Sarah - Costa Mesa, California
Entered on November 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I am sitting in my tower, baking in the sun, listening to the radio and scanning the water. Suddenly, in the corner of my eye I see splashing in the water. I immediately look through my binoculars, while standing up to have a better view of this distraction.

I see an overweight Latino man facing shore, hair in his eyes, and a look of panic on his face. This man was in trouble-he was dangerously close to the jetty. Ten-foot sets of waves were crashing onto his flailing body that brought him closer to the rocks. For one second I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Why have I gotten myself into this? I’m scared, this is my first day being a lifeguard ever, and this is going to be my first rescue. Even though I loved the beach and grew up living by the beach I never aspired to become a lifeguard.

But when my best friend challenged me that I was incapable of beating him in Newport Beach’s lifeguard tryouts it was very hard for me to turn that down. It consisted of two races against over two hundred people-there was the thousand-meter swim and the thousand-meter run-swim-run in the frigid 48-degree ocean.

I thought I had a slim chance of making it because they only accepted the top twenty, besides I was only sixteen competing against older and more experienced swimmers. But to my astonishment I finished first for the women and ninth overall, I even beat my friend. Later through training, I still did not know what I was getting myself into, I thought that hanging out at the beach and getting paid for it seemed like a perfect summer. I guess the saving lives part didn’t kick in until this very moment.

My heart was thumping, and my adrenaline was racing. I called dispatch reporting “One victim to my left, close to jetty, need back up” I hang up and immediately grab my yellow buoy and fins.

Jumping off my tower and sprinting into the water I keep eye contact with the location of the victim. As I race through the icy water I reach him and start the long journey to shore. Even with the language barrier it was gratifying to see the look of relief in the victim’s eyes when we got to safety.

I have learnt to do things sporadically without any debate just like joining lifeguards- it’s your first reaction and you’ve got to go with your guts instinct. Just do it because everything happens for a reason and it would be a shame to live a life with regrets.

Till this day I am thankful that I became a lifeguard since it happened to me, it has given me more confidence and assertiveness in my everyday life. Everything happens for a reason. I spontaneously became a lifeguard because of a bet, and now I am able to make rescues in dangerous surf, treat spinal neck injuries, do CPR, and deal with other life or death situations.

God said, “I chose you when I planned creation (Eph 1:11) and I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You are not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:16). I determined when you would be born and when you would live (Acts 17:26) because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)” (The Bible).

Everything that has happened in my life was meant to be. I have learnt to accept that whatever has happened to me there was a reason why it took place I might not know some of the reasoning now, but later in my trek of life I will find out. Life is a mystery, and God has a plan for me and all I can do is live it and see where I end up.