When you go to a pool or a waterpark and take a look at the lifeguards throughout the facility, what you see barely scratches the surface of what happens on a daily basis.
You see them walking to and from their spots, watching their water and perhaps you see them go in for a save or two. You see them enforcing the rules (that they didn't make) and you see them responding to both minor and major emergencies.
What you don't see, however, really summarizes what it means to be a lifeguard.
You don't see what happens in lifeguard trainings or drills, you don't see our morningly pep talks and spot assignments, and you definitely can't see what goes through their minds when anything sort of conflict or emergency occurs.
It truly irritates me when people say that lifeguards have it easy. In some ways, you aren't completely wrong. They may look comfortable in their shaded chair, but little do you know that they've been working hard all morning to keep you safe.
Please don't tell me that lifeguarding is easy. It's more than being a good swimmer or knowing your textbook material. It's all about heart. It's a great feeling to know that you're capable of saving someone's life, but it can be extremely traumatizing for some and only those who have the heart and devotion to make a difference will be truly successful in this job.
I find more reasons to be proud of my team each and every day. While we all want to make some money, the fact that we do something meaningful in the process of it makes our long days in the hot sun worth it.
Some people become a lifeguard on a whim, like myself. I never imagined myself in this role, but I couldn't be more thankful for the person it made me. I had associated it with the stereotypes as seen on TV, but boy, was I wrong.
We are the very first to respond to any sort of emergency that happens in our pools. We are the ones responsible for transporting them out of the water to safety on land.
My responsibilities as a lifeguard have shown me that I was made to help and heal others. Some facilities are much more laid back in how they guard their waters, but I am so thankful for the high standards we set for ourselves. It makes us not only better lifeguards, but it will assist us in our future endeavors down the road in our more professional career paths. In addition to our physical skills, we have the ability to think critically and to speak to our guests with a level of respect and professionalism. Those skills are crucial in success as we advance through our lives.
So please, don't tell me that lifeguarding is easy.