Born in Minneapolis, MN 1972: Smith was born three minutes before his twin sister Becky, officially making him the older brother. Three minutes. It counts.
December 1977: Learns to ice skate at Pearl Park in Minneapolis setting him on a course for a lifetime of humiliation, emotional and physical pain, and dashes of glory.
September 1980: Attends Annunciation Catholic School and is the worst altar boy of all time. He is dismissed from his altar boys services for wearing Converse high tops to Christmas mass.
October 1982: Diagnosed with learning disabilities, he attends The Washburn Child Guidance Center. While he struggles mightily in school, Smith retreats into the right hemisphere of his brain, a creative world of comics, drawing, and storytelling.
August 1988: Attends Holy Angels High School and due to poor test scores and grades is immediately sent to a classroom at the end of the hall. Discovers where the wild things are.
May 1991: Graduates from high school solely because of the loving support of his parents and homework help from his sister Becky.
August 1991: Attends St. Mary’s college to play collegiate soccer. Shoots a frozen turkey out of a dorm window with a catapult.
July 1992: Transfers to the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Loves it. Loves every single minute of it. Studies public speaking because his dad tells him that he is full of blarney and might as well earn a degree in it.
Fall Semester 1996: Takes “Intro to Creative Writing.” Gets destroyed.
December 1996: Graduates from the University of Montana with honors. His parents are both proud and full of disbelief.
August 1996: Applies for the Peace Corps. Gets rejected due to Crohn’s diagnosis. Joins AmeriCorps and works in East Los Angeles and Compton.
October 1997: Moves to NYC and teaches at P.S. 146 in East Harlem, NYC. And survives. He is, in fact, the whitest white person to ever set foot in the school. Like Larry Bird white.
July 1998: Moves back to the Twin Cities. Broke. Hallowed out. Begins a long career as a manual labor while dreaming of some day becoming a writer.
August 2001: Marries his wife Sarah and after so many years out on the road finally feels at home in his own city, in his own skin, and in his own brain.
November 2003: Receives a scathing rejection from The New Yorker. It is a rejection so bad it makes him want to quit writing. But he’s just Irish and German enough to never back down and he digs in.
September 2006: Receives a call from legendary Outside Magazine editor Alex Heard about a story that he submitted. Heard gives Smith encouragement and profound advice that starts him on the path to literary success.
January 2007: Smith plays in the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and suffers the worst loss in tournament history. Following Heard’s advice, Smith writes the story and submits it locally to Twin Cities magazines.
March 2007: Smith’s pond hockey story is published in The Rake Magazine.
February 2008: Sells a story to Esquire Magazine! Effing Esquire! Oh. My. God. Esquire! Endless hours editing and rewriting the piece only to have it never appear in print. Begins to hate being a writer.
August 2009: Smith begins writing for Twin Cities Metro Magazine’s website under the moniker Spazz Dad and is literally paid in bags of rice. No joke. Bags of rice, dude.
September 2009: Smith begins providing content for Wild.com, the official website of the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. His hockey essays become some of the most popular and widely read pieces in the history of Wild.com, earning several thousand online views each.
December 2009: Smith’s first article in print for Metro Magazine appears in the Food Issue. It is about his life with Crohn’s Disease and something he calls “Do-Do Math.”
July 2010: After years of buzz and popular blogs, the first Spazz Dad column appears in print in Metro Magazine. His words are paired with illustrations from internationally renowned illustrator Jacob Thomas.
August 2010: An unprecedented run on the newsstands begins. This is a miracle. Smith doesn’t have a journalism or English degree or an MFA and taught himself how to write with a library card. He continues to work as a manual laborer.
October 2011: Publishes an essay in Mamalode Magazine, a parenting magazine based in Missoula, Montana that brings his writing career arc full circle.
May 2012: Metro Magazine folds. Smith is a puddle.
December 2012: Smith begins writing essays for the vaulted pages of Minnesota Monthly. Appears on the high profile back page for four months in a row.
July 2013: His Minnesota Monthly editor leaves and Smith is once again tossed out.
October 2013: Applies for a full time sports writing job with TouchPoint Media. He is told that he is “over qualified” for the position. Ironically, when he was informed that he had too much experience for the job Smith was at his day job at a landscape company and wearing steel toed boots.
November 2013: Begins providing online content for TouchPoint Media and writes for Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey.
December 2014: Smith begins to turn a Wild.com hockey story into a full length book. His agent lands him a book deal with Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishers in the world.
January 2015: Begins a full year of researching, interviewing, writing, and editing his book Hockey Strong. Suffers multiple panic attacks and a crisis of faith in his abilities. .
September 2016: Hockey Strong: Stories of Sacrifice from inside the NHL is published by Gallery Books.
September 2016: Smith celebrates the publication of his first book by treating himself to some new hockey skates. Naturally.
October 2016: Smith is hard at work on either a sequel to Hockey Strong or another sports book or plowing snow or playing hockey or soccer at the park or taking a swan dive into a pool of gold coins from all of his royalties like Scrooge McDuck.
December 2016: Smith has begun work on his second book, a cultural exploration of how the name Todd is the worst first name in the history of nomenclature.
January 2017: Seriously, though, Smith is working on a second sports book.