My dad worked a lot of swing shift when I was growing up. What did that mean for us as a family? There were times when we had to be really quiet during the day so he could get his sleep. There were times when he was grouchy because of the toll the hours took on his system.
Those details were just minor players in the bigger picture of what swing shift meant. Swing shift meant that my dad was home during the prime playtime hours of the day. We could wrestle, play ball, and just get to know each other. It was like having free MMA exercise programs.
I remember my dad teaching my brother and I how to play Wiffleball in the cul-de-sac where we grew up. My dad was a teacher and mediator for all the neighborhood kids. In that paved field of dreams, my dad taught us more than how to play a game; he taught us how to get excited about life in general. My dad would jump up and down when anyone got a hit. He would razz us when we struck out, and he was always patient enough to give the younger kids four, five, and even six strikes.
Manhole covers and mailboxes served as bases. The curb at the far end of the court was the fence and an automatic homerun. We were using our imaginations to create our own make-believe stadium, and it was all because of my dad.