Category Archives: Florida Gators

Knights Prevail: Gators Cursed in the Amway Yet Again

Congratulations to the home team, the UCF Knights Men’s Basketball Team took on (and overcame) the #16 ranked Florida Gators tonight.  While we’re huge Gator fans, even we can recognize a great effort when we see one.  Over 13,000 fans cheered as UCF led Florida in a 57-54 victory.

Michael Jordan's son Marcus is a leader for the Golden Knights.

The two teams met in the Florida Citrus Sports Shoot Out and had the honor of playing the first collegiate game in the new Amway Center. This is actually a second for the Gators. Back in 1988, they also had the honor of playing in the first collegiate game in the old Amway Arena.  Top 5 editor Bess Auer was a cheerleader at that game and remembers it well.  “We lost to Stanford,” she sighed. “I guess the Gators and Amway just don’t go well together.”

Perhaps not, but the Golden Knights sure do…congrats!

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Filed under Amway Arena, Citrus Bowl, Florida Gators, Sports, UCF

Gators vs. Seminoles: GAME DAY!

Okay, for those of you not paying attention, the Top 5 is firmly in the University of Florida camp… BIG TIME!  And, although we’re having a miserable football season, we still proudly rise to the in-state rivalry of Florida vs. Florida State.

So, we’re going with the Gators today… at least until half-time when we’ll re-evaluate the score! Ha!

And, Rivalry Weekend extends to round ball as well, with the Gators and Seminoles meeting up tomorrow at 7:30 pm on FSN/Sun Sports.  And, while we searched for a decent video featuring both teams, we just couldn’t find one, so you’re stuck with a totally awesome Gator Basketball video.  You Seminoles are welcome to either grin and bear it or post a link to your own in the comments below. 🙂


Filed under Florida Gators, Fun, Sports, Uniquely Florida

Central Florida Swimmers Are Awesome!

Occasionally the Top 5 blogs about “residents done good” and this would definitely fall under that category:  Two Central Florida swimmers have signed letters of intent with the national swim powerhouse University of Florida. Blue Dolfin swimmer Matthew Curby and Highlander Aquatics swimmer Harrison Curley have indicated their commitment to the Gators. Both nationally-ranked swimmers were also high school state champions for their respective schools.

Photo of Matthew Curby from the Orlando Sentinel.

Yes, my hubby @swimmerjoe swam for the Gators as well, so this blog is a personal one for me, too! 😉

Congrats to these young men for representing the State of Florida so well by earning scholarships to one of the strongest Division I teams in the nation. Woot!

To see a complete list of Gator swim recruits, click here.

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Filed under family, Florida Gators, Just for Me, Resident done good, Sports

Bella Ella: A Fun Newish Salon!

Okay, so many Orlando residents have long known about Blanch Torres and her daughter Bianca, two fabu hairdressers in the area. But now, they’ve opened a full-service salon and day spa right on the corner of Park Avenue and Morse in Winter Park. So, the Top 5 attended a small VIP party where Bella Ella was treating the very deserving teachers of Park Maitland School.

Teachers were treated to facials, paraffin hand treatments, hair and make up makeovers, hair styling, even fashionable cuts. Bella Ella also served food and drinks, including black beans and rice provided by Latin Bistro Cuban Cafe. Yum!

It’s a beautiful place with lots of great service, so be sure to check them out if you’re on the hunt for a new salon!

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Filed under Florida Gators, winter park

Chomp, Chomp, Gator Chomp!

Florida football starts today!  And to celebrate, I am posting the latest “stuck in my head” song: “Gator Chomp!”

Now, for you Gator-haters out there, I will be happy to give equal playing time to other school videos, as long as they are positive and related to the great state of Florida. (As I said before, I’m a gracious Gator!) So feel free to post a link in the comments or send me a link to your favorite video of your school’s football team.

Let’s get ready for some football!


Filed under Florida Gators, Fun, Just for Me, Sports

So Thankful Football Season is Here! (Let’s hope happy endings are, too.)

