Yeah I never took park lessons. I spent a lot of time in the park in my early teens, just screwing around. As long as you have the park etiquette who cares if you bail. If you don't bail once in a while you're not trying hard enough!
So just get in there and try it out. Watch what other people do as far as etiquette. Generally if it's busy you'll have to line up for features and you should say "dropping" as you're heading for the feature.
If you can find a park with small features, start there and get really comfy on those before moving up.
I wouldn't be so discouraged as far as competing goes. I snowboarded for fun until my high school got a ski/snowboard team, then I competed in a few carving races at the provincial level. Got 6th out of over 100 competitors and I was wearing my baggy shit and long toque while some of these guys were wearing skin tight sperm suits. lol
If there are fun competitions near you that'd be great to get into.
It's sort of like auto racing. People will be quick to say that if you weren't racing go carts while you were still in the womb, you'll never make it into Formula 1, but you can still have a blast at local races, rally's etc.
One of my local mountains has a big mountain challenge, where it's sort of like a scavenger hunt/race. You have to map out your route to be able to catch all the flags with the smallest number of trips up the lift, and obviously speed counts on the runs. People of all ages get into that.
If you're REALLY serious about competition I'd get a coach/trainer NOW, get on the trampoline, airbags, etc. and you could get into it. Amateur sports are pretty expensive until you're really good though.