My heart pumped faster and faster. It’s the feeling as if your heart is an African drum right before a ritual. The sun pulsed down as beads of sweat dribbled down my face and my nerves began to jitter. This was it- the crowning glory of my career. I reached for my whistle that soon became a deafening sound to the patrons on the beach. All the attention rose to me as I soared off my tower and dove into the chilling water. I couldn't control my actions or my thoughts all I could do was rely on my training and focus on my objective. My 8year-old target seemed like a bobbing dot on the horizon.
Lifeguarding is often a fantasy for most. The TV show, Baywatch, featured a double-D breasted blond women running in a bathing suit, and faced multiple challenges on a California beach, didn’t help the stereotype of lifeguards as the lazy, hot teenager who just wants to get a glowing tan.
This summer I was able to prove that stereotype wrong. At a mere 5’2” one hundred and 120 pounds I do not appear as a typical guard. In fact I received many surprised faces as I boasted about my ambitions of becoming a lifeguard. Over the previous years I worked hard to earn my lifeguard certifications and managed to pass my Northwest Lifeguarding test with flying colors as I pulled a 300 pound submerged male off the bottom of a 12 foot pool, and preceded with mandatory simulation of a CPR rescue. It was no surprise I was ready to be a lifeguard.
As I dolphin dived my way through the shallow end while the groups of shocked swimmers kindly moved out of my way. My target grew closer and closer. He was now in reach, as I grabbed him, arm under arm. The bushy red curly hair covered my face while his screams pierced my ears. “You’re ok,” I said while I carried him to safety. Patrons on the beach clapped and cheered as a smile arose on the petrified young 8-year boy who ran to his mother. My jitters never subsided as climbed on top of the tower. While I positioned myself...