Regular readers of the Top 5 are probably well aware that I am a huge Gator fan, being a loyal member of the Gator Nation! (Many moons ago, I stood on the sidelines of the Swamp as a Gator cheerleader, so yeah, my blood really does run orange and blue.) So, it’s right around the end of July when I start itching to see a little football, and by the end of August, I am near crazy with anticipation!

Top 5 editor Bess in her cheering days.

Now, of course, this year my time waiting has been filled by watching Tim Tebow make the leap to the NFL, and while reviews are still out, he does seem to be doing better than many critics would have credited him. (Fingers crossed, but I gotta believe he will find a way…he is Superman after all!)

Tebow Gator Chomp

And I also got a little bit of SEC hate-on by watching former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin back with USC while playing in Hawaii. (But I had to stay up past midnight to do it!)

However, for the last two years, football has been a bit closer to home as my nephew has been playing on the middle school team for Orangewood.  His season kicked off Thursday night at Master’s Academy in Oviedo, and unfortunately the Orangewood Rams got mightily smeared… let’s just say they didn’t stop the time clock for the last 5 minutes due to the “score differential.”

My nephew starting in his first game this season.

But the real story of the night was not the score, but rather an extremely terrifying event. One of Orangewood’s defensive lineman, Evan Pughe, went down during an extra point kick. The rest of the team ran off the field, but when Evan tried to get up, he couldn’t. In fact, from the sidelines, it appeared he could only move his head up and down, in desperate attempts to raise the rest of his body.

The trainers quickly made their way onto the field while the rest of us watched nervously.  We could see they stabilized his head, helmet still on, and stayed gathered around him as he lay helplessly on the field in the blazing sun.  More trainers and coaches made their way on and off the field to him, before calling both young teams to center field to speak to them quietly and then have a group prayer. Then they were sent to their respective sidelines, where both teams knelt in worrisome limbo, waiting to see what would happen next.

The trainers remained extremely professional, but we parents and fans were heartbroken as we watched his sobbing mother be brought down on the field to see her son, kneel beside him, and give what comfort she could. As a mother, I can only imagine the thoughts running through her head!  We also wondered where the ambulance was, as one was not present at the game, and it seemed like at least fifteen minutes before a rescue truck arrived and slowly made its way around the track to the area closest to where Evan was lying still.  (We never saw his legs move once during the entire time he was there!)

Evan was transferred and strapped down to a backboard before being transported to the ambulance, teammates gathering round, saying words of support and encouragement.

And while this story has a happy ending–Evan was released later with just a very sore, sprained neck–it did make me wonder why an ambulance wasn’t there the whole time. Perhaps cutbacks? (I am sure it is expensive!)  Perhaps a risk-analysis?  Perhaps some other reason I don’t even know about? Whatever the reason, perhaps it should be rethought…happy endings don’t always happen in football.

And speaking of football, thank goodness the Gators kick off tomorrow!  So my wish for this season–in addition to another national championship!–is that the thousands of football players who don a jersey this year have a safe and healthy season… especially my nephew!

Go Gators! (Or whoever you are rooting for…I’m a gracious Gator after all!)


Filed under family, Florida Gators, Just for Me, Sports

Can I get an ‘Amen!’?

Like any Gator grad, I am faithful to all our athletes…especially those who brought about a National Championship as well as  a Heisman Trophy. But, when they start wearing their hair like Friar Tuck… something’s gotta give!

Photo by Ron Chenoy / US Presswire

Who says hazing is on the way out? (At least in professional sports…)

But, thankfully I’ve heard Tim Tebow has shed his monk-like ‘do for a Mr. Clean hairstyle instead. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted, “Saw Tebow w regular buzz cut; looks go like a regular 5 o-clock shadow on top … vets like Champ Bailey & Brian Dawkins really respect him.”

Orlando resident and football coaching legend Lou Holtz recently said of Tebow, “(Community service) is part of his life. I know him very well. I’ve never dealt with a more polite, humble, accommodating individual than Tim Tebow. When you first meet him you think he has to be a phony, but he’ll be that way in five years. It’s just his infectious attitude.”

I don’t think his haircut is infectious, though… fortunately, now we just have to wait for it to grow back out. Whew!

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Filed under Celebrity, Florida Gators, Sports