Ernest Hooper, Assistant Sports Editor

Ernest Hooper

Assistant Sports Editor

When I look in the mirror every morning, I realize I like the guy looking back at me. Don't get me wrong. The man in the mirror comes with flaws. He needs to eat less, exercise more and try not to get so caught up in his own thoughts. But I still like him. I like having a wife willing to put up with all my flaws after nearly three decades of marriage. I like that God has blessed me with three children -- two sons and a daughter -- who have grown to become great young adults. I like that every morning I awaken excited about journalism, the awesome opportunity to connect with readers in ways both big and small. I love coffee, but serving Times readers represent my true caffeine. Most of all, I like that guy looking back at me -- all of his loves, all of his memories and all of his weird personality traits -- because he's still pushing to do more, be more and learn more. Nothing matters more than looking in that mirror and appreciating the man who looks back at me because that drives me to be better.

Which Ray needs to step up during the next six weeks?

Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, celebrating a three-run homer in the seventh inning against the Dodgers Wednesday, has now homered in three consecutive games, counting the inside-the park shot he had against Cleveland Thursday. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]
Tampa Bay has embarked on a stretch 34 games in 34 days and 47 in 48 days. Who needs to help save the day?

Is the Bucs' addition of Suh an attempt to change the culture?

Former Rams' defensive tackleNdamukong Suh (93) brings more of a surly attitude to the Bucs. Is that one of the factors that prompted Tampa Bay to essentially chose Suh to replace McCoy? (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A lot of factors impacted the decision including contracts, cap issues and performance. But is there more to the acquisition?

Clearwater’s Keith Thurman vows to end Manny Pacquiao’s career

Keith Thurman speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in New York. Thurman and Manny Pacquiao are scheduled to fight in a welterweight world championship boxing bout on Saturday, July 20, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
The man known as “One-Time” promises a win in the July 20 bout between the welterweight champions in Las Vegas

Gerald McCoy is leaving the Bucs. What’s his legacy in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) looks up toward fans after saying a prayer on the field before the final game of the season. (BRONTE WITTPENN | Times)
Last summer McCoy said we’d miss him when he’s gone. Now that he is, here’s a look at his legacy.

Is it time to go on the defensive to preserve equality?

In this May 17, 1954, file photo, George E.C. Hayes, left, Thurgood Marshall, center, and James M. Nabrit join hands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after justices declared in the Brown v. Board of Education decision that separate but equal schools for black children were unconstitutional. Three years after that ruling, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., to escort nine black children as they integrated Central High School. The 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine's enrollment is Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. [Associated Press]
To think we might revert in any way to a dark passage in our history should unnerve every American.