‘Your whole life…changes in a second’, Longtime Hawai’i sportscaster Scott Robbs among the many affected by coronavirus cancellations


Scott Robbs // Spectrum Sports Hawai’i

As most of the sporting world remains sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams and athletes from around the state are left dreaming of a return to normalcy.

On Saturday, the Hawaii High School Athletics schedule played their final games ahead of an indefinite suspension, just days after the University of Hawaii made the official announcement that the winter and spring sports schedule was canceled.

Although the visible focus goes straight to the field of play, it’s not just those between the lines that are being affected by the unprecedented health strategy, especially when it comes to the big business of collegiate athletics.

Vendors, officials, security, among others have lost out on countless work opportunities for the spring months, including longtime broadcaster Scott Robbs.

“So many emotions. I mean it’s so surreal it doesn’t feel like it’s reality, like maybe we’re still dreaming or having a nightmare and eventually we’ll wake up,” Robbs told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello on Sunday. “I mean, on Wednesday, I was calling a softball doubleheader for the Wahine and then as I was calling that game, periodically I would be looking at my phone and seeing things that are happening in real time. It was so fluid and when everything was pau, I was thinking to myself that maybe tomorrow it’s going to be even worse.”

An independent contractor for both Spectrum Sports and ESPN Honolulu, Robbs estimates that more than a third of his yearly income would have been made over the next three months. With the cancellations of more than 40 events that he would have made a paycheck for, he’s now left scrambling to fill the void.

“I got woken up by my daughter at like eight in the morning saying that UH sports is pau, they’re done, and your whole life just absolutely changes in a second.”

“As soon as it happened, I sat there, I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I said, I got to get together a plan. I can’t wait around. I can’t wait. This is happening and I got to do something, so I immediately started looking for jobs online. I called a family meeting that night. I had my kids and my wife and we all met together and kind of laid out everything. The realities of what’s going on so that they understand.”

Since the announcement that the remainder of the UH sports season was canceled, Robbs says he has applied for countless jobs in many different fields, including retail.

“You see it, you read about it, you hear about it, but until it affects you personally it’s still not quite real. But, when that happened on Thursday, it became absolutely 100-percent real to me and my family. There’s no playbook. We’ve never gone through anything like this, so I’m not still not sure what to do, I’m just trying to do what comes to me.”

Robbs, says he is confident that not only he and his family, but the many others affected will be able to find a way to make it work, with help from each other.

“It’s Hawaii. I’ve already had so many people reach out. That’s aloha. That’s why we’ll make it.”

Robbs, is eager to return doing what he loves, and knows that a return to the booth will be special, whenever that day comes. As it stands, at the very earliest you’ll see a Rainbow in a team game with Robbs on the call, will be women’s soccer in August.

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