Sunday, July 8, 2007

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Sorry I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks, but there is a VERY good reason! I have been busy LIFEGUARDING!

(my new word...thanks Leah!)

Our A/G church camp, Fa-Ho-Lo Camp & Conference Center was in DESPERATE need of lifeguards for the summer. My friend and camp director, Frances, called me to inform me of a 1 & 1/2 DAY certification training and if I knew of anyone who would be interested to PLEASE pass the word on. So before I KNEW WHAT was coming out of my mouth...I said "I'm a good swimmer. I'll help you out!"

Shocked but elated, she replied, "YOU WILL ?!?! That would be GREAT!"

Immediately, I thought to myself..."OH JESUS, what in the world did I just DO?!? I am 43 years old. I have NO BUSINESS training for this!"

One VERY GOOD Reason...I am extremely OUT OF SHAPE! Yes, I have lost 20 lbs on Weight Watchers and have started walking few times a week...but NOT in SHAPE by any means...unless you count 'round' as a shape...or 'pear' shaped!

So...on June 25th, I "took the plunge"...literally!

Mary Beth, along with 6 "young puppies"...four 18 year olds, one 17 year old, and one 22 years and another 40 something started lifeguard training.
'a few of my co-workers...the 18 year old on the far right is the HEAD lifeguard...MY BOSS!!!!

When I entered the room and saw all the babies...I inwardly cringed and thought..."I am an IDIOT! I feel HUMILIATION knocking at my door!

We started the morning 'in the classroom" with CPR and Defibrillation. The other 40 something, Jaime, and myself, finished the two tests rather quickly. We were proud of our accomplishments...especially because there is so much MEMORY involved! CPR has so many things to remember... how many breaths, how many compressions, hold the nose, tilt the head, check the pulse...

THEN came the REAL TESTS for our 43 & 46 year old seasoned bodies...the WATER TRAINING!

First of all, the water was at a HYPOTHERMIC temperature! After 5 minutes we had to get out and bring our body temp to the above freezing mark.

The first skill was to swim 20 laps...12 freestyle and 8 breaststroke. NO ONE wanted to get Jamie and I took the lead and got in and started about lap 13 I thought I was going to DIE and have to be rescued! My arms felt like 50 lb ice cubes as I tried to lift them out of the lap 19 I was sure I was about to throw up my morning oatmeal. When lap 20 was finished (the two old ladies finished first by the way...along with ANNA) I was sure I was going to pass out! My legs were head was spinning...stomach churning...but in the midst of my physical turmoil, pride began to well up with in me. Not a sinful pride, but a "WOW, I did it...pride" (the sinful pride came later)

Then came the rescue skills. AGAIN...the kids didn't want to dive in so the two MATURE ones of the bunch put on the game face and lead the way into the arctic waters.

We joined together...The Band of Aging Sisters...because we knew we needed to get it done. Because my partner in lifesaving had been certified before...she talked me through a lot of the skills as we practiced. Always listen to experience!

So as we did our skills for our the grace of GOD and the experience of Jamie...we passed on the first attempt almost every time.

Well, to make a LONNNGG story short ( yeah, right!)...WE finished FIRST...BEFORE the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH...and had to wait almost 2 hours for some of them to finish! (NOW the sinful pride began to raise it's ugly head!)

This is Gavin...he didn't want his picture taken. I think it was because he was embarrassed that the old ladies schooled him! (however...he was the ONLY one to pass all the written tests with flying colors on the first try.)

A few of the teenagers said to us, "You are our inspiration! If you [old ladies] can do it, so can we!"

We had to confess that really, it is all in the mind. We realized...if we don't do this right the first time...our victim would be the dead man floating because we honestly did not have the endurance to dive down 9 feet 25 times to rescue our victim. So much of it is technique and holding your breath...we were panting as it was!
(BTW...thanks to ANDREW BYRUM for being our victim when we couldn't hold our breath any longer!!!!)

The next morning I repented of my sinful pride as I felt EVERY BIT of my 43 back hurt, my legs hurt, my backside hurt, my shoulders hurt, my arms hurt...(I think you get the picture)...and started THANKING THE LORD that I finished and didn't give up...even when I doubted I could complete the task.

I can honestly say it was one of the HARDEST things I have ever done in my life, but the LORD gave me the strength and endurance. I have thoroughly enjoyed these two weeks at my new 'job'. I enjoy chatting with the young pup lifeguards working with me. They have such a great future ahead of them...they are truly a joy to be around...and they are very gracious when hanging with the MOM lifeguard.

So...there it is. My new accomplishment in my 40's!

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.


Steve, the hubby said...

I'm really proud of you too, sweetheart. When do you get paid?

SportsMom said...

You go girl!!! You are an inspiration to me, another 40 year old. I've started a new job adventure as well....have to tell you about it some time.
Enjoy your life guarding!

Katie said...

That's hilarious! Way to go!

I can relate. I recently "ran" a 5k which was the same kind of stretch for me since I HATE running (and anything else athletic) and have avoided it whenever possible all my life. :-)

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! You're so awesome!

Tammy Arnouts

Anonymous said...

YOU GO GIRL!! I guess you showed those young punks who is the BOSS! I'm so proud of you! (By the way, Your husband should be so thrilled for your success, that he should let you spend that money on YOU.)
You know, now they'll be calling you every year to lifeguard.

secretary extraordinaire said...

Way to go! I'd never have made it. I've never been in shape, at least not on purpose. He He. Good job!

Gram Clay said...

WOW!!! Good job Mary! How about telling them how your training paid had to rescue a perishing...I am 75 and never learned to swim. My body chemical sink in water...that's why I take showers. Maybe you can teach me to swim...I have had a $100.00 reward out for anyone who could teach me to swim. No one has ever managed. Maybe for this half decade of my life I can lear to swim with your help.

Trudy said...

Hey Mary Beth...I know I told you this, but every time I went to the pool I couldn't tell you from the young ones. You looked sooo cute in your visor and holding your floatation/salvation device. I can't even imagine attempting what you did!! I'm proud of you!! Library in a few weeks???

Anna Hammond said...

HAHA I love your blog. You crack me up in some parts, but it's all true. I'm so proud of you! You kicked all our youngin's butts! haha Miss youuuu!!! Oh, and cute picture of us :)

TN Bakers said...

this is the first time I've visited your blog and I'll definitely be back - these are some GREAT stories!

amy (palmer) baker

Kara said...

Wow...I am impressed! I would've been a whimp and quit before I was done. I am a little jeaous...I have always wanted to work at Fa-Ho-Lo and remember the good old days of being at camp! Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Yes I did meet Weston. We didn't talk much but I did enjoy playing b-ball with him. He seems really cool. Hopefully I'll see you at the oaks this sunday... it's our last week :(