From burgers to bad singing, a day at my second home
'WELL, was it worth it?' Mum asked knowingly. My well rehearsed grunt and silence offered an appropriate response.
This dinner table exchange has become alarmingly too common this season after a string of fruitless performances (but the correct answer was still yes).
Mum is a long-suffering passive Torquay fan, she knows so much about the club despite never having been to a match simply due to the weight of conversation between Dad and myself.
Secretly she wants Torquay to do well if only so me and dad are happy around the house, instead of constantly moaning.
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Wednesday's dinner time conversation is centred around my minute by minute analysis of the previous night's defeat, but by Thursday and Friday our focus switches to Alan Knill's appointment and what Saturday might bring. We remember to ask Mum how her day was too.
Home matches allow me several luxuries. I can go out on the Friday night without having to worry about sleep, travelling the length of the county with a hangover, or burning an even bigger hole in my wallet.
I can enjoy a lie in too, always welcome after a week's worth of cold winter mornings landscape gardening. My breakfast is cooked properly and doesn't costing an absolute fortune at an extortionate service station. With as much TUFC merchandise on as possible, and remembering to take our season tickets, Dad and I set off at 1.45pm.
The journey only takes about 25 minutes and is filled with loud (and bad) singing to Coldplay, and a bit of TUFC chat too, just for good measure.
The walk up to the ground always fills me with pride, especially with Bristow's Bench now completed, looming imperiously over its surroundings.
Plainmoor has seen a lot of development in recent times, paid completely within the club's own means, as the only completed stadium in Devon it deserves plenty of accolades.
Walking past familiar faces, a knowing smile or pretend frown is sometimes all that is needed to gauge the atmosphere from the loyal two thousand in regards to how we expect the game to go.
I resist the urge to spend more money in the club shop, for once.
As we turn into Marnham Road I always remember walking the same footsteps that I did 15 years ago on my first visit, nothing has changed; I still get so excited to see my team play.
The mechanical clanking of the archaic turnstiles welcome me into my second home as the smell of burgers and chips from the food kiosk fills the concourse.
I always race up the steps to the terracing, keen to see the ground in all its glory. I enjoy the build up to kick off, seeing the team warm up, the stadium fill up, shaking hands and catching up with the people I have been standing next to for so long now, it is all part of a match day Saturday.
We know little about each other, only what we discuss on Saturday afternoons, but the people I stand next to are my friends, we are bound together by the yellow and blue blood coursing through our veins. We share the same joys, the same pains.
Then at 2.55pm the teams enter the arena and the next 120 minutes will determine whether Mum has two happy men to feed and listen to when we get home, or two dejected fans to fix.
I have witnessed so many amazing moments from my spot on the terrace, every match I am unwavering in my belief that today I might gain another memory to add to my collection.
Today we play well but lose 1-0 as our situation in the bottom half of the table worsens.
Our feet have just about unfrozen by the time we step in through the front door, mum sees our glum faces and asks the immortal question: 'Well, was it worth it?'
BEN CURRIE @ben_tufc
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