Things that drive your lifeguard crazy

Beth Rozacky


     I can tell when you’re running around the pool, my sunglasses are dark but I’m not asleep behind them. Even when you’re on the other side of the pool I have a full visual of your body. I can totally hear your feet slapping the concrete behind my stand. “WALK…please,” doesn’t seem to cut it anymore with the pool crowd. I’m trying to be polite, I really am but you’re not making it very easy on me. All your guard wants is rule abidance and orderly pool activities. Playing super tag in the slippery, concrete death zone is not the way to achieve this dream. You’re going to slip and fall and I won’t even get to feel vindicated about it because I’ll have to bandage you up. If I don’t, you’ll bleed all over my pool deck. By the way,  Your fast walk isn’t fooling me either.

Back Talk:

     When something goes down and I blow my whistle on you, please avoid confrontation. If the whistle sounds a rule was broken; end of story.  Even if you don’t think you’re at fault, take the slap on the wrist like an adult and go about your day. The incorrect plan of action is to turn around and yell at me. I realize that I am a young person; most lifeguards are teenagers. However, don’t feel like you can bully or boss your guard around. Guards know the rules and know how to execute them. I really don’t care how much fun going down the slide head first is or how cool back flips make you look. Your “I was just…” argument won’t help you. Talking back will only impede my ability to keep the pool as safe and enjoyable as possible. Advanced years do not make up for actual guarding experience and, though you may not agree with my methods, I know what I’m doing.

Dumb Games:

     Chicken is not an acceptable pool game; neither is splash war or drown the fat kid. Any game that puts others in danger or breaks the rules is not okay. I know I’m ruining your fun but that’s my gig. I simply cannot let you play tag. Also, no I will not judge your diving competition. Don’t make me save you once your stunt goes awry.  Playing “splash the lifeguard” will also get you kicked out.

Creepers, don’t stare at me:

     I realize I am a chiseled and toned specimen. My swimmer’s body is finely honed from saving countless lives from the deep. My skin is delicately bronzed from hours of sitting in the sun. I sit above the pool as a guardian, a silent sentinel; the epitome of justice and fairness. My fanny-pack is a vibrant and jaunty color and my whistle gleams in the sunshine. These are all great qualities but this does not give you permission to creep on me. Quit staring at me. Staring intently at people is my job but at least I have the decency to put on dark sunglasses so you can’t tell when I’m doing it.

This pool is not a bathroom:

     If you have bladder control problems or some other incontinency issue perhaps the public pool is not the place for you. This topic is sensitive, mostly because of all the unpleasant memories it brings up.  Don’t use the pool as your restroom, just please don’t.

Dress Appropriately:

     You might not think this pool has a dress code but it does. Your swimsuit should cover up all of your business and stay away from offensive messages and images. The opposite end of the coverage spectrum is another issue. You simply cannot go into the pool in you tennis shoes or evening wear. Striking a balance is strongly advised as there are some things I just don’t need to see. Please, cover yourself up; if not for me and your fellow patrons than for your own health. Skin damage and cancer are serious health threats during the summer but my eye and mental health is just as important.

     Also, If you are not a lifeguard please refrain from wearing clothing that labels you as such. If you can’t pull me out of the water, resuscitate me, stabilize my condition and correctly perform a secondary assessment don’t put on your shorts with “Lifeguard” written across the cheeks.

Marco Polo:

     No one should ever have to listen to a four hour rendition of this heinous game. “Marco? Polo!” I can’t take it anymore! He’s not here, please quit asking for him. I hate you Marco Polo. I hate you and everything you stand for.

     Be nice to your guard this summer. They’re present  for your safety.