Josh Swain of Arizona was, in fact, joshing. He by no means actually supposed to battle anybody who shared his identify, however what was he presupposed to do? Every time Mr. Swain went to register for a social media account underneath his identify, he was foiled. “It’s always been taken,” Mr. Swain stated. What’s much more weird: “I have never met a Josh Swain.”
That left Mr. Swain, a 22-year-old civil engineering pupil on the University of Arizona, with a deep sense of curiosity that naturally was a little bit of mischief amid a extreme case of self-diagnosed “pandemic boredom.” So, final yr, he discovered 9 different Josh Swains and invited them to a bunch chat to settle the matter.
“You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today,” he wrote one morning to a bunch of strangers. “Precisely, 4/24/2021, 12:00 PM, meet at these coordinates” he instructed. “[W]e fight, whoever wins gets to keep the name, everyone else has to change their name, you have a year to prepare, good luck.”
Another Josh Swain replied, “Because we all share the same names….?”
Mr. Swain, the true one, took a display shot of the message and posted it on Twitter on April 24, 2020 (reluctantly utilizing his full identify and the suffix AZ). With it, he wrote, merely, “there can be only one.”
The message was preferred and shared greater than 85,000 instances. Then, one thing curious occurred. The web liked it. It grew to become a real supply of humor amid a really grim yr of pandemic losses.
Since posting the tweet, Mr. Swain’s mates would sometimes ship him messages saying they noticed individuals speaking about his problem as if it had been an actual upcoming occasion. And why not? People had been getting vaccinated. Pandemic restrictions had been lifting. Even harsh winter gave solution to a brisk spring.
Someone even arrange a website counting right down to the battle.
At one level, he determined to show the eye the occasion was gaining to good use. He created a fund-raising web page titled, “Support Legal Fees to Help Josh Swains Change Their Names*”
The *, he wrote, included a promise that donated cash wouldn’t go to any Josh Swain, however reasonably, to the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation, which operates amenities close to the designated battle floor in Lincoln, Neb. After one too many questions on what the heck this web page was for, he wrote a much less humorous, extra simple pitch for donations to the hospital. Money started to pour in.
Mr. Swain was turning into satisfied that any person else named Josh Swain would possibly really present up. And he didn’t need to be the form of Josh Swain who invited individuals to a battle and didn’t present up himself. So, he purchased an airplane ticket a couple of month in the past and flew on Friday to Lincoln, Neb. On Saturday, he went to the designated location: Air Park Green Area. He arrived on the park round 11 a.m. to scope out the placement. By midday, the others had arrived.
By Mr. Swain’s estimation, about 1,000 individuals turned out, all ready for a good-humored romp. About 950 had been spectators, and 50 individuals had the primary identify Josh. But solely a type of Joshes was a Josh Swain — the identify doppelgänger whom Mr. Swain had initially got down to meet.
So, on Saturday, there was not one Josh Fight, however two.
The Josh Swain battled The Other Josh Swain in rock, paper, scissors. The Josh Swain wore a grey T-shirt and darkish denims. The Other Josh Swain wore a black jacket with no sleeves and metallic studs. It was a one-game, winner-take-all battle. They tied the primary spherical. And the second spherical. And the third. In the fourth spherical, The Josh Swain threw a rock, The Other Josh Swain threw scissors. Winner: The Josh Swain!
“Everybody erupted,” The Josh Swain recalled. Graciously, he spared his rival the harshest of all punishments. “As my first decree as the official Josh Swain, I think he shouldn’t have to change his name.”
But The Josh Swain was not ready for what got here subsequent. The different Joshes had their very own battle, full with pool noodles, these lengthy, colourful foam tubes which might be practically inconceivable to trigger damage. The play preventing was intense.
The Josh Swain stated he noticed individuals collapsing (humorously) amid the mayhem. Many, he stated, had been reduce down by a 4-year-old named “Little” Josh Vinson Jr., whom The Josh Swain declared the winner of the Josh Fight. Little Josh’s father, Josh Sr. (no, significantly), instructed The Lincoln Journal Star that his son had suffered a collection of seizures when he was round 2, and was handled on the youngsters’s hospital the occasion was elevating cash for.
The Josh Swain said on Twitter the story “is making me sob.” By Sunday night, greater than 230 individuals donated just a little greater than $11,000 to the inspiration. Attendees additionally introduced more than 100 pounds of meals, which was donated to the Food Bank of Lincoln, he stated.
After all of the Joshes had fought, the a whole lot of different spectators bought in on the motion, joyously bashing one another with colourful foam noodles.
Despite the hourslong battle (and bruised egos), Mr. Swain by no means imagined this is able to actually settle as soon as and for all Josh supremacy. After all, neither his nor Little Josh’s victories had been formally acknowledged by different notable Joshes. Messages despatched to publicists for Josh Brolin, the actor who performed Thanos, the universe-ending villain within the Marvel films, and Josh Gad, the actor who starred within the “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway and each “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” weren’t returned Sunday night time.
Still, The Josh Swain stated he thinks of his identify otherwise now.
“I’m a Josh,” he used to suppose to himself. “After this, no no no. I am a Josh. I’m not just Josh. We’re all proud to be this moniker. And proud to represent it. Now it means something.”