Arts & Life

Mario Kart enthusiasts power up through wheelchair race

Wheels were swiftly turning as CSULB students participated in the Mario Kart wheelchair race on March 26.

Hosted in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center main gym, the Inclusive Recreation team made a small race course with stanchions and rope.

Joyli Rumao and Mitali Admuthe
Joyli Rumao and Mitali Admuthe line up for a quick one-on-one race during the Mario Kart wheelchair race. Photo credit: Mark Siquig

Four wheelchairs were set at the starting line and participants could choose from one of four Mario Kart themed costumes: a Mario or Luigi cap, a Toad vest, a Princess Peach crown or a Yoshi hat.

ASI students kept track of the fastest racers with a stopwatch in one hand and a whiteboard marker in the other.

Racers were given red raffle tickets upon completing a lap and inserted the ticket in one of four white boxes. Raffle winners will receive an email and are able to choose from a $25 gift card for Amazon, Nike, Starbucks or Target.

In the past, the wheelchair race was hosted with the intention of helping able-bodied students gain understanding of what it is like to be in a wheelchair. A statement from ASI’s recreation website says the event is focused on highlighting wheelchair based sports and healthy competition.

Anna Cervantes, an ASI student inclusive lead and event planner, participated in the planning for this year’s wheelchair race for the first time.

“[With] planning it, I get to see how much preparation goes into it rather than just working it [where] I was just told to put up decorations and stuff, and I get to work with making it the way I want it to be run rather than working under someone,” Cervantes said.

Casey Garcia and Jennifer McDaniel were the first students to show up to the gym. The duo raced a handful of laps before retreating to a TV setup with Mario Kart 8 on a Nintendo Switch console.

“I was a bit nervous to participate in some sort of race because I get shy about performance and stuff like that so I would say that it’s mainly about having fun and there’s no pressure or anything,” McDaniel said.

Multiple racers joked that there was a “sudden turn” they did not see while others commented on how challenging it was to keep a consistent pace.

Tommy Trommald
Tommy Trommald rushes down the track in a wheelchair trying to beat his first trial time. Photo credit: Mark Siquig

“Maintaining speed was the hardest thing,” Garcia said.

Cervantes, Garcia and McDaniel all noted a lack of widespread promotion for the event on campus and how that could have benefitted the turn out of the event.

“Seeing that, like, in a promotional text, it didn’t seem like the graphic design advertising the event had much emphasis on the drawing for gift cards and I think that could use some more emphasis,” Garcia said.

Garcia and McDaniel noted that they hope ASI will continue to host engaging activities that allow students to release stress and bond with one another.

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