When I was a kid, I always thought lifeguards were so cool. I always looked up to them and hoped to be one. Reality struck once I got my “dream job.” Being a lifeguard is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
1. Wondering if someone is drowning or if they are just a bad swimmer
You have to learn who each swimmer is because there are always those few who constantly look like they’re drowning, but, really, they are just sloppy swimmers.
2. Understanding that pretending to drown is not funny
Don’t you just love the slight panic attack you have when you see a kid on the bottom of the pool who then pops up laughing? All lifeguards know that pretending to drown is no joke, but there’s always that one kid who thinks it’s hilarious and will do it 24/7.
3. Thinking “Why the heck did I go through hours of training for this”
In reality, a lifeguard’s job consists of cleaning, yelling at kids, babysitting, and the occasional save that happens about once every summer. You can’t help but wonder why you sat through 24 hours worth of training to save lives just to get paid minimum wage.
4. Having to deal with people who wear the typical “Ocean City Lifeguard” sweatshirts when they probably can’t even swim 25 yards
You just want to go up to them and ask, “How do you use an AED, what are the signs of a distressed swimmer, why don’t you smell like sunscreen if you’re a lifeguard?” Ugh. Some people will never understand the fear, stress, and sunburn a lifeguard has to go through.
5. Saying “I’m not getting in the pool. I’m not getting in the pool,” but then having to get in the pool
It’s one of those days where it’s cloudy and cold, but, for some reason or another, you are going to have to get in the pool. Maybe it will be to save someone or maybe you’ll have to fish some kid’s goggles from the bottom of the deep end, but, regardless, you’re going to freeze for the rest of your shift.
6. Praying it will storm
Every lifeguard has some type of radar app and checks at least 20 times before their shift. And, even if it does rain, you have those guests who love swimming in the rain. All you can do is sit and hope that you hear thunder, and nobody will understand how empowered you feel when it does thunder and you get to kick everyone out of the pool.
7. Just knowing that you’re going to have to save a certain person
A guest jumps in the pool, looking very confident, but you soon realize that they’re not the swimmer they think they are.
8. Thinking “Maybe if I glare at this kid long enough, he’ll stop breaking rules”
Every kid knows he’s breaking the rules. That’s why they always look at you and maniacally laugh as they push someone in or run on the pool deck. You’ve told them over and over to stop, but they are always persistent.
9. Wanting to yell at kids to walk in the grocery store
As a lifeguard, you just have that natural instinct and, even when you aren’t at the pool, you feel the need to yell at any kids running.
10. Waiting for a parent to come yell at you for saving their kid
Most parents think their kids are invincible and can’t believe that they would need to be saved. And who are you to save them? It’s not like it’s your job.
11. Knowing that it’s going to be a beautiful day
You wake up and get ready for work. You look outside and see…the sun. You know the pool is going to be crowded and all you can do is slather on the sunscreen and put a smile on your face.
Even though lifeguards have some problems, always remember: at least you’re getting a good tan.