The critical verb there is “made” because, while I know my daughter appreciates the opportunity to earn money for herself, the reality is Mr. Coach and I have been waiting for the day when we could have our own personal lifeguard. We’re not the first parents in our university community to do this. There are others who’ve gotten their kids certified for the express purpose of having a backup lifeguard for those days when the assigned lifeguard doesn’t show up. At a small pool with a small community of daily swimmers, it happens. But there’s nothing like being able to say, “Oh, I’ll just call Herbert and get him over here. He’s only sleeping.” And then, about 15 minutes later, you get in to swim while surly Herbert sits and watches and prays that his dad goes under just so he can not rescue him.
And now we can do the same thing to Little Miss Coach! For her certification, she got tag-team taught by her father and his assistant coach who are both Red Cross certified lifeguard instructors. Boy, was she psyched!
And she should be. Mr. Coach is very highly regarded in local lifeguard-certification circles, and most especially for his victim skills. As part of the certification process, the would-be lifeguards have to jump in and rescue drowning victims. Mr. Coach has two specialties: One is the Victim Who Doesn’t Float and the other is the Victim Who Fights Back.
Both “victimizations” are brilliant, but other instructors don’t like to bring Mr. Coach in for just any group of would-be lifeguards. That would be like using a howitzer to go bird shooting. No, rather, they tend to hold him in reserve for their big strapping college guys (and a few gals) who are going for the open-water lifeguarding jobs where they’re more likely to encounter difficult victims.
Your municipal and country-club pool guards might encounter a modified version of either the dead-weight victim who goes right to the bottom or the spastic-meltdown victim who could break your nose in a panic. But for the most part, they’re only going to be dealing with unsupervised 5-year-olds in the deep end.
In the open-water situations, that’s where a guard could go down with the victim if he or she can’t maintain control of the situation. So if a guard can get past Mr. Coach, you can rest assured they can wrangle in a drunken 27-year-old who can’t swim but decided to wade out over his head to retrieve a Frisbee.
But, for lack of any other victims this time, Mr. Coach was deployed on his own daughter. He decided to go with the Victim Who Doesn’t Float which I thought was an audacious choice, given that Little Miss Coach barely cracks 100 pounds on the scale. However I can understand the logic: Her skull is just as titanium-hard as his and the two of them have given each other black eyes before with accidental head butts. A Victim Who Fights Back would just be asking for another black eye.
So she brought in her dead-weight father without mishap, earned her lifeguard card, and now will be at our lap-swim beck and call. Who said parenthood was all give and no take? Certainly not us!