Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Not for me

Have you ever seen the show on Discovery channel called "Dirty Jobs?" If not, the host goes around and performs the duties of someone who has a dirty job: garbage man, exterminator, and so on. While on the job, the one whose profession this actually is often gives the host a hard time for not doing the job quickly enough or well enough. One job I would never ever want is one that is most often held by teenagers -- kids, really: lifeguard. And when I really think about it, I can't believe that this is normal.

First off, they are guarding people's lives. These are irreplaceable, and most often, they are guarding the lives of children. Sure, when we go to the pool or beach, we believe that nothing bad will happen to us, and 99% of the time, we are right on, but there is a tiny, miniscule chance that a tragedy will occur, and when it does, we are counting on kids to help us, or our children, out. Isn't that an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid? And what happens when those lifeguards can't save the life? Think of the guilt that will follow those lifeguards around for life.

This all comes to mind because there was a drowning, a teenager drowned, in Lake Springfield earlier this week. The lake hasn't reopened, and it may not for the rest of the summer because the lifeguards are too distraught. And they may be distraught for years.

Perhaps people who save lives should be full-time professionals, adults, and paid a serious wage to attract people to this job. No, it's not a dirty job, but it certainly is an important one.

And I won't even begin to talk about kids going swimming who can't swim...

This from the SJ-R today:

Lake Springfield Beach closed due to distraught lifeguards

The Lake Springfield Beach will be closed today and may not reopen at all because the lifeguards are emotionally distraught after Saturday's drowning, the city said today in a news release.

Counseling is being arranged for all of the lifeguards, according to City Water, Light and Power general manager Todd Renfrow. Lake Springfield Beach had been set to close Aug. 5 for the season.

Beach management made the determination following a 10:30 a.m. staff meeting, according to the city.

The beach, which is in Center Park near the Vachel Lindsay Bridge, has been closed since Eric Jones, 16, of Springfield, who did not know how to swim, drowned at the beach late Saturday afternoon.

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