The past few Monday nights - and a few more ahead of us - have brought JediBoy and I to Kinsmen Arena for an hour or so. He spends the time sussing out any latent artistic ability in a cartooning class. I spend the time drinking horrid Concession coffee and reading Gibson's not-horrid Spook Country. All in all, it's a good opportunity for us both to get out of the house for awhile and do something fun and non-productive.
While Jediboy draws his elipses and caricatures in a relatively soundproofed 'community room' on the upper floor, I camp out on the nearby padded benches and filter out the sounds of Our National Pasttime being waged all around me. Inevitably, those sounds' contributors include a small gaggle of younger kids forced to amuse themselves while Mom, Dad, and Grandparents watch the older siblings chase pucks - dreams of a professional career secretly (and sometimes overtly) dancing before everyone's eyes.
In all, the whole thing works in a way that makes me glad to be Canadian. But this past Monday held something new in its cosy, arena-lined pocket. The usual gaggle of kids was predominently female with ages ranging from 6-ish to 10-ish. They gathered at a small table nearby with colouring supplies, chattering over top of each other. All of this was typical for our Monday nights.
All at once, they started singing in unison - perfect unison. Their song, Katy Perry's insufferable guilty pleasure, I Kissed A Girl. They knew all the words and actually sounded quite practised at singing this little ditty. The nearby parents cheered and clapped, which produced the inevitable encore performance.
I'm not a prude or Pollyanna by any measure. But it made me feel so genuinely sad - mere children with little scraps of their of innocence needlessly stolen away. Sometimes I question wether I've been too protective of my own kids, and sometimes I get an answer.