"An internet meme come to life," the Battle of the Joshes has been a bright spot for many in the midst of a dreary pandemic.
Last year, just as most countries went into complete lockdowns, a Josh Swain decided that there could only be one Josh. Reportedly, he was frustrated by the fact that he could never use his own name as usernames across various social media platforms as Josh Swain was always taken. Therefore, after adding a bunch of different Josh Swains on Facebook to a group thread, he challenged them to a duel scheduled to take place one year later on April 24, 2021. While no one expected the battle to actually take place, an army of Joshes decided to surprise us all. After a friendly fued for naming rights, a four-year-old Josh was finally named victor, BBC News reports.
The event, which took place in a park in Lincoln, Nebraska, began with an epic game of rock, paper, scissors between organizer Josh Swain and another Josh Swain from Omaha. Ultimately, the former Josh won. That is, before a huge pool noodle fight broke out between all the Joshes who were in attendance. Dozens of Joshes, some in Jedi costumes and others in Spiderman costumes, took up arms in order to claim naming rights. The rules were that if a pool noodle were to touch you, you were disqualified from the battle.
It's almost time.. pic.twitter.com/kdJBTZJaJr— My name is too long (@MyNameIsWayTooL) April 23, 2021
A huge crowd cheered on their respective Joshes, with some even making the perfect brackets (of course, the winner would be Josh!). In the end, four-year-old Josh was crowned the One True Josh. As the victor, he received a Burger King crown, a champion's belt, and a small trophy. "From the start, it was a spectacle," said journalist Yousef Nazzer who covered the event. "I would describe it as an internet meme come to life." He added that the battle was, nonetheless, not just an internet meme. It sparked a charity fundraising drive and raised over $8,000 for a local children's hospital.
Swain, who claimed he began the Facebook group thread in "a spell of pandemic boredom," was surprised to see the turnout of Joshes for the battle he had called for. He stated in an interview with the Associated Press, "I did not expect people to be as adamant about this as they are right now." However, the turnout may not have come as quite a shock to others. When he posted a screenshot of the exchange on Twitter last year, it quickly went viral. The original post currently has over 64,200 likes. It has also been retweeted over 21,500 times.
In the midst of the pandemic, the Battle of the Joshes has lifted up spirits across the world. Across social media platforms, users have posted about how the event "restored their faith in humanity" and brightened up their spirits. One user posted on Twitter, "This [was] way too awesomely funny and fun! Keep up the light-heartedness and putting smiles on people's faces throughout the country in complete and total spite of the sh*t show that's going on in our country and the world. You Joshes rock! Keep having fun!"