Waystar Royco’s Cruise
Reading Time: 2 minutes
This is the story of how I beat up a group of elderly women. I was on a cruise to the Bahamas, all by myself, surrounded by strangers. My family had come with me, but they seemed to have forgotten they had two kids. By noon, they had rushed out of the room (with my sister) to the Wine Tastings section of the cruise. I wandered around the ship’s bridge looking for something to do when a yellow disc suddenly slid underneath my foot; as I looked down to grab it, a group of elderly women screamed, “Would you please return our disc, young man?”
I realized they were playing shuffleboard—they asked if I wanted to join them, and I couldn’t decide what was worse: spending my time with grandmas or losing to grandmas. I played five rounds and lost them all. Specifically to one person—Delia. After suffering crushing defeat and drowning in a pool of embarrassment and sweat, I smiled at Delia and choked out the words, “Great game!” Unfortunately, Delia must not have been feeling kind that day because her response was, “Kid, you have uglier teeth than a hooker…”
I made my way back to my room and decided to take a shower. As I came out of the bathroom, I saw one of the elderly women I had played shuffleboard with, Agnes. Agnes looked me dead in the eye and said, “Look, kid. You suck, but you have potential. It won’t be easy, but if you come with me, I’ll make you the best damn shuffleboard player on this cruise ship.”
Cue the Karate Kid montage. Agnes and I spent the next two days running laps around the cruise deck… well, mostly I ran while Agnes watched and enjoyed her pina coladas. She ordered me to give her foot rubs, act as her wingman at the casino, and pretend to be her successful incoming-freshman-at-Harvard grandson in front of others so she would receive compliments.
A few days later, I had my rematch with Delia. Lightning flashed outside. My heart raced and sweat ran down my body. Delia walked over to the board and asked me if I was ready to lose. I decided not to answer and began the game. On my final day of training camp, Agnes told me to meet her at the shuffleboarding section. I arrived and played shuffleboard with her for a good three hours. By the end, I had finally mastered the skill of hand-eye coordination, but I don’t believe it’s worth feeling proud over acquiring a skill that a six-year-old could master in less than five minutes.
A few hours later, Agnes scheduled a shuffleboarding match with Delia and all the other women. It didn’t matter who the opponent was because I defeated every single one of them. I remember that in the final round, Delia had more points than me but I managed to knock off her last disc, which secured the game-winner. I had emerged victorious, establishing myself as the best shuffleboard player on the cruise ship. I had become the equivalent of what Michael Jordan is to basketball: a sore loser.