Some rules are meant to be broken
by Matthew Spieler
Rules are put in place for a reason but, there are times when they need to be broken due to exceptional circumstances. For instance, a professional athlete must meet a set of criteria to be eligible for a particular sports hall of fame, such as being in the profession for a certain minimum amount of time.
But, there have been cases in which a person’s career was cut short due to injury or death and was still voted into his profession’s hall of fame. The thinking was the player was so dominant, so far and above everyone else during his shortened career, he would have easily been voted in if he was able to play out his career. The best-known examples of this are in baseball with Sandy Koufax and Ralph Kiner, two players who would have rewritten the record books if their bodies didn’t give out before their prime.
Which brings us to the passing of Chris Davis. Though he didn’t join the world of flooring until his mid 40s, having already forged a successful career for himself, Davis took to the industry like a fish to water. He was a natural fit to head the newly formed World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and manage Surfaces, which was just starting to take off to levels never before seen by a flooring trade show. But he did much more than that. He put forth programs that had only one agenda: Make the industry more professional.
All told, Davis spent less than 18 years in the industry, but the mark he leaves will last far longer. Under the rules of the Industry Hall of Fame, which is administered by the WFCA, a person needs to spend at least 25 years in the industry before being eligible for nomination.
Davis’ deeds and accomplishments say he certainly deserves the honor and no doubt would have been enshrined down the road. The question is: Will the association bend the rules so Davis can be inducted?
The only real question should be: When will he be inducted? This answer is not as easy as it sounds.
On May 3, at WFCA’s annual meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., the late Sonna Calandrino, along with Sandy Mishkin and Paul Pumphrey, will be formally inducted. While we feel Davis should be given a plaque with no questions asked, it wouldn’t be right to do it at the same time these three deserving individuals are enshrined. The emotions carried by the industry, especially of WFCA’s board, from Davis’ passing would inadvertently overshadow the others and that is something Davis himself would never want. And, for the same reason it shouldn’t be done at next year’s induction ceremony.
Instead, we feel WFCA should set aside a date later this year to recognize Davis. This would allow the Hall of Fame class of this and future years to receive their just honors. And Davis to receive his.
Sometimes in order to do the right thing, the rules need to be broken.