Captain’s Corner

Life Sports

CAPT Diehl (white circle) and his brother, Bert, competing in a sack race!

Growing up my parents were big on teaching us life sports – sports that we could participate in throughout our lives, not just through high school. My Dad made sure we could swim at a very young age and took the time (and patience) to teach us how to play basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, racquet ball, etc. My Mom oversaw the winter sports of skiing and ice skating. They didn’t care which sport we played, but they did believe playing sports was an important part of our well-being..

After college, Coast Guard duties and raising kids afforded me little time for much more than an occasional swim or run. That changed about five years ago when we dropped our youngest off at Texas A&M to start college. On the ride up he asked me what hobby I was going pick up so that I didn’t drive Mom crazy (no doubt a planted question). I had already started thinking about how to fill my newly found free time, and I responded that I wanted to relearn golf. From hosting the annual Captain’s Cup Golf Tournament, I knew how valuable the game could be for business networking. Plus, everyone assumed that I already knew how to play since I was hosting a tournament!

In the five years since I started playing, I’ve grown to enjoy the sport for several reasons that have me hooked. I love the park like environment. Although the trees and water can sometimes get in the way, I find the fairway relaxing. I’ve learned that the game is way more mental than physical.

From the shot selection to controlling your anxiety on a tough shot, it all takes place in the brain. I also get better acquainted with a person when I golf with them. Not only do we have time to engage in wide-ranging conversations, but I can see how we each approach the game and navigate through the highs and lows of a good round of golf. And, I found it to be a very effective networking environment, all the way through to the 19th hole.

Networking is invaluable to expanding knowledge and accomplishing goals. Great ideas and effective solutions often don’t get implemented unless you have the required relationships to support them. In a port as big and diverse as ours, building more business requires building relationships with a wide range of people, including investors, peers, employees, and, of course, customers. These relationships empower us to learn to work with others, confidently take risks, to continually innovate, and recover from setbacks along the way. The strength of our networks enables us to work together to improve our port infrastructure, bring more commerce to the port, and to identify and address port-wide opportunities for improvement.

One of our goals at the Port Bureau is to provide the maritime industry with plenty of opportunities to develop business relationships. These events include our monthly Commerce Club luncheons, the Annual Maritime Dinner, and yes, golfing at the Captain’s Cup.

While you don’t have to take up golf or attend the Captain’s Cup for the port to run well (although we’d be happy to see you there), getting involved in the community does score dividends to your company. Many big decisions are coming our way, particularly with widening the Houston Ship Channel and how industry’s cost share will be calculated. Having relationships with others in the port to talk things out and clarify how calculations complicate or contribute to your business can be a priceless dividend. Community involvement isn’t a sport, but it can be a game-changer in the life of your company. Working together keeps the port region a winning team for our city, state, and nation!


  • Date October 8, 2019
  • Tags 2019 September