Teacher and Coach Chad Johnston told the seniors opportunity is born from great adversity.

Coach: No education like adversity

“Life is wonderful and it should never be taken for granted. But life is filled with tests and these tests come with lessons. Many of these lessons will come in forms of adversity,” Minneota teacher and coach Chad Johnston told Minneota graduates on Sunday.

Johnston, who has coached several state championship football and girls’ basketball teams, urged students to, “When adversity strikes, to show resilience and deal with adversity, regardless of the cause.”

He told them they’d become better and stronger people. Johnston shared from his own personal experiences by relating a “personal struggle that had a significant impact on my life.” He told the seniors, “I almost never became a head girls’ basketball coach.”

After being an assistant, he had the opportunity as head coach. “I questioned my desire to continue down that path,” he said. The struggles included “parental involvement and clashing personalities with the players I was dealing with.”

Issues apparently built over time. “I burst and had an emotional breakdown,” said the coach. He recalls being so frustrated he wanted to quit.

“I was thinking I didn’t need this in my life and there would be so many other things I could do with my time.” That would have ended his coaching career. “Fortunately, that call was not made and I stayed committed to finishing the season and eventually that allowed me the opportunity to become head coach.”

He said he thinks about the many wonderful memories and great people he’s had the opportunity to work with. “And it almost didn’t happen — all because I couldn’t handle a little adversity.”

Now, he’s thankful he stayed the course and his programs have had great success, including multiple state championships.

“Not that it came easy. There have been plenty of challenges along the way. But I’m a better person because of these experiences and this is the type of behavior I’d like to model for all my students and athletes.”

Johnston called life a journey and said, “Success can come to people in a variety of ways and each one of you is going to take your own individual path to reach it.”

He urged the seniors to, “Never stop learning.” He added, “Step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to stumble. You will make mistakes, and there will be obstacles. But history is filled with stories of people who had to overcome great obstacles and adversity to achieve great things.”

He added that, “No life is smooth sailing. We all are going to face challenges. But it’s this adversity, and more specifically our resilience that makes us strong and successful.”

Coach Johnston quoted Benjamin Disraeli when he concluded by saying, “There is no education like adversity.”

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