WHEN I was 11 my dad dragged me to Plainmoor in order to prevent me from becoming another generic fan of a soulless Premiership team.
Back in the mid-nineties top flight football was rife on TV and big money was threatening to ruin the quintessential notion of the 'beautiful game'.
It only took me a handful of games to get addicted to the TUFC drug and 15 years on I am as hooked as ever.
In those 15 years I have experienced the good and the bad, the glorious and the gutting, the respectable and the downright ridiculous, I have always come back for more.
Whether my team is flying high at the top of the table or scrapping for their lives down at the bottom my support is unwavering; the rollercoaster is far too exciting to disembark.
Being a TUFC fan has often been challenging but the rewards continue to make up for the depths of despair.
Nothing comes close to the moments when you lose yourself in a haze of ecstasy when the ball hits the back of the net.
Nothing transcends the pride when Torquay come out on top against our fiercest rivals and nowhere fills me with a happier state of belonging than on the 'Pop Side' at Plainmoor.
Torquay United has consumed my life to the extent where financial, familial and social implications have become irrelevant. Last week I missed my first match for two years and I felt like I was betraying my club. The defeat hit me just as hard 200 miles away though as I ensured I experienced the match vicariously, I kicked every ball (and the sofa).
I hope it is another two years before I miss my next one.
The less glamorous the away trip, the more appealing I find it.
Travelling the best part of all day to see a 90-minute football match might seem like madness, but representing your hometown, miles from home, in victory or defeat defines the very essence of being a lower league football fanatic; creating memories and friendships that will stay with me forever.
I will continue to wear my club's colours with pride, to sing myself hoarse at every match, to bore my mates with my weekend's trials and tribulations. It is all I have ever known and if the next 15 years are as life affirming as the last 15 I will consider myself very lucky indeed.
Being a Torquay fan is my identity, it is in my blood, it is my passion, it is my life.
By BEN CURRIE / @ben_tufc