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Lacrosse evolved from similar games played by early Native Americans. Although some scientists speculate the sport may have been created as early as the 5th century, European settlers began mentioning lacrosse in documents from the 1600s. Native American tribes used lacrosse as a method of settling disputes between different tribes, a training exercise for young men, and to celebrate certain times of the year. The rules would be chosen before the game was started, and the number of participants could vary depending upon the number of healthy men. A lacrosse game could stretch from sunrise to twilight without breaks.The game's popularity peaked in the early 1900s when it became an Olympic sport for the 1904 and 1908 Summer Games, but lacrosse grew less popular as other professional sports like baseball and football emerged. Lacrosse has recently experienced a resurgence in its popularity among high schools and universities.Contemporary Lacrosse
Modern lacrosse games usually follow men's field, women's, box, or intercrosse rules. Each variant has slightly different guidelines for the field structure and time limits, and contact between players may or may not be allowed. Lacrosse has spread to professional leagues, schools, and universities. High school players typically compete within their own state leagues, and university teams generally operate under the National Collegiate Athletic Association commonly known as NCAA Lacrosse.
The Canadian Lacrosse Association is one of the larger organizations for amateur box lacrosse players. Professional players can play on one of the National Lacrosse League's 10 teams in Canada and the United States. Major League Lacrosse is the NLL's primary competitor, but MLL uses field lacrosse rules instead of the box variation rules.
Although lacrosse has not been an Olympic sport since 1908, the European Lacrosse Championships and the World Championships are open to men and women from national teams.