In sports, fairytale endings are usually that: fairytales

Sports fans are all too familiar with the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Our local basketball teams are a case in point.

The ongoing success of Tabor College men’s and women’s basketball is remarkable. If dynasty isn’t the right term, try juggernaut. Both teams annually continue to win either the conference or KCAC post-season tournament.

The fact that Tabor continues to win so frequently speaks volumes about the coaching staffs and the student-athletes they recruit.

The Hillsboro High School boys also had a great year, and while their state tournament appearances haven’t occurred frequently in recent years, Coach Knoll and his team exceeded the expectations of many. I smiled when I learned the Trojans made the state tournament.

I like it when good things happen to good people like Tabor men’s coach Micah Ratzlaff, Tabor women’s coach Shawn Reed and HHS coach Darrel Knoll.

A number of years ago when I was officiating a mid-season tournament game in El Dorado, Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel asked me how Coach Knoll was doing. It was an uncommonly tough season for HHS that year, and Fiegel was genuinely concerned about his long-time rival. He asked me to pass along some encouraging words to the Hillsboro coach.

Think about it. Coaches and players put in hours and hours of time and effort during the course of a long basketball season. In addition, student-athletes spend countless hours in the offseason working on weights, their shooting skills and more.

The majority of college and high school teams don’t experience nearly as much success as the three teams I’ve highlighted this season.

Of course, there were some teams that experienced more success than Tabor and HHS. Even for our local teams that had the privilege of playing in the postseason, the season didn’t end in victory.

Only a few teams finish the season with a win, which is the ultimate goal.

Hillsboro has managed to win a state championship and has come close on other occasions, but it doesn’t happen often.

Tabor’s men’s basketball team has qualified to play in the national tournament quite often in recent years, but they haven’t yet won a national championship. Their best recent run was this year when they made it to the quarterfinals. Quite a few years ago, they made it all the way to the Final Four of the NAIA Tournament, but came up short.

Tabor’s women have made it to the quarterfinals on a couple of occasions recently, but haven’t been able to win it all either.

This year, the HHS boys made it to state, but lost a heartbreaker on a last-second shot to the No. 1 seed, which went on to win the state title.

So this season ended in a loss for all three teams. The ups and downs are the beauty and frustrating part of sports.

No matter how good the season goes, when it ends with a loss, there’s obviously disappointment and some pain. Losing hurts, at least for a time. But after a while, coaches and athletes begin to appreciate the many successes they had along the way.

In that sense, sports mirrors life. No matter how much effort and work we put in, we have our victories and we have our disappointments. The important thing isn’t so much if we win it all, but have we done our best to reach or come as close to our potential as we humanly can? When all is said and done, it’s important that we pick ourselves up and try again.

The excitement generated by our local teams was wonderful.

We would have preferred a fairytale ending, but that doesn’t take anything away from what each team accomplished this year.

Congratulations to all for providing us with yet another reason to cheer!

Hillsboro resident Joe Klein­sasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Klein­