Two public parks, Boggini Park and Brigadoon Park, will not resonate with the friends whom I’ve met in college or during adulthood. Of course, to the people whom I’ve known since elementary-, middle- and high school, these two public places hold a special — or not so special — place in our hearts and minds.
Allow me to describe the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: Boggini Park, which is adjacent to my middle school, is the area we ran around to complete the dreadful timed-mile in P.E. class. It’s the only time when students were allowed to leave an otherwise closed campus. And because of its convenient location, it’s also where our middle school football team held tryouts; it’s where we played baseball, and it’s an area that some of us used as a short-cut home.
The bad: Boggini Park is where students — who either couldn’t, or were unwilling to reconcile – would meet to fight. The two altercations that I remember most involved a guy named Jesse, and another involving my own brother. I’ll begin with the former. Jesse was such a bad-a** that his own dad showed up to watch him fight. To watch a father arrive to cheer his son on was awkward, intimidating, and surreal. To this day, I’m left scratching my head.
I don’t know what became of Jesse, but the last time I saw him (in the early ‘90s), he seemed to be doing relatively well.
The ugly: the latter altercation involved my older brother — who, incidentally, was no longer a student at my middle school, but was nonetheless, lured back to the park to fight. It didn’t go well … for the other guy. After landing the first punch, he was on the receiving end of a barrage of punches, and was knocked out cold.
Actually, I didn’t even witness the outcome. Because I had seen my brother fight a number of times, I decided to go to a nearby doughnut shop to buy a jelly-filled instead.
The Brigadoon Park experience was much different. It’s where my friends and I went to drink during high school — usually on Friday nights. While there were plenty of parks close to our own school (Independence H.S.), drinking at Brigadoon, which is across from Silver Creek High School, was a rite of passage. It probably had something to do with the cement slides that you see pictured here. There was something about going down these slides — buzzed or drunk.
Personally, I was never buzzed or drunk. I didn’t like beer back then, so I became the always-reliable designated driver. Of course, that’s not to say that I never tried. That said, it’s hard to quantify participating when my total consumption amounted to a few sips from a California Cooler and a half bottle of a Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler. I simply enjoyed being out with my friends — all wrestlers, all drinkers.
The most memorable night at Brigadoon involved beer and a white stallion. If I hadn’t seen it with my own sober eyes, I would have never believed it.
At or around midnight — when everyone’s alcohol level was well above .08 – we noticed a white horse running up the street. And if that wasn’t strange enough, one of our friends decided to give chase. The faster the horse ran, the faster he ran.
As much as I would have loved to see one of our biggest wrestlers attempt to take-down a stallion, it’s probably best that he never caught up to it.
Roughly three years after this night, I began to acquire a taste for beer (and liquor). My first inebriated experience didn’t involve a stallion; it involved El Torito, but neigh is not the time to get into that, so I’ll park that story for now.