Dressage Dreams and a Goalkeeper’s Regime - Part 6

Is it me or has the pre-Christmas ritual of festive songs on the radio and television adverts, reminded us that the holidays are in fact coming, just sprung out of nowhere? How has another year flown by? Our daughter has been signing Christmas carols around the house for a few weeks and desperate for the decorations to go up already. We haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet which in America, is the precursor and signal that Christmas preparations can now begin and that’s not until the 28th of November! Although it is not celebrated over here, I fully intend on exploiting any opportunity for a delicious turkey meal. Asmir has just returned from his last International Duty for 2013 and I am delighted at having him home for a few months. The work doesn’t stop though for us as my Dressage training kicks up a gear and Asmir has just launched his charity foundation- The Asmir Begovic Foundation.

That 13-second goal…….

Although it feels like it was in the distant past, the Begovic household is still celebrating the addition of a new goal scorer! It seems my husband has been upgraded to a duel role footballer- goalkeeper and striker. And some say men can’t multitask? Asmir has disproven that theory, as he has always been determined to. My family and I were lucky enough to be at the Southampton game to witness the wonder of Asmir’s first goal. What surprised us the most was our indecisiveness as how to celebrate, as we had never contemplated what we would do if Asmir had scored. After a much-delayed reaction to the goal, we embraced the roars of celebration around the Britannia and threw our hands up in the air. 

It was incredible to witness the positive global reaction to his goal. It was perfectly timed with Asmir’s appearance on Match Of The Day 2 the following day. As you can imagine, it was a hot topic on the show. It was as though he had timed it beautifully, as he became a household name from the moment the ball hit the back of the net. The reaction from the public on a few outings after that has been fantastic and really great. Although the reaction was phenomenal, I can say that personally Asmir has maintained his very humble and modest self that we at home recognise and know. His decision not to celebrate his goal was a genuine reaction that reflects what he is like in day-to-day life. Some have asked if it has changed him- I can honestly say it hasn’t. I still see him shake his head in disbelief that it even really happened. I am not sure how long we will wait for that moment again, but one we all look forward to. We are more used the relief and celebration of a good save. Here’s to many more of both Asmir!

What’s new with the Begovic’s?

Despite the weather turning to arctic conditions driving most people to the warm and comfort of the indoors, my sport requires me to be outside come rain, snow or gale force winds all year round- and living in England we all know what the majority of weather is like. Those that know me well know I have an ‘internal thermostat’ malfunction every time the temperature drops below 5°C, and I fall into a hypothermic state-well at least it feels like it as my body does not produce any internal heat I swear! In the winter months I can often be found waddling around the yard with so many layers on that I resemble the Michelin man. Then I have to peel the layers off to ride but thankfully that soon warms me back up. I blame my intolerance to the cold on my Floridian blood. 

My training has stepped up a gear as I move into the advanced work in preparation for International competition next year. Having watched Asmir represent his country for so many years, I feel so enthused to do the same. It will be nice to swap places with Asmir and he can watch me compete from the sidelines for a change. The progression into the advanced levels of Dressage is marked by a change of attire that to some, especially me, is like a badge of honour- one that is aspired to from the very beginning for most Dressage riders. That uniform is known as ‘top hat and tails’, usually what most people would recognize in the sport of Dressage. I have imagined that moment since childhood and both my top hat and tailcoat have been carefully chosen and hand made and are now waiting for their debut. The tradition of top hat and tails on horseback has been maintained as the correct attire since the early days of the military using horses for combat before heavy machinery came to replace them. 

Upon Asmir’s return from playing against Argentina with Bosnia in St. Louis in the States earlier this week, he was straight into the final preparations for the launch evening for his new foundation. Asmir is launching this foundation, which he believes in passionately, as he would like to contribute back towards the local community of Stoke where he has found support and success with Stoke City, and also to support projects in his home country of Bosnia, that is still trying to recover from the damage and devastation of the Bosnian war.

The prime objective of the foundation is to help in areas of need for children and to help to build and re-build recreational facilities. He is an Ambassador to the Special Olympics Bosnia and one of his initial projects is to fund an outdoor sport area at a respite home for disabled children in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He will also be working with the Community Division of the Professional Footballer’s Association, which raises the profile of players in support of community and charitable activities. If you would like to know more about his charity, please check out the website: www.asmirbegovicfoundation.com

Nicolle x