Dear People Who Won’t Follow The Pool Rules Revision
We must talk. Each shift I work as a lifeguard, I spend those hours watching over the safety of each person attending the pool. On any given day there are 200–250 people there swimming, and our primary job is the safety of each swimmer there. I believe there may be some confusion as to what my job description is and I would like to take this opportunity to outline some grievances. There are many different types of pool-goers and most of them are respectful and enjoyable to spend a shift with but there are a few of you who need a reminder of what responsibilities and manners are required of those who come to enjoy a day at the pool.
To the tired parent who sees a day at the pool as a day off, it is an unwise practice to put lifeguards in charge of babysitting your little one. While I do understand that an afternoon at the pool seems like a relaxing time where your children play and where you lounge, please understand that having me continually tell your child not to run, repetitively explaining that they didn’t pass the swim test so they can not go down the slide, that they can not shove friends and they can not dive into the shallow part of the pool, all take my valuable time and divides my attention from the rest of the swimmers. I also appreciate that you as the parent, however, the rules at the pool are not set by, but enforced by the lifeguards. It’s important to realize that each rule was made because someone at some point in time put their own life or someone else’s life in danger which necessitated the rule, to begin with. Understand that I take my job very seriously and most lifeguards have been in the situation, at least once, where they have needed to rescue someone from drowning so I am not picking on your child, nor am I being mean or robbing your child of fun by enforcing the rules. Lifeguards are present at the pool for the safety of everyone there but that job is made more difficult when you spend your time looking at your phone and chatting with your friends as opposed to actively watching your children.
To the dads who are in touch with their inner child, your impressive backflips undermine rule-following for the teens and kids attending the pool. Your age doesn’t not exempt you from following the rules and should imply you would set an example for others. Arguing with a teenage lifeguard who is required to enforce the rules you are breaking does not prove you are right nor demonstrate your superiority.
To the adults who continually try sneaking alcohol into the pool, you are more conspicuous than you think. You are not attending a private pool or beach that allows consuming alcohol and the rules are clearly posted, yet each week you must be reminded that we are aware of the alcohol in the cooler, which is also evident by your behavior and we need to ask you to leave yet again. This is not a judgment of your choices nor an attempt to end your fun but is simply me doing my job. Please seek out a cocktail-friendly swimming hole in the future.
Lastly, I would like to address the pool-goers who believe their mother works there and will be along to clean up their food scraps, trash, and sticky spills. I have a jarring bit of information to share. Your mother doesn’t clean up after you, nor is there a janitorial staff who is paid to do so. It is the very same lifeguards who are tasked with watching over your safety who after spending the day sitting in the heat and repeating the pool rules to the same people over and over again, who argue and sometimes even threaten us, the lifeguards who have had to jump in to save your children who are not strong swimmers that you don’t want to watch carefully, who then have to spend the time after that shift picking up your candy wrappers, sweeping up the cracker crumbs, peeling up the smooshed peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and rinsing your sticky melted popsicles and spilled pop off the concrete, tables, and chairs. That doesn’t even count the disgusting things I’ve encountered in the restrooms. I’m baffled as to why after changing your baby’s diaper, you can not reach 6 inches over and throw it into the trash can. Or why it is far too great a task to flush the toilet once you’ve used it. Or why you would think the bathroom at a family pool is a good place to have sexual relations and toss the condom onto the floor. This may come as a shock to you but this is an unnecessary part of my job should you choose to do what most of us learned very early in life and pick up after yourself. There is always someone who will be left to take care of or clean up what you choose to leave behind and this makes the whole experience less pleasant for everyone.
Pool-goers, please understand that I really do love my job and worked hard to get it. I spent money on the training program, endured a very rigorous swim test, and must swim hundreds of yards per month as well as come in monthly for in-service days to keep my skills sharp if I will need to save you or a loved one of yours so to say that I take my job seriously is an understatement. The purpose of this letter is simply to remind you that your consideration would make the whole experience much more safe and enjoyable for everyone as well as make the lifeguards who watch over you feel much more appreciated. Thanks for listening and happy swimming…