Monday, June 25, 2012


This week is Vacation Bible School (VBS) week at my church, which means my wife and kids are gone several weeknights in a row, and I've got about three hours to run errands child-free and enjoy some much-needed Mike time. Last night, I spent that time taking care of some stuff for the church and then playing soccer with other area soccer-loving adults. Two hours of 8 v. 8 recreational fun. In the rain. It was awesome.

Tonight, after a couple of not-so-exciting errands, I took a different course. I sat down at my music computer to record a song I composed two years ago. Typically, these short little sessions are just throw-away material -- opportunities for me to learn some new recording technique or test out some half-baked song ideas. But tonight's result was something I felt was worth keeping. And not just keeping, but sharing. So, here's the fruit of this evening's labor.

Download the MP3:

by: C. Michael Pilato

Father, please forgive my common heresy,
Where I picture You as merely a bigger sort of me.
But You are everything,
And in your grace I'm begging to remain.

Sometimes I'm afraid
With a fear of the unknown.
So I choose to do things my own way
And not the way You've shown.
But You are everywhere,
And when I call You promise you will come
And offer me some

Freedom from fear; freedom to love;
Freedom to search for You and all that You've spoken of;
Freedom to move slowly ever close...

Father, please forgive when
I shut my ears and eyes
To the many things You've promised
And I hear only lies.
You have always been,
And Truth is what You will forever be:
A Truth that offers me

Freedom from fear; freedom to love;
Freedom to search for You and all that You've spoken of;
Freedom to move slowly ever close,
And oh, the freedom to know You!
I obviously didn't go out of my way to doll up the recording. Very little equalization, and just some stock effects and judicious panning. But I was pretty pleased with some of the tones in the recording. My Taylor guitar really comes across well. And I had this odd idea of playing a tom drum with brushes which, I think, really paid off, offering both low- and higher-pitched attacks all in a single track. Fun stuff. I'd love to make a whole collection of stuff that feels this organic. Maybe after nine more years of VBSes, I'll have done exactly that!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Soccer Rockets, and the joining of the two sons

This past youth soccer season was a unique one for our family because Gavin and Aidan's ages aligned such that both of them could be on the same team. There are obvious practical benefits to this as a parent: you have half as many practices and matches to attend, infinitely fewer schedule conflicts to deal with, and only one team patch to design (if you're like me and simply can't make yourself stop doing that):

Fortunately, the benefits weren't limited to solely the practical ones. The Soccer Rockets (as the team was called) was a great group of kids from highly varied soccer backgrounds. It's pretty normal for coaches' kids to bring a good deal of experience to the field, and this was certainly the case for my boys and my assistant coach's son. Offsetting this were several players who'd never played the sport before, each bringing different levels of general athleticism, "coachability", natural hustle and aggression, etc. to the field. It was great to see all the players growing in their individual skill levels over the course of the season. But as I think back on the Soccer Rocket season (which, by the stats, was a pretty mediocre one), I'm thrilled by the evidence of the early stages of true team play.

At this age level, I'm pretty happy if I can get the players to pass the ball much at all. There's still such a tendency to want to keep the ball until it is taken off your feet, and to a point, that's no bad thing. As a coach, I want to tread carefully when instructing so that passing is understood as an advantageous and intentional offensive tactic, not just something you do when you're too scared to hold onto the ball yourself. Fortunately, several of the players "got it" and were starting to work in pairs and threesomes to move the ball around the field together. More surprising to me was that these young players (and these are kids under nine years old, mind you) were also beginning to openly communicate with each other on the field -- giving helpful direction to each other on set pieces and throw-ins, calling for passes, and so on.

So once again, another season gets filed in the history books, and we look forward to enjoying the summer break before doing it all over again in the fall, when Gavin will age up into the U11 (boys-only) league, and we'll be back to two practices and two games per week as a family. The single-team thing was definitely good while it lasted!