Hey, Rio Lifeguards
I know you’re tired of all the jokes that have been made at your expense these past weeks as the world watched its swiftest swimmers compete. I know you’re probably sick of explaining the Brazilian rule that dictates you being in the pool to supervise these athletic freaks of nature, none of whom have ever needed savings during any Olympic event, ever. And I know you’re not too thrilled about having memes created about the futility of your career.
But I hope you’re not letting any of that get to you. Because even if you don’t feel especially important or useful, you are. Especially to my 3 year-old son.
I know it might not seem like a big deal to you, but to my son you are THE COOLEST PERSON EVER. I feel pretty confident in saying that if both you and Michael Phelps walked into the same room, my son would completely ignore Phelps and stare up in wonder and awe at you and ask you about your amazingly awesome whistle and rescue tube. Who really cares about gold medals and world records when you can sit in a chair and order people around?
You see, all this summer we have struggled to get our son to feel more comfortable under water. He has been great in the baby pool but resisted jumping into the deep end and completely submerging himself.
Until he saw some lifeguards. And all the mighty power they wield at our community pool.
And you know what we told him?
Lifeguards save people. Lifeguards jump in the pool. And…lifeguards get their hair wet. Like all of their hair. And they also put their nose in the water. Plus they get to tell people to stop running.*
Well, that pretty much did it. And all summer, my son has been playing lifeguard. Not Olympic swimmer. Not NBC sports commentator. Not overly emotional parents of Olympic athlete whose expressions are priceless.
Nope. My son plays lifeguard. And he loves it and swimming. And we couldn’t be happier.
So next time you (or anyone who feels like they are maybe not super important or useful at the moment) are feeling down about yourself. Just remember: there is at least one person out there who thinks you are the MOST amazing person ever.
You might not win any medals. You might never have throngs of fans. But I guarantee there will always be someone out there who is looking at you with wonder and awe.
Plus, you guys have like the best seats in the house. So screw those critics.
*We also might have told my son that lifeguards always eat their vegetables, lifeguards always go pee-pee on the potty, and lifeguards always go right to sleep after one bedtime story. I would appreciate if you would back us up on this if you are ever questioned by my son. Thanks!