The Battle of Josh was a viral Internet meme, mock fight, and charity fundraiser at Air Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 24, 2021. The event was originally conceived by a civil engineering student named Josh Swain from Tucson, Arizona, on April 24, 2020. It gained popularity after a screenshot of a Facebook Messenger group chat involving several users named Josh Swain spread widely on the Internet.

Josh fight
DateApril 24, 2021; 7 months ago (2021-04-24)
VenueAir Park, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Coordinates40°51′31″N 96°47′03″W / 40.858689°N 96.784136°W / 40.858689; -96.784136Coordinates: 40°51′31″N 96°47′03″W / 40.858689°N 96.784136°W / 40.858689; -96.784136
Organized byJosh Swain
Participants900+

Swain encouraged participants of the chat to meet at a set of coordinates and compete for the right to use the name "Josh." The event, though initially intended as a joke, drew a crowd of nearly a thousand on the day of the event. Despite the title, the gathering was lighthearted and there was no actual violence involved. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the event became a "global news phenomenon."[1]

BackgroundEdit

On April 24, 2020, several Facebook Messenger users named Josh Swain were added to a group chat that read,

– You're probably wondering why I've gathered you all here today[.]

– Because we all share the same names....?

– Precisely, 4/24/2021, 12:00 PM, meet at these coordinates, (40°49′20″N 96°47′54″W / 40.8223286°N 96.7982002°W / 40.8223286; -96.7982002) we fight, whoever wins gets to keep the name, everyone else has to change their name, you have a year to prepare, good luck[.]

joshua swain Twitter
@joshswainaz

there can only be one https://pic.twitter.com/VPamxjJ0yL

April 24, 2020[2]

Swain explained the idea for the event was conceived out of boredom from the COVID-19 lockdowns and out of frustration from being unable to receive an exclusive handle on social media due to the high frequency of people who shared his name, but did not expect the invitation to go viral.[3][4] Swain posted a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter the same day. The tweet received over 64 thousand likes and 21 thousand retweets within two weeks.[3][4][2]

Although Swain said the tweet was "entirely a joke," the conversation became a meme on social media.[5][6] Days before the event, Swain took to Reddit in order to announce a fundraiser for the event to benefit the Children's Hospital & Medical Center (CH&MC) Foundation in Omaha, along with a request for non-perishables to start a food drive for the Food Bank of Lincoln.[3][5][7] In the same post, Swain encouraged attendees to bring pool noodles as mock weapons for the planned fight.[8]

Swain picked Lincoln, Nebraska, as a site for the event due to its central location within the United States, with the specific, randomly picked coordinates being located in a field on private property. The field's owner, however, did not agree to host "such a ridiculous event,"[9] and as such the fight was relocated to Air Park, approximately 2.6 miles (4.2 km) away.[10][11]

EventEdit

On the chosen day, nearly a thousand people, including at least 50 named Josh, congregated at Air Park.[3][12][13] Attendees came from as far as New York, Washington, and Texas, with some dressed in superhero and Star Wars costumes.[14][15][16] Three "fights" were held – one game of rock paper scissors for those named Josh Swain, a second with pool noodles for all attendees named Josh, and a third and final all-in battle for anyone in possession of a pool noodle willing to participate.[9][17]

Only two of the individuals in attendance were named "Josh Swain" – Josh Swain, the event's creator, beat a rival 38-year-old Josh Swain from Omaha in the rock paper scissors event.[1][12][18] A local five-year-old boy named Josh Vinson Jr., dubbed "Little Josh," who had been treated at the CH&MC for seizures when he was two years old, was declared the overall winner. Vinson Jr. was crowned with a paper coronet from Burger King as well as a replica AEW World Championship belt.[11][18][19] Vinson Jr.'s father, Josh Vinson Sr., said afterward that his son "had the time of his life."[1]

The gathering raised US$14,355 for the Children's Hospital &Medical Center Foundation—far past its initial goal of US$1,000—and collected over 200 pounds (90 kg) of food for the nearby food bank.[3][20] The CH&MC has since shown appreciation for the fundraiser on social media.[21] On May 6, Josh Cellars, a Californian winery, decided to triple the donation by donating $30,000 to the funds.[22] The Wall Street Journal wrote that the event became a "global news phenomenon."[1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Gay, Jason (April 26, 2021). "The Day People Named Josh Fought in Nebraska". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  2. ^ a b joshua swain [@joshswainaz] (April 24, 2020). "there can only be one pic.twitter.com/VPamxjJ0yL" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 15, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b c d e Paybarah, Azi (April 26, 2021). "Josh Is the Name, and They Will Fight You for It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Pellot, Emerald (April 20, 2021). "What is the Josh fight? Social media users are preparing for an epic battle". In The Know. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Vlamis, Kelsey. "Hundreds of people named Josh met up in Lincoln, Nebraska, to battle with pool noodles over their shared name, videos show". Insider. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "There Can Only Be One: Battle Of The Joshes Brings Hundreds To Nebraska". NPR.org. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Page, Sydney (April 27, 2021). "'Josh Fight' began online a year ago. Last weekend, a crowd of people named Josh showed up to duel with pool noodles". Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 28, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  8. ^ Swain, Josh (April 21, 2021). "IMPORTANT: I am Josh Swain, and here are the official details of the event. See you soon". Reddit. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Hammack, Zach (April 22, 2021). "Calling all Josh Swains: The battle for your name is taking place right here in Lincoln". Lincoln Journal Star. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Springman, Ashley (April 24, 2021). "VIDEO: Viral event 'Josh Fight' chooses Lincoln as its battleground". KLKN-TV. Archived from the original on April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Best, Paul (April 24, 2021). "Nebraska Josh fight: Horde of dudes named Josh fight for right to name". Fox News. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Hundreds show up in Nebraska for fight over name Josh". Associated Press. April 24, 2021. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  13. ^ Raphael, Shannon. "Remember that Viral "Joshua Fight" Meme? It Actually Happened, and It Was Epic". Distractify. Archived from the original on April 25, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  14. ^ "Josh fight: Crowds show up in US park for pool noodle battle to win rightful ownership of their name". Sky News. Archived from the original on April 25, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  15. ^ Viral pool noodle brawl started as a 'pandemic boredom' joke (Video). CNN. April 25, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Cohen, Kelly (April 25, 2021). "The #JoshFight is over, all hail 'Little Josh' and his pool noodle skills". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  17. ^ Saxena, Akanksha. "Ultimate 'Josh' Fight: Hundreds of men named 'Josh' come to Nebraska to fight over their name". www.timesnownews.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Seline, Libby (April 24, 2021). "'Little Josh' dubbed winner of the Battle of the Joshes; community also benefits from event". Lincoln Journal-Star. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  19. ^ Nambiar, Prerna (April 25, 2021). "Who won the Josh fight? Here's what happened at the event!". HITC. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  20. ^ Evans, Greg (April 25, 2021). "4-year-old boy triumphs of hundreds of man with same name in first-ever 'Josh Fight'". www.indy100.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  21. ^ Children's [@ChildrensOmaha] (April 24, 2021). "#JoshFight is trending, and we are the lucky recipients of this viral fundraising event! So far, the Joshes have raised $8,000! So awesome! 🙌" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ "#JoshFight fundraiser tripled thanks to 'Josh' inspired business". KLKN-TV. May 6, 2021. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.