You could tell when Leslie Furman got on the phone she wasn’t quite sure what to make of the phone call from FLSportsFan.com. Who had her cell phone number? And why were they calling?
But then the news hit her: She had won the BCS Championship Game ticket giveaway that the website has been promoting since October. And that’s when the emotions started to come out.
Fighting back the tears, Furman explained how she entered the contest as a way to try to get tickets because she wanted to take her elderly father to the game. Her father, Jack Furman, is a University of Florida alumnus and a huge Gators fan who can be seen every day sporting some sort of Gators t-shirt. But he’s also been struggling with his health in recent years.
Moments after watching the Gators beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Furman started looking around online for tickets. That’s when she realized how expensive it would be to honor her 77-year-old father. The Pembroke Pines resident just started a juiceblendz franchise this past May and she said she knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of money available for Christmas gifts. So she started looking for other ways to get tickets to the Jan. 8 clash between the Gators and Oklahoma.
She entered the FLSportsFan.com contest hoping that somehow this would be the answer.
And it was. On Monday morning, her name was the one pulled out of a Gators helmet.
“My heart is going a mile a minute,” said Furman shortly after hearing the news she had won two tickets on the 50-yard-line. “When they let me know, I was in tears.”
Furman called the two tickets a “Christmas dream gift” for her father.
“To be able to take him is a dream come true,” she said. “I have chills.”
Of course there’s a even sweeter bit of irony here: Leslie Furman didn’t go to UF like her dad. She went to Ole Miss, the team that nearly derailed the Gators season when the Rebels knocked off the Gators by one point. The loss to Ole Miss, however, was where Tim Tebow made his declaration that no one would fight as hard as he could to win the Gators remaining games. After that game the Gators never looked back and are one step away from another national title.
Furman said she plans to “proudly wear” a SEC Championship shirt to the game that lists every win by the Gators – and its lone loss to her Alma mater.
And of course she will be rooting loudly for the Gators. Right next to her dad.