WAPAKONETA — Rep. Jim Jordan discussed the lessons he learned as a former athlete and presented his “formula for success” to some 70 students in schools across northwest Ohio on Wednesday as part of an event hosted by the Western Buckeye League Sportsmanship Committee.
The committee, comprised of four to six student-athletes from each of the 10 WBL schools, meets four times a year to discuss “daily challenges students face,” said Jayson Selgo, principal of Ottawa-Glandorf High School and an adviser of the committee. Part of these challenges, Selgo said, involve sportsmanship.
“The purpose of the group is to encourage sportsmanship among WBL schools,” Selgo said. “When the time comes to compete against each other, we compete, but we’re also cheering for each other.”
Selgo said he invited Jordan to speak with the committee because he shares a similar background with the students, and has been successful in his post-athletic career.
Jordan, a Champaign County native, was a four-time state champion wrestler with Graham High School. He was also a two-time NCAA wrestling champion with the University of Wisconsin, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. The congressman has been involved in politics since 1994 when he was first elected as state representative.
Jordan said the lessons he learned as a student-athlete have helped shaped the politician and man he is today.
“Discipline is the most important character quality I learned by competing in high school athletics that is necessary to accomplish things of meaning and significance,” Jordan said. “I try to be as disciplined as I can about how I go about my responsibilities as a member of Congress, and sports have certainly helped teach me those principles.”
Jordan also presented what he called his “formula for success,” a three-step process that involves setting goals, hard work and commitment.
“There’s a lot of people who set goals, even a lot of people who set goals and work pretty darn hard, but the ones who actually accomplish them are the ones who fully commit and accept the risk,” he said.
Jordan said taking risks may lead to failure, but it is all worth it if you continue to work hard. He continued by saying the way a person picks themselves back up is a lot like sportsmanship.
“If you fall short, you learn from it and you handle it the right way — that’s true sportsmanship,” he said. “You move on from it, you get back to setting goals and then you work hard to accomplish them.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.