Most mornings, Bo Jordan is awake bright and early to head to a morning workout or practice.
As a student in athletic training, he attends his classes until about 2 p.m. only to return to the weight room for another lift and another practice until around 5 p.m.
The wrestler then takes an ice bath, showers and cleans himself up before he returns home for the night. But instead of hanging out with his teammates or heading to a bar, the redshirt junior comes home to dinner and playtime with his wife and 11-month-old daughter.
This is not the typical day for most student athletes, let alone average college students. While the 22-year-old holds the responsibilities of being a student at Ohio State and an All-American wrestler on his broad shoulders, he also has the responsibility of being a husband and father in his home life.
“Honestly, everyone always asks me, ‘How do you do it?’ Or they will tell me, ‘It seems so hard.’ But it’s easier. It’s honestly easier,” Jordan said. “I’m not out partying or doing anything stupid. I’m in, spending time with my wife and daughter, getting my homework done and I’m living a real clean life, and it’s easy.”
Bo isn’t the only Jordan on the Ohio State wrestling team, as his younger brother Micah is a redshirt sophomore. Micah is just one of Bo’s many teammates who wonders how he balances all of his responsibilities in his life.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘How does he do it.’ But he’s really strong and he is really mentally tough,” Micah said. “He still puts time in with his family, with his wife and his daughter, and also he still spends a lot of time in the wrestling room.”
For Bo, living with his wife Ashley and their daughter Keira meant he had to change his lifestyle. At first, he said it was different for him because he had to prioritize his motivations and let go of some things he was used to, such as playing video games for several hours a day. But he drifted away from those activities and now is accustomed to life with his family.
“Now it’s like I can’t wait to get out of practice and to go home and see my daughter. I can’t wait to get out of practice to just go hang out with my wife and watch some Netflix. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s awesome,” Jordan said. “I love my life and it’s very, very different.”
OSU wrestling assistant coach J Jaggers said that Jordan is able to balance being a wrestler, a student, a husband and a father because of his maturity.
“One of the adjectives that comes to mind when you think of Bo is that he is a mature kid,” Jaggers said, “He knows what he values, and that is evident in his relationship with his wife, the kind of father he is and the teammate and brother he is.”
Head coach Tom Ryan said that Jordan recognizes what it takes to be able to manage and maintain his lifestyle.
“He understands what a real man acts like in society, and real men uphold their responsibilities,” Ryan said. “He has done a great job at managing his home life … because he was raised in a way that you take care of your own stuff. We call it flying your own plane. You take a hold of the wheel and you fly, so he has been a great example of that.”
When he and his then-girlfriend, now wife, found out that they were going to be parents, it was in the middle of the team’s 2015 national championship run. Jordan waited about two months to say anything to the coaches because he was concerned that they would be upset with him.
But Jordan couldn’t have been more wrong.
A few days after the team won the national championship, Jordan called Ryan to tell him about the news.
“I was kind of tearing up and didn’t know what to say,” Jordan said. “He went, ‘Holy crap. Holy crap.’ He said that three times, and then he started dying laughing, and I didn’t know whether to start laughing or crying because I didn’t know what was going on. But then he goes, ‘Hey man, that’s life. I love ya. What can I do to help.’”
Ryan said he knows that Jordan has a great circle of people around him whom he can go to for advice and counseling, but he was happy that Jordan decided to give him a call.
“I was excited. I was like, ‘Look, can you imagine how many loving people are going to be in your daughter’s life,’” Ryan said. “It was a good, healthy conversation and it was about faith, God and the meaning of life.”
Jordan knew that the coaches didn’t recruit him expecting he would be married and have a child by his junior year, so the support from his coaching staff was everything to him and his wife,” Jordan said.
“When you say when you are recruiting somebody that ‘I’ll be there for you through the thick and thin,’ it sounds good, but it’s not so easy to apply sometimes,” Ryan said. “I think he has seen firsthand that we love him not only as a wrestler, but as a human being. Not only as someone that can score points for us and win national titles for us, but as a man and as a person.”
The couple was married before Keira was born. Jordan said that, along with getting married, becoming a dad was the proudest moment of his life.
“Before that, it was always the wrestling that was the proudest moment. I won four state championships in high school and came in third twice in the national tournament at Ohio State. But now, what means the most to me is just my wife and our little girl,” Jordan said. “That’s crazy because I’ve been wrestling since I was 6 years old, and I have had my daughter for a year. Nothing compares to that.”
Not only did the coaches of the wrestling team support Jordan and his wife when they were going through the process of getting married and having their child, but so did his teammates.
“When Bo’s daughter was born, a lot of the team went over to the hospital and got to see Bo, his wife and Keira,” Micah Jordan said. “The whole team just embraced Bo’s relationship with his wife and his daughter. It was amazing.”
This upcoming season will be his second season as a married man and a father, but it also marks a few more changes for the wrestler.
The first change is that the four-time time state champion at St. Paris Graham High School will move up to a higher weight class. In his first two seasons wrestling at OSU, Jordan wrestled at the weight of 165 pounds. He finished twice as the runner-up at the Big Ten championships and third at the NCAA championships.
But this season, he will be competing at 174 pounds.
“I think he will be better there. I think he will feel better there. He’s got a huge frame, and he is just more of a wrestler of great strength,” Ryan said. “He was ranked No. 1 in the country at 174, so that’s a pretty good indication of what the country thinks of him.”
Although Jordan has yet to wrestle competitively at the weight, he said that he feels good in the practice room and is looking forward to competing. He knows there are expectations of him and his teammates, but he feels like the sky’s the limit this season.
“As far as attaching an accolade as a goal, you can say it, but it doesn’t need to be said,” Jaggers said. “But if Bo competes his hardest and his hardest gets him fourth place in the country, then we are going to wrap our arms around him and give him a hug and be so proud of him.”
The other change in Jordan’s life this season comes away from the mat. He and Ashley are expecting their second child, a girl whom Jordan said is due on November 25.
While Jordan’s education and wrestling career are both very important to him, he said that being married and being a father helps him deal with the stress that wrestling and school can bring.
“I feel like when I wasn’t married and I didn’t have a kid, it was all business. I really didn’t relax as much, and I didn’t really take my mind off wrestling,” Jordan said. “But now when I go home, I have a little girl that will run up to me and give me hugs and kisses. It’s just a whole different world, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I could do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way 10 times.”