Puerto Escondido Junior Lifeguards Cast Shadows, Bicycle Journey 2020.


"Cast Shadows." by John P. Murphy.

Last year a little girl with long hair

slept in the open bed

in the back of a pick-up truck on a bumpy country road.


When she awoke at the rally point by the side of the river

She practiced in the dirt

riding her sister's blue bike.

She asked, "Can I ride next time?"

“Si mi amor, la proxima.”


This year she rode.

Hope and Goals.


And the desire to achieve,

No matter how small you are.

The Junior Lifeguard Program

Provides these opportunities;

Is a vehicle to achievement and

empowerment.


(And to bear witness

inspires the heck out of me.)



Double Emergency Brake: The Ski Slope Technique.


Emergency Brake: Pink Nike.

Two years ago I wrote about Diego.

And the lessons I learned that day

are no less relevant or forgotten.

In fact now they are a part of me,

(a part of my soul).


Two years ago there were 30 kids.

This year there are 150 enrolled

In the Junior Lifeguards of Puerto Escondido.


Mil Gracias a Godo y el equipo y los padres y los chamos!

Focused. Just like Batman.


From 2018: Junior Lifeguards: Your Best Effort. For Life.


The sun isn’t up yet and thirty Junior Lifeguards from 7 to 17 lean on their top pedal and wait to be unleashed in a race against themselves.


Moments of joy and moments of doubt await each of them.

They’re learning to overcome the voice in their head, the one that says “I can’t…”

We’re under the guidance of Godofredo Vasquez and his two decades of experience as Captain of the Lifeguards in one of the 10 Heaviest Waves in the World. Godo knows safety, in and out of the water.



The sun started making shadows, the Municipal Police blocked the road and with an Oaxaca Public Safety truck as escort, we set off.


A mom driving a diesel dually smiled as she drove passed, happy in her role as road crew in case a biker wanted a rest. Not many did.


Give up?


No thank you.


And it was like this: Dirt road, sandy, big rocks, big ruts, uneven and up and down hills and curves.


And Diego was dead last. And he kept going, giving it his best effort. For sure.


When you’re 7 you’ve don’t have much life experience… you’ve only been speaking the language for 4 or 5 years.


Godo took one look Diego and said “Push him.”


And that’s the point: In spite of our best effort, all of us, at some point, need a little help. Like Diego. Like me. Like you.

When we arrived at the river, there was shade and joy and birthday singing and food sharing (Diego’s dad gave me an apple).


The ride back was glory, still hot and sweaty but WAY easier.


Because we had already done it.


And the voice in our head

from an hour ago

that was telling us we couldn’t make it

was replaced with a new one,

One that says, “Si puedo.”

It’s loud and clear now

(and I hear it more often).





Junior Lifeguards

Your Best Effort: For Life.

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Mexico 2020




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