Josh Swain of Arizona was, after all, joshing. He by no means actually meant to battle anybody who shared his title, however what was he alleged to do? Every time Mr. Swain went to register for a social media account below his title, he was foiled. “It’s always been taken,” Mr. Swain mentioned. What’s much more weird: “I have never met a Josh Swain.”

That left Mr. Swain, a 22-year-old civil engineering scholar at the University of Arizona, with a deep sense of curiosity that naturally changed into 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 gaggle chat to settle the matter.

“You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today,” he wrote one morning to a gaggle 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 actual one, took a display screen shot of the message and posted it on Twitter on April 24, 2020 (reluctantly utilizing his full title and the suffix AZ). With it, he wrote, merely, “there can be only one.”

The message was favored and shared greater than 85,000 occasions. Then, one thing curious occurred. The web liked it. It turned a real supply of humor amid a really grim yr of pandemic losses.

Since posting the tweet, Mr. Swain’s buddies would sometimes ship him messages saying they noticed folks 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 technique to a brisk spring.

Someone even arrange a website counting all the way down to the battle.

At one level, he determined to show the consideration 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 fairly, 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 truly present up. And he didn’t need to be the type of Josh Swain who invited folks to a battle and didn’t present up himself. So, he purchased an airplane ticket a few 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 at the park round 11 a.m. to scope out the location. By midday, the others had arrived.

By Mr. Swain’s estimation, about 1,000 folks turned out, all ready for a good-humored romp. About 950 had been spectators, and 50 folks had the first title Josh. But solely a kind of Joshes was a Josh Swain — the title 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 first 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 almost not possible to trigger harm. The play combating was intense.

The Josh Swain mentioned he noticed folks collapsing (humorously) amid the mayhem. Many, he mentioned, had been lower 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 at 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 folks donated slightly greater than $11,000 to the basis. Attendees additionally introduced more than 100 pounds of meals, which was donated to the Food Bank of Lincoln, he mentioned.

After all the Joshes had fought, the tons of 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 might 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 in the Marvel films, and Josh Gad, the actor who starred in the “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway and each “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” weren’t returned Sunday night time.

Still, The Josh Swain mentioned he thinks of his title otherwise now.

“I’m a Josh,” he used to assume 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.”

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