Tom Balek began playing softball in 1969 with his neighborhood friends in local leagues on Chicago’s Southwest side. From the early ’70s until the late-’90s, Tom was a softball junkie, playing more than 150 games every year. He played in the early ’70s with Touch at Tom Bonen’s Bridgeview complex. Tom then moved to Tahoe in 1977. They won the Kelly Park League and the City of Chicago championship in 1980. Tom rejoined Touch in 1982 at Kelly Park and in other leagues. In 1985 they won the Kelly Park title, beating Otto’s and the Whips for the championship. Also in 1985 they won the City of Chicago championship and the ASA Nationals, beating the Safari Tigers. In 1986 and ’87 he played for Aces and helped them win the “A” Nationals in 1987, beating Touch of Class for the title. The following year he helped form Jynx. They won the NSA National title in 2000, beating the Rebels. Tom was named tournament MVP. Although he no longer plays for them, Tom helps manage Jynx, a team that is still together after twenty-three years. In 2010 he received the Terry Moran Sportsmanship Award. He has been fortunate enough to have played with and against the best players for the past forty years. Tom is a retired schoolteacher and lives in Chicago.