Re: Springs quotation

Erik Pilawskii (
Thu, 12 Jan 1995 16:50:14 -0800 (PST)

> Alright Gentlemen, as for this much quoted few lines:
> "The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
> Can you give me the source?. I have read Grider's diary which Springs
> edited (published as War Birds) but can't find that quotation in his
> introduction, where you would think it would be. Am I blind or did Springs
> write some other books?

Gee, well, I guess its only fitting if I reply.... :^)

As I got it, from Ray Brooks, actually, the passage appeared like this:
An artist\author by the name of Clayton Knight did sort-of an Artsy-
Fartsy book in 1929 called Pilot's Luck. The book featured artwork and
prose by the author, along with anecdotes and passages by several pilots
from WWI, including Springs, Roy Brown, Floyd Gibbons, etc. Ray told me
that he had been so approached, but turned the offer down (he was never much
for words, that man). One of Springs contributions was the phrase in question.
According to legend, Springs was supposed to have sat down at a table
and simply penned those magnificent words-- just like that. Although such
a feat seems beyond my comprehension, I have heard this claim repeated by
so many persons that I usually consider to be reliable that I now am
convinced that it's true. The phrase appeared again, as I understand, in
Spring's only other work "The Clothes Make The Man", which I think is a
series of short stories/anecdotes by himself. Its supposed to be very
well worth reading, but, alas, I haven't been able to find a copy, so far.

"The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
stake was the World. The forfeit was the Player's place at the table; and
the Game had no recess. It was the most dangerous of all sports-- and the
most fascinating. It got in the blood like wine. It aged men 40 years in
40 days; it ruined nervous systems in an hour. It was a fast game-- the
average life of a pilot at the Front was 48 hours. And, to many, it
seemed an Age....
Elliot White Springs, WWI ace
Elliot, rest in Peace....