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Rules to Live By -- Utilizing Car Magnets, Car Flags, and Other Accessories

Mike Ehrmann

As we pointed out several seasons ago, 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 largely a repeat from years past but is necessary as people still misuse car flags, car magnets, and other such accessories and really need to tone it down a bit / follow the rules to avoid looking like a complete clown. 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. Also keep in mind that typically the fan who breaks these rules (particularly the one that frowns upon rocking your team flag non-stop no matter the day or destination) is typically the uninformed yahoo who has no clue who the coaches/players are and what schemes are implemented. Further, these individuals have likely just jumped on the bandwagon. Every school has these people and they bring down the overall opinion of a school's fanbase.

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 previously 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 and excited about your team but there is something wrong with using temporary items in a permanent fashion on America's highways. Here are the rules:

  1. Flags and magnets are temporary items. After appropriate use, these items shall be removed from the vehicle and appropriately stored.
  2. Flags and magnets shall be displayed only when the fan is going to or returning from his/her team’s contest.
  3. 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.
  4. I deem wind socks unacceptable for use at any point, no matter the vehicle. I've encountered several counterpoints and unique situations for their use...I still discourage the decision to fly a wind sock over the far superior choice--the flag.
  5. Don't get cute with your choice of a flag.

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. A game day temporary tattoo is acceptable on game day but not for everyday use. This principle applies for the flags and magnets as well.

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.

I do not encourage the following option, but it seems to be acceptable if you are hellbent on flying a flag on your car year-round. Modify your sled to have it equipped with a permanent flag pole. The flag must be permanently attached to your rig--I suggest welding that bad boy to the hood but you could also use a readily available flanged pole with a permanent bolt on accessory to your car. Just remember--if you want to treat your car flag as a permanent accessory you'll need to sack up, permanently modify the automobile, and fly a permanent flag from this flag pole. Again, I am not advocating this solution but know that some folks out there will be looking for a loophole that allows them to rock the flag all the time...there you go.

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. Again, I'll entertain a counter argument but likely would not approve exceptions nor smile upon the use of this type of temporary accessory.

Rule 5 avoids ridiculousness / tacky choice of flag style while creating unity amongst a fan base. There are quite a few choices in terms of flag styles that are available for purchase. Ignore all options except the traditional look. For Clemson fans, this means you purchase an orange car flag with a white paw tilted to the 1 o'clock position. This (A) is a great look and (B) assures fanbase unity in the flag department. There is no need to even consider a purple flag or any other flag that pimps more action than the simple Tiger Paw. Fans of schools other than Clemson should implement this as well. Embrace a flag that features your primary color and displays only the definitive logo of your school--if you are unaware of what this logo should be, look at your school's football helmet and go with that item. Also, if you cannot figure out what the logo should be, you probably should not be flying the flag of said team in the first place.

The final item I'd like to address is the use of non-car flags that are often permanently implemented at one's home or temporarily used while tailgating. I have no problem with either of these and encourage folks who are not breaking a subdivision covenant to get out your post-hole diggers, buy a couple bags of Quickrete, and permanently install a flagpole at home. Likewise, erecting a temporary pole at your tailgate spot is encouraged as well. Just remember temporary means temporary...temporary items shall not be used in place of a permanent item at one's home, for example. Also, like choosing a flag style for your car, I encourage you to stick with the traditional team logo. Keep it simple as that look is always the sharpest. Do not, however, utilize these items outside of your local domain (permanent) or tailgate spot (temporary). I have to bring this up because some yahoo decided it would be a great idea to fly his team flag in the parking lot at work utilizing a temporary flag pole. It is bad enough to act like a yahoo with small car flags but constructing this foolishness in a work parking lot is borderline idiocy. While this was on a Monday or Tuesday following a football win--which is obviously a major violation--the fact that this was not said person's tailgate spot (in addition to many other obvious items) makes this unacceptable. This tailgate requirement thus clearly restricts folks from this type of behavior no matter the day.

All this being said, I look forward to better compliance of these rules this season. As always, if you see someone out there violating these items, send them over to STS so we can enlighten them on how to and how not to support your team via accessory items.