We caught up with Ultimate Frisbee pro and trick shot king, Brodie Smith to talk about how he blitzed the online world and what led him to Jesus!
Where does your love for Ultimate Frisbee come from?
I started playing it back in high school, the guys would go out and we’d play like once every month or so and I just really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed throwing the Frisbee, catching it and didn’t really think too much about it, it was just a fun activity. Once I started getting into it, I had a friend who was in a team in Florida and he asked if he should try and get me along to a practice. So I went down there and it was the first time I really opened my eyes to just how intensely and how seriously some people took the game. We were all throwing one way at high school, I didn’t realise that there were different types and all these ways to throw, that’s when I started taking it seriously. I wanted to get good at it. I then spent a lot of time out on the golf course actually throwing Frisbees and that’s where I fell in love with the sport.
For those uneducated in the sport, what position do you play and what’s your role?
Honestly, it has changed over the years but I like to do a bit of everything, to throw and receive. This year I am going to play for the Jacksonville Cannons, I am looking forward to having a fun season.
You are playing at a good level in the Ultimate Disc League, what are your ambitions moving forward? Dying for it to become an Olympic sport?
That would be great, it would be really cool. I’m not sure it will happen in my lifetime but that’s the goal. I think becoming an Olympic sport puts a sport on the map and helps them get more recognition. It would be great to see it more recognised in schools, it’s a great sport for kids to go out and play. Hopefully it gets recognised and more kids start playing it at a younger age because I didn’t start seriously until I was in my freshman year of college.
How did you get into performing trick shots and to such a high standard?
I first started making tutorial videos on YouTube just showing the different throws and techniques of perfecting a Frisbee throw. From there I wanted to broaden and get more people to see the videos, not just ultimate Frisbee players, so I had the idea of making a trick shot video. We went around campus finding areas and cool spots to throw the Frisbee and that sparked that whole trick shot thing. Once that video went up a lot of people seemed to like it and I enjoyed making it, it was a lot of fun. It was kind of a win-win, people wanted to see more of that and I wanted to make more of it.
On the videos, it all looks like perfection, but in reality how long can it take you to nail tough shots?
It is tricky, for me the hardest thing is just the elements, there’s the wind, the rain and these things affect the Frisbee much more than with other sports. For me the hardest thing is when you are battling the elements and what ends up happening, when it’s gusty it takes away the precision that you have. You can throw the perfect throw that is on target but a gust pushes it away and you can’t really plan for it. That’s when the frustration sets in a little bit, when the elements take out the skill and add in a lot of luck.
You have to try and overcome it, you must make a shot, for a commercial or whatever it is, you need to nail it. You can’t dwell on it and get negative. I stay positive as much as I can to accomplish my goal.
Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. pic.twitter.com/AbBnj8HlIg
— Brodie Smith (@Brodiesmith21) February 4, 2017
What’s the pressure like when you are shooting with big audiences?
When I first started it was just me and my buddies, but then we started getting different gigs and some more people got added to the mix. When I first filmed in front of fifteen to twenty people, with executives of the company, that’s when it started to get more pressured. These people have seen your videos so they are expecting you to just come in and bite it up. You want to do a good job and just like with anything, as you do it more you get more comfortable. I am just throwing a Frisbee, which I love, so it’s important not to forget that. I always come back to the fact that I have been blessed with this talent and so I shouldn’t take it for granted.
Could you tell us how you came to know God for yourself?
I was raised Catholic and growing up it was always there, we were a typical family that would go to church on Sundays, I’d pray before my meals, pray before bed. Everyone’s story is different but for me, you can’t just have someone tell you something, there must be a moment in your life where you decide that this is something I believe, something I want to follow.
That was, for me, in college. I was going through some rough stuff and feeling down. There were a couple of guys who I would regularly see around campus, who were very happy people. I wanted to know what was going on, I knew that no one had a perfect life, I figured that they were probably going through the same things that I was in college but, what was their outlook, their secret that was allowing them to be happy?
I reached out to them and got connected to Campus Crusade which is a Christian organisation who bring people to Christ. Talking with them and hearing the word really got me interested and I changed a lot of my life. Most people have that moment when they realise that they have been missing out on Jesus their whole life and then they grasp on and grow their relationship. Whereas for me I had that moment in college, some things happened, I was hanging with the wrong people and was getting further way from Christ without realising it. If you don’t soak yourself into him every day you are slowly going away from him. I’d stopped listening to what he had planned for me and I was going off what I wanted.
The only thing I want in life
Is to be known for loving Christ
And make His name known far and wide
— Brodie Smith (@Brodiesmith21) February 27, 2017
You can spend all the time in the world trying to find that something to fill that void, we all have that emptiness inside of us and you can try to fill it. There are some things that will make us feel like it’s full but it’s a fake out. It comes and goes, until you realise that what you need has been there the whole time.
You’re not going to find anyone that is a better friend than Jesus, it’s so true. He is always there for you no matter what happens and he is the closest person that you will ever have. Why won’t you spend time to get to know him? I feel like today, it is really easy to get lost in all sorts of different things and lose track of what’s important.
For me my story is a little bit different, I came and went, bounced around a little bit and if someone hears this, don’t lose faith, don’t lose hope. It’s never too late and I just pray that if anyone is in that spot, where your life is going away from him, I pray that he brings you back to him. What you are trying to go out and find, there is nothing there for you.
WATCH: Brodie vs Dude Perfect:
How do you use the social platform that God has given you to point people to him?
I think, what has led me to Christ over the years? It wasn’t the guy screaming over the megaphone. Those things never led me to be interested and pick up a bible, the things that did were people that for whatever reason, always looked on the bright side. No matter what happened in their life they saw the things they could take from it as a positive.
Something that I am trying to do is to create content that anyone can watch, it’s good family content for especially the younger generation to be entertained by. Hopefully it also inspires them to go and follow their dreams and passions. When things hit me or are just on my mind, I will post verses. When things stand out and impact me, that’s when I will share those things and have conversations with people as well. I don’t think over doing it is super helpful. I just want to be a good role model and hopefully push them towards Christ, I want to open the door and then let God work because he is the master at it.
How much of your own stuff do you watch?
I don’t really watch too many of my own videos because when they are being edited, I see enough of them. Plus when you post them out on social media you see them over and over again, I think my favourite ones are when I have someone else involved, whether it is my buddies jumping off a zip line or a boat and catching a Frisbee. Just the ones where I am throwing it to someone and they are doing something cool as well, I like to share those with people who have never seen.
WATCH: Brodie vs F2Freestylers:
You’ve teamed up with some great people for your trick shot vids, like Dude Perfect, F2 Freestylers, who have you enjoyed working with the most?
There is no number one favourite person to work with. The Dude Perfect guys are great friends, I go to church with Coby and they have really helped me grow my YouTube channel over the years. They have been not just awesome friends, but awesome to help me out with my business as well. They have had by far the biggest impact on my life and business sense, then obviously Coby being a close friend of mine, it’s always nice to have somebody that you can reach out to and connect with on a spiritual level.
Who is your favourite athlete that you’ve got to meet through doing what you do?
Shawn Johnson, I was messaging her for three years or something, about us doing something together. It is so weird how God works, we ended up doing the same promotion for this movie, the two people out of all these social media influencers. Her and I were selected and so we were finally able to meet, as well as her husband who is an awesome guy. They are just two awesome people who are now in my life, it’s a crazy world and it’s been a blessing.