Posted: 8:00 a.m. Thursday, June 6, 2013
By Will Shelton
Car flags are awesome and everyone should have one, period. Except me. I can't fly one because I'm superstitious about such things and had a traumatic experience that may or may not have cost us the 1999 Florida game - more on that in a second - but you should definitely fly one. Or two. Or just put one on all the windows of your car to show I-40 and I-75 what's what.
Anybody can put a bumper sticker on their car. The front license plate thing? That's for amateurs. A car flag is majestic. In fact, I'd argue it's the most majesty one can possibly acquire from a $7.99 purchase. I mean, it flaps in the wind!
It comes in orange. It comes in white. It comes in black. If you're for real, it comes in checkerboard.
It also comes in camo, and odds are if you're reading this blog it wouldn't be the first camo purchase of your household or the household of someone you know.
It also makes that sound that tells you when it's probably not attached correctly, which may or may not cause it to go flying off when you exit an hour of standstill traffic south of Atlanta and your roommate floors his Camaro from zero to 90 in 2.3 seconds. When your car flag goes flying into the air over I-75, it will not cross the state line into Florida, and it will not carry your unbeaten-in-ten-previous-road-games-and-two-SEC-Championships-and-a-BCS-title-we-can't-lose! streak into The Swamp. So when Alex Brown sacks your quarterback five times, you will not blame the snap count, you will blame the missing car flag. Then when you decide to go to Tuscaloosa without it and your defense destroys Shaun Alexander's Heisman campaign, you just don't know what to make of life anymore and decide maybe you should just stay away from car flags, because if you don't fly one it can't fly off.
But not you. You fly yours. With passion.
You can always tell how good we are by how many car flags are flying on various interstates leading to Knoxville to and from home games. Because in the lean years such as these, some of us just don't want to be recognized and others stop flying theirs by mid-October. But when we're winning, they not only fly proudly over all roads leading to Knoxville, but they fly best on the victorious trip home, and allow the celebratory honking to commence. I may not see a bumper sticker or a license plate at night. But I can spot that seven dollars and ninety-nine cents from hundreds of yards away.
I long for a day when flags fly freely once more. For a time when Tennessee fans can announce their presence, both home and abroad, with an orange ripple in the wind. I let the team down once and can now only sing their praises from afar. But if you want to let people know you're more than a Level 1 Tennessee fan, crack that window and let your T flag fly.