Gaming Guild Expands into Esports


Gaming Guild members teach young students about esports at the Horry County Schools Tech Fair.

The Gaming Guild has grown a lot over the past few years, becoming a player in the growing area of esports.

It started 8 years ago as Gaming Club with a few people who would gather in Mr. Jeffrey Church’s room to play video games. Today, the club has a dozen regular members, about 20 who show up when they can, and over 70 students that participate in the club’s Discord chat rooms, discussing games and issues such as how to build a PC.

The club meets on Thursdays, when members play games such as Teria, Portal, and Holy Night on any of six different PCs with high-processors. Some members also participate in team games, such as Overwatch or Rocket League, and compete against other schools’ teams in the PlayVS esports (electronic sports) league.

Since South Carolina has not yet made esports an official sport, Socastee competes against teams from up and down the East Coast. 

Sophomore Christian Spencer is the captain of the team that competes in Rocket League, a game by Psyonix that has been described as “soccer with cars”.

“Gaming is a sport,” he said. “It’s more of a mental drive than it is physical. In football, you have people who run forward. With Rocket League, you have people who think about how they can run forward. It’s all about hand-eye coordination with controllers and keyboards.”

Club Co-Sponsors Mr. Jeffery Church and Mr. John Mol, both English teachers, are Super Coaches in the PlayVS league, serving as ambassadors for other South Carolina schools that want to become involved in esports.

“There are no other people in South Carolina doing what we’re doing at the level we’re doing,” Mr. Church said. “We’re really hoping to see it grow and set the stage for future development.”

Members of the Gaming Guild set up a virtual reality exhibit at the 2022 HCS Tech Fair.

A future goal for the club is to help eports grow within Horry County Schools.

 It is starting by doing some activities with Carolina Forest HS, which has a gaming class. Socastee club members also have been piloting participation in esports for the district, and they put on an expo at the Horry County Schools Tech Fair a few months ago.

 “To quote their words, we killed it,” Mr. Church said. “Everyone who came and saw what we were doing was very impressed.”

He said the school and district are investing more in esports because they realize the educational value of gaming.

“You see collaboration. You see teamwork,” he said. “It’s the same kind of stuff we’re trying to teach [in the classroom].”

The club hopes to recruit even more students for Socastee’s club so it can form more esports teams. 

Socastee Gaming Club

“PlayVS has eight games available for competitive play and offer scholarship opportunities,” Mr. Church said. Those games include popular games like Madden and NBA2K.

“At the college level, they’re starting to treat this as a traditional sport,” Mr. Church said. “Some are running it through their athletic department when you get to the college level.”