It’s 1:02 p.m. and a Eugene autumn is in full swing at the Churchill Sports Park. While orange, golden, red and fuchsia-stained leaves flee their branches, a handful of students have fled the campus.
Skateboards whiz past one another as young men and women kiss each other along the blue rail – tangled arms and hidden faces. Tobacco smoke fills the lungs of proud minors – passing the cigarette from person to person.
It may be 48 degrees, and school may be in session, but the skate park is the place to be. A young man with a wife beater and a shaven head awes the women with his impressive tricks – until his skateboard slips out from underneath him and his body rams into one of the ramps.
“F***,” he says. The women seem concerned, and clearly he is in pain, yet he shrugs it off (as if his knees weren’t gashed) and challenges the ramp again.
He nails the move. Immediately after, he grabs his board and runs to a young blonde woman for a smooch. Or two. Or three.
The gossip queens of the park sit adjacent to the ramps and half pipes. Provocative stories exchanged between them guarantee high school scandal. Drama. Rumors. It sounds like someone’s parents are out of town this weekend. These ladies have high expectations of the “shindig” scheduled Saturday evening.
“Will he cheat on her again?”
“Do you really think he’ll show up?”
“They better bring something other than Burnett’s!”
Back at the ramps, two couples find it difficult to come up for air – extended periods of lip-locking continue. For those who lack an exchange of saliva, there’s always chain-smoking.
thirty seconds of coughing …
twenty seconds of hacking … aaaannnddd wash it down with a Rockstar!
The same crowd occupies the park for the next ten minutes. They are camped out: Rockstars, Twizzlers, cigarrettes and jackets cover the concrete.
A strong sense of territory fills the air; the park is theirs. No one new comes in, and they all leave together. School is optional. Park time is mandatory.