my buddy mike and i headed down to the southland chapters this afternoon, largely on the behest of awildermode, to check out the "playing with fire" book signing. i'd told AWM that i'd go for him, but if it was a total gongshow i wasn't gonna stay.... well, we went hella early and were still probably about 50-or-so people back in line, but we settled in with our coffees and new single-serving friends, and had a fairly pleasant afternoon. if we'd shown up at 2pm, when the festivites were scheduled to begin, we would've been at the back of a queue 500-600 people long.
there was an hour-long interview/Q&A conducted by global sportscaster, grant pollock, during which theo regurgitated many of the same anecdotes and answers he'd provided in in previous media events. there were a lot of "y'know"s and "absolutely"s, but for the most part his responses sounded truthful and heartfelt... i kept thinking he has a future in motivational speaking, and by the looks of things, that's the direction he's heading.... not only did he discuss the steps he's taking towards pressing charges against graham james (hiring lawyer hersh wolch), but he noted that he's begun to investigate the creation of a (substance abuse ?) treatment centre in calgary. theo's wife was present and noticeably emotional at parts, and his brother (below right in the black jacket) videoed the entirety...
- pollock pointed out how drugged and boozed fleury was during his playing days, and asked how on earth he managed to have an elite career. theo simply replied, "well, i'm probably gonna donate my body to science."
- regarding reading about the full extent of fleury's substance abuse, pollock announced "....it ticked me off." without missing a beat, theo humourously offered pollock a hand with his anger, "i know a good psychologist." ;)
- i really appreciated that, while theo obviously credits god for looking out for him, he doesn't make it all preachy-like.... at one point he made mention of being under "the care of god, as i understand him." kudos.
- "i know graham james was in my life, but i would've made it without him."
- he talked a bit about the messed up people he's crossed paths with, including the guys around burning barrels in NYC, the crack dealers and the transvestites, and how they've all got a story. pollock says lightheartedly, "you've always been a people person...."
- in the past couple of weeks he's had a chance to watch a lot of highlights from his career and said he was "embarassed" about alot of the things he did on-ice when playing for the rangers, and how "crazy" he was.... i can only presume he was referring to this (0:35).
- re: his attempted comeback this pre-season with the flames, theo said that he needed to prove to himself one last time that he could "shove it up everybody's you-know-what." he also said that, after being cut by the flames, he could've played elsewhere. pollock asked, "AHL or NHL ?" and the look fleury gave him hilariously said "come on... what do YOU think ????" ;)
my favorite thing that theoren fleury said today was the description of walking out of the dressing room and the sound of the fans getting louder as you walk down the tunnel towards the ice.... and that "a fresh sheet of ice is like a blank sheet of paper, where i could tell my story..."
so as #14 signed my book, and one for his biggest fan (whom i've never actually met), i told him that i look forward to his jersey hitting the rafters of the 'dome, and asked him who he thought would win the battle of the blades.... ;) he laughed and said he hadn't had time to watch --who did i think would win ? i looked at him and grinned, "claude lemieux."
"i love that guy," he mumbled with a smile as i shook his hand and walked away....
ps: awildermode ? you owe me huge.