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Recap: Disability Studies Sports & Society Lab: Get Your GAME ON with UCLA First Thursdays

Rain or shine, nothing could dampen the electrifying energy at First Thursdays ‘Game On,’ a sports-themed event hosted by UCLA and the Westwood Village Improvement Association on March 7, 2024. Hundreds of Bruins and community members gathered in Westwood Village to get their GAME ON as the First Thursdays block party livened up Broxton Avenue with sports, art installations, and Bruin spirit. 

From tailgate-style games to gravity-defying bungee and trampoline experiences, and even an esports gaming truck, there was no shortage of heart-pounding excitement that evening. The event was also an important step forward for promoting the importance of adaptive sports and recreation activities, championing the idea that sports are for everybody. 

The Disability Studies Sports & Society Lab teamed up with Blizzard Entertainment and UCLA Rec Esports to take gaming to a whole new level, bringing gaming computers that gave students and the Westwood community a chance to explore accessibility features in fan-favorites like Valorant and Overwatch.

Two students check out Blizzard Entertainment’s adaptive gaming set-up, getting the exciting opportunity to play and test out accessibility features in a video game onscreen.

Photographs from the City of Irvine’s New Normal: Skateboarding Now, brought through a partnership with Sports and Social Change and the City of Irvine, were also on display. The photography exhibit was an impressive showcase of athletic ability and featured a diverse group of professional skateboarders, including those who are blind and wheelchair bound, performing their unique styles and tricks for skateboarding.

Two attendees stand in front of the New Normal: Skateboarding Now exhibit, observing the photos and chatting with each other.

PlayLA Adaptive Sports Program also partnered with UCLA Adaptive Rec to host wheelchair basketball games for all abilities. Led by players of the sport and former professional athletes, attendees had the opportunity to move and shoot basketballs while in a wheelchair, revealing the challenges and fun that come with playing an adapted version of a well-known sport. The ‘Game On’-themed First Thursdays proved one thing loud and clear: when it comes to sports and community, there are no limits to what can be achieved.

UCLA student Clarissa Lesky poses in front of the wheelchair basketball court. She is wearing a white UCLA sweater and sunglasses, and is sitting in a sports wheelchair with her arms spread out.
Pictured are First Thursdays attendees playing wheelchair basketball and shooting hoops together. Games were played throughout the night, led in partnership by members of PlayLA and UCLA Adaptive Rec.

For detailed information about the Disability Studies Sports and Society Lab, visit:

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