"I REPEAT: THE JAMAICAN IS DOWN!" Every year during the Bee, my saddest moment comes when I howl the words "The Jamaican is Down!" at the TV screen. Mainly because, politically correct or not, there's a sense on the Spelling stage that the kids from Jamaica are the outsiders. I like the kids from Jamaica, I like their accents, I like the stiff, formal manners we've often seen from the Jamaican spellers. I like what's different. This year's lone Jamaican speller is Owayne Rodney, age 11. A Boy Scout, avid reader and cricket player, Owayne is, unlike the spelling stereotype, very well-rounded, a Renaissance man for the spelling ages. With 273 spellers taking the stage tomorrow, here's hoping he makes it through to be one of the 50 Spellers we enjoy on ESPN.
added: You can read about the Jamaican championship here, and his local paper has profiled Rodney as well, including a video feature below the fold: