There weren’t many empty spaces in the parking lot adjacent to Parker Field, as people gathered Friday afternoon at South Carroll High School for an event they wish didn’t have to take place.
Those closest to Noah Homayouni made plans to be there in memory of their friend, schoolmate and boys lacrosse teammate on the one-year anniversary of his death.
Homayouni was preparing for his senior season with the Cavaliers before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a sports shutdown across the state. Lacrosse soon became secondary after Homayouni, 18, was shot and killed April 2, 2020, outside his house in Mount Airy by a neighbor who shot and killed his estranged wife before he left the scene and later took his own life.
Friday served as a marker on an emotional timeline, and South Carroll’s lacrosse community came out in force to show support and remember one of its own.
“When one kid can impact this many people in this many ways, over his shorter period of time, that’s really what you take away from it,” said Grady Breen, South Carroll’s boys lacrosse coach. “There’s not a coach or teammate that doesn’t think incredibly positively about his time. I’m going to walk away with this great thought of him.”
Some in attendance donned jerseys with Homayouni’s name and No. 10 on them. That same number lit the scoreboard at Parker Field. People sported face coverings and jackets with Homayouni’s name and number.
A table topped with stones sat near the student section on the home side of the stadium. Those who wished could pick a stone and etch a memory on it in honor of Homayouni. The rocks are set to be arranged and placed where spectators can see them upon entering Parker Field.
Nate and Melissa Homayouni, Noah’s parents, stood together at the top of the bleachers around 3 p.m. to use the stadium’s pubic address system. Melissa Homayouni thanked everyone for supporting their family during the past year.
Christian Skinner spoke to the crowd and read a motivational message of Noah Homayouni’s that explained why his best friend loved lacrosse so much, and how much work he put into getting better and understanding the game.
A recorded message from Drew Downing, one of Homayouni’s former SC lacrosse teammates who couldn’t be there in person, was played. A minute of silence took place at 3:27 before others shared stories and memories.
The outpouring has been evident. There’s a foundation in Homayouni’s name designed to introduce lacrosse to young players and help them with some financial aid. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was started last year with a goal of raising $15,000 to help cover funeral costs and other expenses. The amount almost hit $45,000 in a short period of time.
A sign dedicated to Homayouni adorns the facade of the bleachers where South Carroll’s students gather to watch games.
Homyouni had plans to attend Howard Community College and play lacrosse there. Several HCC players came to Winfield for the ceremony. Breen said the team has retired the No. 10 for two seasons in honor of Homayouni.
His Zingos club lacrosse jersey was also on display Friday, along with a poster of childhood photographs.
“I am amazed, and I know Noah would be in awe at how much impact he made on people,” Melissa Homayouni said. “And you know, as a mom, that’s what you want from your kid. So that has been wonderful. [And] this community has been amazing from the very beginning.”
Homayouni said having her son’s teammates take the initiative in putting together a physical memorial at the stadium made it very meaningful.
Breen said he keeps an open communication with his players, both current and past, to talk about how Homayouni has impacted them on and off the field. Being able to honor him in ways other than lacrosse is important, the coach said. And he tells his players whenever he can.
“I look at them and say, ‘No one was a bigger fan of yours than Noah.’ And that’s the thing I hammer home to my guys,” Breen said. “If the best part of you is how you play, you get forgotten pretty quickly.”