New Mexico United fan Robert "Stone" Chouinard's passing brought an outpouring of support, including a moment of silence and tribute by the Charleston Battery before Saturday's game against United. | Photo courtesy Josh Lane / New Mexico United
The New Mexico United community suffered a loss on Friday.
Robert “Stone” Chouinard – a devoted member of the club’s supporters since United’s inception – passed away, leaving a club and fellow supporters in mourning.
“Robert was a dear friend to all who were fortunate enough to know him,” tweeted the club. “He was first in line at every jersey launch and was the heart of the supporters section at every match. His infectious smile, incredible passion, and his love of this community are part of this family forever.”
“We’ve lost one of our own today,” added United supporters group The Curse. “You’ve been with us since the beginning, Stone, and that will never change. Our deepest condolences to his family – we’ll post memorial information as it becomes available.”
“Stone always supported us from day one, he was the first one to the AFCON event and many things,” added United’s Black Diamonds supporters’ group. “Always one to try new things. He was very passionate about NM United and being there for his friends. We carry the sadness in our hearts and stand alongside [The Curse].”
On Saturday night, as United visited for what has come to be dubbed the Black and Yellow Derby, the Charleston Battery paid tribute. A moment of silence was held before the opening kickoff in Chouinard’s honor, a move well appreciated by the visiting fans that made the trip to the Low Country and those who called Stone their friend.
I can't find the words to express how meaningful this gesture is to us. Stone exemplified everything we all love about our home and our team. This is one of the classiest moves I've seen from one of our opponents. Thank you so much for this. You've made a new fan here in NM.— KevinMc7 (@Mc7Kevin) May 15, 2022
The games and results come and go in this sport. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but one of the things that always endures is the friends and relationships that we make as part of our journey through our fandoms, whoever our club or clubs might be.
On Saturday night, the Battery and United reminded us that out of tragedy can come beauty, and at the end we’re all in this together no matter what club we support.