ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA D-League is filled with stories of players hoping to make it to the NBA and hit the proverbial jackpot. For Holly Vogel, a season ticket holder for the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants, it happened quite literally.
As an Indiana native and someone who has played basketball her entire life, Vogel has always loved hoops. (Even though she is a Pacers fan, Vogel has no relation to Frank, she stresses.) After relocating to Ft. Wayne a year ago, she attended a couple of D-League games, enjoyed the experience, and decided to buy season tickets. As a high school math teacher and assistant basketball coach, Vogel fit D-League games into her busy schedule. At a game back in March, Vogel’s section of seats was selected as the Hoosier Lottery Lucky Section, and she was given a prize pack containing two scratch-off tickets.
“By the time the game was over,” Vogel recalls, “it was late, I was tired, it was a school night, so I just threw it into my car.”
Fast forward to the long Memorial Day weekend, when Vogel had a free moment to clean out her car on Saturday afternoon.
“I found the tickets and I thought, Sweet!” She scratched off the first ticket and won nothing. “I was like, ‘This is why I never win anything.’”
Then she scratched off the second ticket.
“I looked at it and thought, Oh cool, I won $100!”
Then she looked again.
“I thought, ‘Wait, I won $1,000!’”
Vogel looked a third time, and it was then she realized she’d hit the big one: $100,000, with the taxes pre-paid.
Unsure of how to react, she showed the ticket to her fiancé. “He flipped it over and started looking at the back. I told him, ‘No, look at the front, that’s the part I scratched off.’ But he was looking on the back to see if it was a fake, because apparently the fake ones say THIS IS A FAKE on the back.”
Satisfied with the veracity but still in shock, Vogel and her fiancé called her parents and told them the good news, and then her fiancé’s parents. “And they were both excited, so we were like, ‘I guess we can be excited, too.’”
Because it was a Saturday, Vogel had to wait until the week to claim her prize. And because it was Memorial Day weekend, the Lottery office was closed on Monday. So after a long day at school on Tuesday, Vogel went and picked up her over-sized check.
Vogel and her fiancé plan on using the winnings on their wedding next February, as well as for a down payment on a house. “Although I was talking to my fiancé last night,” she says, “and I pointed out that if hadn’t already started planning this wedding, we could afford to have a destination wedding. But he said no, we’ve already started the planning.”
Oh, and Vogel also has one more plan for her winnings: “I’m definitely going to renew my season tickets.”