Allow your son to take a beach ball to an away game and watch him rob your team of any chance to win the English Premier League title.
That’s what happened on Saturday when Liverpool was playing Sunderland on the road at the Stadium of Light.
The 18-time English champions were already hurting because of the absence of the injured Gerrard and Fernando Torres, but what happened next was unforeseen and unforgivable.
Five minutes into the game, a child threw a large red Liverpool beach ball onto the field of play. No one did anything about it. Sunderland’s Darren Bent fired a shot that struck the beach ball and was deflected wide of Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The goal, coming in the fifth minute, stood. No referee — or lifeguard — waved it off.
“The beach ball was sitting there in their six-yard box,” Bent said, “so if they leave it there, they pay the penalty.”
The goal was allowed, despite valid Liverpool protests that the referee should have stopped play, and Sunderland went on to win, 1-0.