Personal Journey: At 74, champion on the high seas

The writer's husband, Hu Kuan, on their cruise. One morning, they happened upon a small basketball court on the top level. Delighted, he picked up one of the balls and started playing.
The writer's husband, Hu Kuan, on their cruise. One morning, they happened upon a small basketball court on the top level. Delighted, he picked up one of the balls and started playing.
Posted: January 08, 2012

We hadn't had a vacation since my husband had a hip replacement in fall 2010. Everyone we know had been talking about cruise vacations, so we decided to follow the crowd.

Cruise travel is perfect for senior citizens, especially a handicapped one. There's no need to trudge long and far, and it offers freedom from the chores at home. We went to a AAA travel agent and booked a trip in late September to New England/Canada on Caribbean Princess Cruise.

It was quite exciting. The cruise was spacious, beautiful, and luxurious. It had swimming pools, outdoor and indoor theaters, restaurants, a casino, nightclubs, fancy shops, a fitness club - you name it, you got it.

The best part was that we were treated like royalty.

Food was incredible, all kinds of cuisines, prepared round the clock, you can eat as much and as often as you like. Pretty soon, we found our waistlines were getting bigger.

One morning, we took a walk on the deck and happened upon a small basketball court on the top level. My husband was beside himself. He picked up one of the balls and started playing.

Not long after, a young boy came to join him; 10 minutes later, the boy's father, along with another middle-aged guy joined the team. They all dribbled and shot their own ball into the hoop.

I sat on the bench watching. It was a sunny and mild morning, and the soothing ocean breeze blew over gently. I was enjoying it as much as those ballplayers.

A pretty young lady with a big smile came up with a clipboard in her hand. She introduced herself to the group as the cruise activity coordinator and said she was there to coach the basketball game.

My husband felt out of place and decided to leave. However, the young lady stopped him and explained that, since there were only four of them, she would expect them to do the free-throw shooting from the three-point line. My husband obliged, and followed her instructions to line up with the others to shoot the ball.

Surprisingly enough, even though he was the oldest - and had a bad leg - he scored the highest. The young lady pronounced him the winner and presented him a gold medal.

My 74-year-old hubby beamed like a child from ear to ear. He could barely contain his joy. For the rest of the day, he walked around wearing his medal.

We had a wonderful time on our vacation, and this gold-medal episode was undoubtedly the icing on the cake.


Jenny Kuan resides in Cherry Hill. To comment on this article, e-mail traveltalk@phillynews.com.

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