Wouldn’t it be great to see in Christmas with three points today?! The sound of sleigh bells and Christmas songs are everywhere I go and that means they are ever playing on repeat in my head. Having grown up in a traditional small town in Tennessee, Christmas was a very big deal taken very seriously. There wasn’t a space in town that hadn’t been adorned with fairy lights, fresh greenery wrapped in beautiful red velvet ribbon, or some kind of Christmas ornament. To top off the quintessential Christmas look was the six feet of perfect powdery white snow that fell on schedule every winter. Thinking back, it really was a beautiful way to enjoy Christmas. I think I might be asking a bit much to wish for a white Christmas here, for not only is it inconvenient but also would be likely to threaten the busy and hectic football calendar over the festive break.
It is always an interesting time of year for Asmir and I as we both find Christmas to be the busiest for us in our careers, whereas most people look forward to a welcome break, with their feet up enjoying the company of their families and friends. It is something that we have adapted to over the years and have found a happy balance with our training and schedules. For both Asmir and I, our daily training continues as normal over this period as the games come thick and fast for the players, and also the horses need to be kept fit and in training for the imminent 2015 competition season.
We have found the best way to balance a traditional Christmas celebration in our family is to have our family Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, which is always beautiful being lit by candlelight. We are up early the next morning with our daughter to watch her delight at seeing Santa’s overnight delivery sitting at the base of the tree, where after presents, we enjoy a brunch with all the left-overs before seeing Asmir off to training for the Boxing Day game. At this point, overfilled with turkey and all things yummy but bad for us, we collapse on the sofa, no doubt like everyone else is, to enjoy the television delights for the rest of the evening.
Whilst Asmir prepares for the game at the team hotel, early that morning you will find me at the yard mucking out and helping with the horses. It always surprises some people when they realise that we still have to look after the horses as normal on Christmas and Boxing day, but sadly horses have not yet learned to look after themselves and as far as they are concerned, it is just as normal a day as any other.
With the Boxing Day game only a few clicks north on the M6 at Goodison Park, it will be a popular game to attend for the families of the players and Stoke fans alike. No sooner will the final whistle blow, that the team will be steaming back down the motorway to prepare for West Brom at home a few days later bringing the 2014 football season to a close.
It has been an incredible few weeks (and years for the matter) for Dressage’s greatest and most successful competitor and ambassador, as Charlotte DuJardin, was fourth in line for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award. It has been a whirlwind few years for Charlotte and my beloved sport of Dressage as it has danced its way onto our screens and around the world. A few years ago it wasn’t a sport you would see on mainstream television, but thanks to Charlotte and her dancing partner Valegro with their incredible achievements, it is now starting to appear amongst some of the largest and most long-standing sports. It was incredible to watch Dressage be profiled alongside such great and historic sporting events that regularly adorn the front of the sports pages.
Charlotte, earlier this week, will have attempted to break two of her three World Record’s when she competed at Olympia International Horse show in London. I can’t wait to tell you all how she got on as Asmir and I will have been there for our annual visit with our family and friends to kick off our Christmas celebrations.
Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Christmas full of joy, laughter and happiness!