SALEM — Beverly’s Rob Bradford asked Red Sox slugger David Ortiz for some advice as to what to tell the 14 nominees during last night’s 52nd annual Salem News Student-Athlete Award banquet at Finz Restaurant.
Ortiz had two requests. The first was for Bradford to take a selfie with the outstanding crop of nominees, a timely reference to the World Series MVP’s recent self photo with President Barack Obama during the Red Sox’ visit to the White House two days ago.
The other piece of advice wasn’t as steeped in popular culture, but it was certainly meaningful.
“Find out who you are as quickly as you can,” Bradford shared. “It’s more important to know who you are than it is to know what you want to do. When you know who you are, you’ll be making informed decisions.”
A 1987 graduate of Hamilton-Wenham Regional, Bradford is the editor of WEEI.com. He’s covered the Red Sox for more than a decade, filling various roles from beat writer to radio and television analyst.
A former Salem News sports reporter, Bradford lives in Beverly with his wife Jennifer and three children, and was honored to be the guest speaker for the News Student-Athlete Award banquet.
“I’m thrilled to be here,” he said to the 14 nominees from area high schools, their families and guests. “You’ve all accomplished so much and have much to be proud of. You should give you parents a standing ovation for all their help, too.”
Bradford’s message was one of staying true to yourself. So often in life, jobs, school work and other duties will pull you in one direction or another, and you’ll have to make decisions about how to handle it. Making those decisions with the kind of person you want to be in mind, rather than the results, is the way to go, he said.
“You’re going to make mistakes, but if you make decisions that way then those decisions will be from educated opinions,” said Bradford.
“It’s not always going to be easy,” he added. “But it’s going to be more important to find out who you want to be.”