Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don and Scott Robbs feel lucky

Don and Scott Robbs have partnered for University of Hawaii baseball broadcasts in the past, but they'll be a team on a nightly basis now.

They feel fortunate to work together -- and both feel lucky to be alive.

Since August, Don, 77, has dealt with bypass surgery, a stroke, surgery to clear blockage in a carotid artery and hernia surgery. The veteran of 37 years as the voice of UH baseball is close to fully recovered, and ready to resume duty on Friday when the Rainbow Warriors open their season against Oregon at Les Murakami Stadium.

It will help Don that Scott, who has been there with him through his recovery, will also be in the booth.

"When this first happened, he told me 'I think my baseball career is over,' " Scott said. "But that's what helps keep him going."

And today, Scott, 47, publicly reveals his own serious health challenges.

"I went through a physical thing," Don said Sunday. "He went through a mental thing."

Scott Robbs has salvaged his career, marriage and possibly his life in the past four years by taking positive steps to deal with panic disorders, severe depression and alcohol abuse. You might not know it if you didn't see him every day, because Scott was good at putting up a lighthearted front.

"I was good at masking. But I hit my bottom, I couldn't take it anymore. My life was a mess and couldn't handle it anymore," he said. "I knew if I didn't do something about it, I was in real trouble. Had I kept on going the way I was going, I don't think I'd be here. Maybe not alive."

There were work difficulties, too. Scott was the UH volleyball play-by-play broadcaster, but due to agoraphobia (anxiety in open or crowded areas) he feared flying. On one trip, a panic attack kept him in his hotel room in El Paso, Texas, and he had to reschedule his flight home to the next day.

Finally, on a day in Nov. 2010, when he was supposed to get on a plane to broadcast the WAC volleyball tournament, Scott instead checked himself into Castle Medical Center.

"It got to a point where I knew I can't keep doing this, I'm going to die and I didn't want to die. I told (Dori) I was going to Castle. She revealed that if I'd gone on that trip she was going to leave me."

Scott said he knew something was wrong from the time he was 18. But it took the sixth therapist and the third medication for effective treatment. He got both of them on the three-day visit to Castle four years ago.

Don now lives with Scott, Dori, Iliahi and Oliana, and Don credits them with helping him recover well and soon enough to return to his perch above the diamond.

Through it all, they've kept their sense of humor.

"I can hear him snoring, he can hear me snoring," said Scott.

"If you DON'T hear me snoring, come check on me," his father replied.

-- Dave Reardon, Star-Advertiser

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