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‘Battle of the Joshes’ more than absurd event

‘Battle of the Joshes’ more than absurd event


I’m a fan of the absurd.

That’s why when most people would recognize actor Chris Elliott from his role as Roland Schitt in “Schitt’s Creek,” I will forever remember him from the 1994 film “Cabin Boy.”

A clip of David Letterman uttering the line “Hey, would you like to buy a monkey?” could be placed under the definition of absurdity.

Now, if you question my taste, you would be correct. That’s why I may be the only one to remember — fondly even — a movie that made a whopping $3.7 million at the box office. That wasn’t much even in 1990s money.

But give me something that veers wildly towards the silly and ridiculous spectrum of humor, and I’ll appreciate it.

That’s why I loved the story of the Battle of the Joshes that took place last weekend in Lincoln.

An Arizona college student named Josh Swain faced pandemic boredom last April and started messaging 20 or so other Josh Swains on Facebook. He stated a random date — April 24, 2021 — and random coordinates that were in Lincoln.

“We fight, whoever wins gets to keep the name, everyone else has to change their name, you have a year to prepare, good luck,” Swain wrote.

It picked up popularity on social media, but Swain forgot about it until a few months ago.

He decided to come to Nebraska to fight for his name.

Swain switched the meeting place to Air Park instead of the original coordinates which led to a farm whose owner “did not agree to host such a ridiculous event,” he told the Lincoln Journal Star.

People were invited to bring pool noodles for some jousts — one for Josh Swains, another for anyone with the name of Josh.

When you see the video of many males swinging pool noodles at each other in Lincoln, you think maybe THIS is what should appear under the definition of absurdity.

And then this whole weird, bizarre event takes a turn that tugs on the heartstrings and makes you feel more serene than a napping Ted Cruz during a Joe Biden speech.

Four-year-old Josh Vinson Jr. — nicknamed “Little Josh” — was declared the winner of the battle of the Joshes. He was given a championship belt and a Burger King crown.

And people also donated food for the Food Bank of Lincoln — nearly a ton of it.

They also raised more than $8,000 for the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Foundation in Omaha.

That’s far from being absurd.

“I am having, like, an out-of-body experience,” THE Josh Swain told the Journal Star. “I’m sitting in my hotel room alone, just trying to act like I wasn’t with 2,000 people just fighting for their name. It’s incredible.”

Can this be the start of a new trend?

I’m not sure how a Battle of the Dales would go. There will be a greatly lower number of potential participants than a Battle of the Joshes.

And how would I fare in a battle of Dale Millers?

I found one who is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. That Battle of the Dales might be ripe pickings for some research on social and group behavior.

Another Dale Miller is the professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at Old Dominion’s college of arts and letters.

I’m thinking that any contest that would likely make the smartest Dale Miller the winner of the name might not be in my best interest.

Another one is a senior instructor in environmental studies at the University of Colorado.

One does stunt work in movies. So physical challenges for the name are probably out, too.

One of the 68 certified Master Chefs in the United States is a Dale Miller, so I know who is in charge of catering for the possible Battle of the Dales.

One of us is a lawyer in Chicago. There’s always got to be a lawyer.

It’s probably best to pass on the idea. There was something organic and magical about what happened with the Battle of the Joshes.

Instead of trying to repeat that, maybe I’ll hunt up my copy of “Cabin Boy” instead.

Dale Miller is a sports writer for the Independent. Once a week he wanders away from the sports department to offer his take on non-sports related topics. Email him at

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