removed from the vehicle and appropriately stored.
- Flags and magnets shall be displayed only when the fan is going to or returning from his/her team’s contest.
- Don’t overdue it. You should fly a maximum of two (2) flags per vehicle (one per vehicle side-driver side and passenger side). You should display a maximum of two (2) magnets per vehicle. These magnets shall be limited to one per side of the vehicle (driver or passenger side) or the rear of the vehicle.
- Wind socks, under no circumstances, are acceptable for use at any point, no matter the vehicle.
Here is a brief explanation of the rules and why these rules are in place.
Rule 1 should be pretty self explanatory. Flags and magnets are designed to be placed on a vehicle, used, then removed from the vehicle until the next use. Please utilize these items as they were designed. If you want something permanent, I suggest a sticker (yes, these can be removed BUT they were designed to be a permanent accessory) or better yet, break out the paint (Dukes of Hazard style) and make it permanent. I view these items in the same fashion that I view tattoos. You don’t see people slapping on a temporary tattoo every morning before leaving for work. If someone is serious about skin art, he/she will get permanently inked. In the same fashion that a game day temporary tattoo is acceptable on game day but not for everyday use neither are car flags and magnets.
If you want a permanent flag flying, erect a flag pole at your house and equip it with the flag(s) of your choice. There are rules here, but I will assume that everyone knows the proper way to fly flags from a permanent location so I will not delve into this subject other than say that the American flag goes to the top of the pole, followed by the state flag (if applicable) then the flag of your choice.
Rule 1 overviews functionality. Rule 2 puts a time frame on use. Flag use is appropriate only when heading to or from the contest. The lone exception to this rule is when/if a trip to/from a game spans more than one day. This means that you can fly your flags and/or display the magnets when your trip officially begins and need to remove them when the trip is over. For example, if Clemson plays a game in Miami on a Saturday and you plan a trip to attend the game that begins Thursday after work, you may put flags/magnets on your vehicle Thursday after work and may fly them for the entirety of your trip. I discourage use of such items for time periods greater than five (5) consecutive days.
Flying your flag while carting your kids around town is not acceptable and neither is opportunely "forgetting to remove the flags/magnets" and sporting them in the church parking lot on Sunday or driving with them on Monday. Again, these are items that were designed to be temporary and have no business on a vehicle on a Tuesday. They also have no business being on a vehicle if the driver is not traveling to/from the game. In the case of a magnet, leaving the item on your car could potentially portray a lie. For instance, if you have a magnet that reads "On My Way to See the Tigers Play" and it is on your car on a Wednesday, the magnet lies as you are clearly at work and not going to watch a fictitious mid-week football game.
By definition, the misuse of this magnet makes the driver of said vehicle a liar because he/she is not on his/her way to see the Tigers play but is indeed headed to Food Lion to fetch a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.
Rule 3 looks at quantity and density of paraphernalia. Flying more than two flags does not make you more of a fan, it just means that you spent way too much on merchandise. In order to eliminate clutter, no more than one flag shall be flown from either side (driver’s or passenger’s) of a vehicle. The same rule applies to magnets with the lone difference being that a magnet is acceptable on the back of your vehicle.
Rule 4 should be pure common sense. Whoever came up with the idea of a wind sock for recreational use has a critical character flaw. If you chose to attach an item to your window, man up and get a flag.