By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains Staff
Though Brodie Smith isn’t a mainstay of the disc golf world, he’s certainly not a stranger to it, either.
Known heavily for his trick-shot videos, some of which have appeared on ESPN, and his work as a professional Ultimate player, Smith has drawn a large following of people in and out of the disc sports community. He’s personable, engaging and really knows how to capture an audience.
In the world of disc sports, that’s a big thing.
He’s active on social media, too, interacting with fans and others.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I love my fans and I know I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without their support. Also, at the end of the day we are all people and its always nice to get to know new people and make new friends.”
Smith’s fan base is pretty big, too.
Needless to say, he’s out there.
But who is Brodie Smith?
Smith, of Jacksonville, Florida, has been playing disc sports for seven years. Keeping that in mind, it’s pretty impressive that he’s made the impact he has – it would be shocking for somebody who is involved in disc sports to not have heard of Smith.
He started playing Ultimate when he was a freshman at the University of Florida. Two national championships followed and after graduating, he played with the club team Doublewide, out of Austin, Texas.
“Last year, we finally figured it out and won our first club championship,” he said.
For those who don’t know, Ultimate is a team-based disc sport. Basically, points are scored by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone. Players can’t run with the disc and must keep a pivot when holding the disc.
Smith might be best known, however, for his trick shots. His videos have been on the Internet for several years and it’s where many people first get a glimpse of Smith’s talent with a disc.
“It has been a crazy journey, for sure,” Smith said. “I started with basic throwing tutorial videos on YouTube and wanted a way of bringing more people outside the sport to see it. That’s when a couple of my friends came up with the idea of doing a trick-shot video, and the rest is history.”
Still, fans of Smith and his videos realize the dynamic of his trick shots. They aren’t always the same. He’s done some crazy things and always seems to be challenging himself even more.
The ideas for these shots come from all over, he said. Sometimes he’s in bed and will think about something and write it down. Other times, he’ll get ideas from friends and fans. He also uses the area he’s in for inspiration.
Realize, though, Smith isn’t perfect. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts for him to nail a shot.
“It depends on a lot of factors,” he said. “If it’s indoors, it doesn’t take too many (shots). If you go outside in the elements, it can take anywhere from one to 30, depending on the difficulty of the shot.”
His trick shots, too, have been featured on ESPN, including being the top sports play of the day on a shot where he threw a disc from a bridge in Australia and another person caught the disc by diving off a moving boat.
“I remember the first time when I got the e-mail saying I was going to be on ESPN’s show, SportsNation,” he said. “I didn’t own a television, so I ran down to my friend’s and we all watched it together. It was a pretty crazy experience and one I will never forget.”
And yes, Smith also plays disc golf. In fact, disc golfers may know Smith through a trick shot video he did with 2009 PDGA world champion Avery Jenkins.
Since he has experience with both sports, Smith spoke to the similarities between Ultimate and disc golf.
“Both sports require a lot of practice, creativity with your throws, and mental and physical endurance,” Smith said.
There are, obviously, a lot of differences, too.
“The biggest is distance traveled,” said Smith, who offered an example based on his video with Jenkins.
“We were trying to do this field shot and Avery stepped up and knocked one through from 100 yards like it was nothing,” Smith said. “You just can’t do that with an Ultimate disc.”
It was also with one of Jenkins’ Destroyers that Smith threw his farthest shot in any disc sport — one he estimates, with a laugh, to be between 100 yards and a quarter of a mile.
“It was awesome,” Smith said of making that video. “Avery is a good friend of mine and we are currently planning on setting up round two.”
Smith said he plays disc golf during his off-season which is about a two-month span. This past off-season however, he was out of the country for most of it so he didn’t have as much of a chance to hit many courses.
“I played one summer a lot with my friend at Florida and was able to consistently score at about 3-under-par at a local course,” he said. “I’m sure the course was fairly easy compared to what most people play on.”
The disc world is Smith’s life. Whether it’s videos, running clinics, or designing a new t-shirt, it’s all Ultimate for Smith.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “I work anywhere from 10-12 hours a day and I don’t ever really have a day off. But, to me, I don’t see it as work. It’s my passion and what I love to do. I will keep doing it as long as I can.”
As for the future for Smith?
“No clue,” he said. “Just living one day at a time and counting all my blessings.”
Brodie Smith on the Internet:
P.J. Harmer is the founder and executive editor for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.