Matkot, an Israeli version of paddle ball, is so popular in the country that it is considered an unofficial national sport. A recent episode of the BBC’s Close-Up found host Yolande Knell in Tel Aviv to find out what was so compelling about the Israeli version of the game that appears, more or less, in different variations throughout the world.
Knell aims to differentiate matkot from other forms of paddle ball, saying: “This isn’t your ordinary game of beach bat and ball. It’s much faster, harder hitting, and noisy.”
For some, the devotion to the sport is almost obsessive. Knell interviews two older gentleman who are self-proclaimed fanatics. One of the men even takes her to a museum he has built that is devoted to the game.
But perhaps the secret is the egalitarian ethos of the sport—an ethos that serves the Israeli mentality perfectly. As one beachgoer explains: “You don’t keep score, so you can’t lose—and we don’t like to lose.”
Watch the BBC’s video report below: