The Washington Times - March 4, 2011, 04:04PM

Three years ago, I carried an old Northwest Airlines ticket everywhere I went. Scrawled on the back was a to-do list of countries conjured up in taxis and empty basketball arenas and on red-eye flights. Finally, I worked up the courage, quit my job covering University of Michigan basketball for The Ann Arbor News and turned the list into reality.

I watched the sun rise from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Dodged whale sharks off Djibouti. Hiked past grumpy Albanian border guards. Got to know the men who sail Dubai’s dhows and a thousand other moments spread over dozens of countries.

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Everywhere I went, I had to write, the same way I needed to breathe or eat. Describing what I saw wasn’t enough. I wanted to take readers somewhere they couldn’t go. I wanted them to feel something. Like a remarkable writer once told me: “A good piece tells us how. A great piece tells us why.”

This blog will do the same. I’ll have comprehensive coverage of Georgetown basketball, along with enterprise and general assignment pieces on a wide array of topics.

In the newspaper, which re-launches the sports section March 21, or on the blog, I endeavor to get beyond the numbers. To explore the human drama of the people playing the games. To not just tell you what happened, but explain why.

This isn’t a one-way conversation. Follow me at Twitter.com/nathanfenno, leave a comment on the blog, “like” Washington Times Sports on Facebook, or drop me an e-mail at nfenno@washingtontimes.com with story ideas.

The fun starts tomorrow with Georgetown’s regular-season finale at Cincinnati. Seeding for next week’s Big East Tournament — currently a jumbled mess — is on the line.

I feel the same I did before tackling that to-do list that led me around the world: I can’t wait.