Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Review of Theoren Fleury's Playing With Fire By William Camber

Theo Fleury - Playing With Fire
Photo © HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Professional lives are demanding in every aspect. One must be physically and mentally fit so that they can perform for their team. Many individuals do not acknowledge the psychological dilemmas experienced by these professionals. It may seem like they are living great lives, and they probably are in one sense, when actually they have lived and are living with psychological discomfort. After reading Playing With Fire, co-written by Theo Fleury, one can identify the psychological discomfort and the probable life path chosen. Fleury experienced a life of hardship and sorrow starting from a young age, which is where most psychological problems start. Being a victim can arise anywhere in life and can remain consistent throughout life depending on certain choices. There are clear examples of victimization in this book that can educate society on how to appropriately respond to victimization (molestation/pedophilia), the problems which arise if not identified earlier, and how this can be applied to our own lives. Becoming educated, in terms of victimization, is essential when victimized. Nobody should carry the burden of sexual violation or pedophilia alone.

Graham James - Convicted Pedophile
Photo © huffingtonpost.ca
Fleury had a difficult childhood due to the fact that he had parents who were not supportive and who had little money to provide for him. They did not show any support in terms of encouragement to train, practice hard, his successes, and general support such as rides to games or practices. Fleury achieved greatness from hard work and dedication, on his part, along with other people who recognized his talents. They provided opportunities to succeed and become a professional player, but there was a disadvantage attached to this. One coach/ friend took advantage of Fleury’s vulnerability. James Graham was a pedophile who sexually violated Theo at a young age and blackmailed Theo into thinking that if he told anybody he would not get into the National Hockey League (NHL). James was Theo’s coach for the Winnipeg Warriors which is a team just below the professional level where individuals get recruited.

Theo Fleury's Victor Walk 
Fleury was vulnerable due to the fact that he was young, his parents were not around for support, and that he thought Graham James was his opportunity to play in the NHL. He never told anybody because he did not want to draw attention to himself and that he would be mocked by everybody, especially the press. One player, and friend, came forward, when he was older, indicating that he was sexually abused by Graham James. This started continuous investigations and trials. Graham James was finally caught for his actions as he was molesting other young hockey players as well. After experiencing a revolutionary event Fleury changed his life and continued by passing along these messages. If you become a victim you should seek help immediately. Do not carry the burden or the illegal actions, in this case pedophilia, alone. Tell someone close to you such as your parents. Do not be afraid of these people because you may not be the only victim that was or could have been victimized if nothing is said. Finally, try to embrace the problem and seek help to relieve the psychological tension.

Photo © thehockeywriters.com
Keeping everything inside caused Fleury to lose many girlfriends because he cheated on them, he was a drunk/drug user person like his father, and lacked commitment. He continuously drank and took drugs to forget while spending many nights with little sleep. He would show up to practice with hangovers and occasionally drunk while miraculously playing well until he started getting older. He practically needed alcohol and drugs to function and forget what he was living with. Fleury spent loads of money and did not think to save up for retirement stating that he made this book because he did not have a lot of money. When he had to stop his ways due to trouble with the NHL commission, he resorted to gambling. This lasted for a while until he started secretly taking drugs which broke his contract with the league and the doctors. The contract consisted of months of rehab. When Theo broke this contract his rehab would extend until he finally quit the NHL. Fleury was doing nothing and saw how bad his life was at that very moment. He was about to kill himself with a gun.

Photo © Grantland.com
Secondly, Fleury was about to lose the girl of his dreams, from fighting until he had a revelation. Finally it hit him. He needed to change his ways if he wanted to stay with this dream girl, change his life, and play in the NHL. He also realized that he was becoming exactly like his father, especially since he was not spending time, or caring for, his children, from divorced wives, and all his girlfriends. He finally confronted his parents and told them why he was so unhappy with them indicating that they never provided for him before he made it into the NHL. Answers were given, Fleury was able to understand himself and the relationship was strengthened. He never consumed alcohol or drugs again and also made it back into the NHL when he was in his 40’s. He expressed himself publically about Graham James and started giving seminars about being a victim. Even he identified that the possibility of death was prevalent and that he was surprised how he went from one extreme to another. Becoming educated with books like these can give confidence to others so they can change their ways earlier, and less traumatic, than Fleury.

Photo © GlobalNews.ca
Everybody can learn from this book. Being a victim and knowing how to deal with it is beneficial, but knowing certain signs, being able to help others, and knowing how to help others in these situations can aid victims who are reluctant to seek help. If someone is consistently involved in deviant acts or bad coping methods these are signs that something is wrong and initiative needs to be taken to understand what it is. Getting the victim to talk or indicating that it is ok to talk about what is wrong is the most important part of rehabilitation. Knowing that someone cares and that there is always someone to turn to is very reassuring. Being able to clear the mind is the best gift in terms of revelations.

Photo © NationalPost.com
Finally, spreading the word is essential to helping others. If they are unsure or scared to come forward then the best thing to do is give them reassurance. Applying knowledge on sexual victimization/pedophilia in a policing career is important due to the fact that one may encounter certain situations such as these, and knowing how to deal with such victims is important. An officer showing sympathy and acknowledging the need for assistance is important. Not only will the possibility of rehabilitation exist victims will be able to live their lives without doing what Fleury did and, more importantly, without possible deviant/criminal acts representing coping methods. Theo Fleury has provided me with a clear view of molestation and what encompasses it.

Available via Amazon 
Being victimized is very uncomfortable as it impacts the way individuals live their lives. Many victims in the past have held in their emotions and dealt with their problems alone. Theo Fleury was one individual who experienced a life of hardship psychologically and physically. Luckily his revelation changed his mindset from death to living a stable life while helping others spread the word and acquire knowledge. Today there are many services and support groups which are available for victims such as Theo. On the other hand there are many individuals who do not seek help and who eventually resort to depression, aggressiveness, or death. The best weapon one has is education and awareness. After reading this book individuals can be educated on how to appropriately respond to victimization (molestation/pedophilia), the problems which arise if not identified earlier, and how this can be applied to our own lives. Knowing these qualities is essential, especially in a policing career, to intervene when in the presence of victims, or more accurately, if one has been victimized personally.


Fleury, T., & Day, K.M. (2010). Playing with fire. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd: ON

About The Author

William Camber is presently studying at Algonquin College located in Ontario, Canada. A Review of Theo Fleury's Playing With Fire was written as part of an assignment for In Preparation for Victimology for the Police Foundations Program.

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