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Saving Your Life but Killing Your Fun

The only funny thing about the South Summit Aquatic Center is that there is nothing funny about the South Summit Aquatic Center.

My two year old son turned away from my wife, who was still in the water, and dashed for the other side of the pool. Seeing water, and not understanding the consequences, he dove in. My wife, two seconds behind him, jumped in and grabbed him. To the lifeguard’s credit, she had seen the impending disaster before my wife and was ready to rescue the toddler. My wife waived her off and said everything was OK. The lifeguard responded with a glare and a shake of her head. Once the lifeguard retreated to her station, I thanked her for being so observant. After saying it again, she responded with a condescending “yeah”.

Two weeks earlier I had been sitting by the South Summit Aquatic Center’s pool, with my newborn, while my wife had our toddler in the pool. Passing time, I looked at each of the lifeguards and had thought, “I’ve been here at least ten times and have never seen any one of these people smile. I’ve heard 100 whistles telling someone to stop doing something but I have never seen anything kind.” I realize the job of a lifeguard is to be constantly vigilant but that’s not mutually exclusive from customer service. A pool should be fun. It should be a place where children learn to be safe in water. It should be a place where they are educated. It shouldn’t be a kingdom ruled by fear.

As we were getting ready to leave the pool, a little girl got ready to slide down a small water slide. Her grandmother was waiting at the bottom of the slide to catch her should she need help. The Grandmother’s daughter waived franticly at her mom and said, “Move back! Move back! They’ll blow the whistle and yell at you if you are too close to the slide!” The grandmother begrudgingly took 5 paces back as the little girl slid down the slide and plunged helplessly into the water. Her grandmother raced to pull her up. It appears I’m not the only one to notice the culture of fear.

It’s really a shame. The facility is beautiful. The people at the front desk are really nice, but the people that run the show once you touch water have poisoned the experience for me, and it appears others. It’s a swimming pool for god’s sake — not a nunnery. I’ve heard that the Kamas pool is often empty. After a few visits, I can see why.


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