High School sports is all about memories.

And memories need to be nourished or else they fade away. That's what hall of fames are for.

There's a hall of fame for New Jersey high school athletes, and there are South Jersey hall of fames for various high school sports.

But we need a hall of fame for Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland county high school sports.

Yes, we are part of New Jersey. And yes, we are a part of South Jersey.

Yet, be it the salty sea air or the natural borders provided by the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware Bay and the Pine Barrens, the schools of Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties exist in their own world.

Because of that, this region's greatest athletes sometimes get overlooked.

A Cape-Atlantic-Cumberland High School Sports Hall of Fame would correct that.

How would it work?

Each year, each school would nominate three athletes who graduated after 1970, three athletes who graduated before 1970, one coach and one contributor.

Schools that are no longer in existence, such as Sacred Heart in Vineland, could also contribute.

Each a year, a committee would elect 10 athletes who graduated after 1970, three who graduated before 1970, two coaches and one contributor.

An induction banquet could be held in the fall or spring (a Saturday night in November or April is probably the best).

The Cape-Atlantic-Cumberland High School Sports Hall of Fame needs a home, so how about Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City?

One of the great things about attending a game at the Palestra in Philadelphia is walking around the concourse and seeing the displays dedicated to the history of each of the Big Five schools.

Boardwalk Hall could do the same thing. A plaque with that year's inductees could be hung on a concourse wall along with some photos of the hall's most notable members.

What would the first class look like? How about these names:

Other potential names include: Royce Reed, Bridgeton track and field; Stephanie DeFeo, Egg Harbor Township softball; Joanna Coe, Oakcrest golf and soccer; and Joanna Thomas, Mainland Regional swimming.

I know what you're saying. You forgot about this swimmer, this basketball player or this coach. There are countless coaches and athletes to honor.

So, let's get together, stay up late, laugh and cry and remember Wildwood basketball star Monica Johnson's 3,173 career points, or the time Bridgeton's Royce Reed won four track and field state titles in one day, or how Holy Spirit grad Chris Ford sank the first 3-pointer in NBA history.

Let's argue about whether Kevin Sinclair and his 1996 Ocean City teammates are the greatest football team in Cape-Atlantic League history. Let's relive the roar of the crowd after one of Atlantic City's Lou Roe's high-flying dunks.

How much fun would that be?

That night with its chance to renew old friendships and rivalries is why more than anything this region needs the Cape-Atlantic-Cumberland High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Michael McGarry’s Must Win column appears Fridays in The Press.

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Contact: 609-272-7209 MMcGarry@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

Staff Writer

I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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