The National Josh Fight: May the Best Josh Win


Angela Chien, Staff Writer

Hey Josh, did you go to the Josh fight? You didn’t win? Then, who did? Ah, Josh did. 

“There could only be one,” user Joshua Swain captioned on Twitter with a screenshot of a group chat exchange. On Apr. 24, 2020, Swain—out of boredom—added as many people he could find on Facebook who shared the same name as him to a group chat. But instead of exclaiming their commonality with his doppelgangers, Swain challenged them to a duel at a specific location, down to its coordinates. 

“Precisely, 4/24/2021, 12:00 PM, meet at these coordinates, (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,” said Swain in his texts to the other Josh Swains. 

Unbeknownst to Joshua Swain, this tweet became a viral meme with 64,000 likes and 21,000 retweets within the first two weeks. The seriousness and specificity of the time and location seemed to have reflected the heavy gravity of this event, inspiring hundreds of other Josh Swains to partake in the battle a year later after the tweet was sent. 

Initially, Swain orchestrated such playful grandiosity because he was bored at home from the lockdown. He also noted that the frustration of being unable to own an exclusive username on social media compelled him to come up with this idea, but it was a joke until the Internet responded with serious enthusiasm. 

The Josh Fight, or Josh vs Josh vs Josh, took place at Air Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. This, however, did not correspond with the coordinates given in the viral texts as the coordinates were actually a farm on a private property, whose owner did not agree to host the event. At Air Park, thousands of spectators congregated to witness the nation’s first Fight of the Joshs. At least 60 Joshs arrived in their best armor as they came from all parts of the country. Some arrived in style, whereas others fought—literally for their names—in Star Wars or Spiderman costumes. 

There were three fights in total. The first fight was a game of intense rock-paper-scissors meant for the Josh Swains. Of course, none other than Josh Swain, the event organizer, came out on top above other contenders. The second fight engaged all of the Joshs (just Josh, no need to be a Swain) who had brought a pool noodle. Participants and attendees were advised in advance to bring a pool noodle to mimic the slashes and clashes of a field battle. 

Then came the final showdown of the Joshs; this was meant for anyone in possession of a pool noodle and the will to engage in a fierce, relentless, but not deadly battle. As the battle dragged out, more people began to withdraw and retract, leaving the limelight to those with elite pool noodles and intriguing charisma. However, as the OG Josh Swain dictated in his viral tweet, “There could only be one.”

And the one in question emerged victorious. A local 5-year-old boy named Josh Vinson, Jr., also known as “Little Josh” to the rest of the Twitterverse, and his red noodle took the AEW World Championship belt and Burger King paper crown, which was evidently too big for his face. The crowd roared with support and raised him up like Simba in the opening scene of The Lion King

According to his father, who is also named Josh, Little Josh “had the time of his life.” 

Days before the event, Josh Swain announced a fundraiser for the event, which would benefit the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation in Omaha. The gathering amassed over $13,300 for the hospital, way over its initial goal of $1,000. Alongside the fundraiser was a campaign to start a food drive for the Food Bank of Lincoln. A request for non-perishable foods was put out to the attendees, who then brought over 200 pounds of food for the food bank. 

It’s events like the Josh Fight, born out of immediacy from the internet coupled with sheer enthusiasm from hundreds of strangers and the audacity to take ideas farther than on paper, that acts as a reminder to the rest of us that life doesn’t always have to be so serious.  


Photo courtesy of TWITTER.COM